I’m sure many people out there are in the same situation as I am. You are always looking to save some money. One of the ways I do this is by checking the local grocery store inserts in the local newspaper each week and plan on where I will do my shopping. Due to the fact that there are four grocery stores without a 10 mile drive in my area I can do price comparison and plan my trip to take advantage of the cheapest prices for the items I want. I have learned over the years though that a deal in the grocery store insert is not always the deal they claim it is.
Have you ever noticed the “buy one, get one free” offers in these inserts? Well, you should have a general idea of what that grocery store normally charges for this item. I have discovered many times that I will arrive to get one of the buy one get one free items and the price for the first item is about 50% higher than what it usually is at that grocery store. Let’s take a pound of ground beef for instance. Let’s say the average price is $2.20 per pound of ground beef for this store when no sale i going on. Let’s say you arrive at the store for the buy one get one free deal and see the price is $3.30 per pound. This means you are paying $3.30 for 2 pounds when normally you would have paid $4.40, this means you are only saving 25% instead of the anticipated 50% savings with the buy one, get one free offer.
Another thing to keep in mind is that quite often the stores in the area will have different types of sodas for sale. Check all the inserts and you almost always guarenteed to find a 2-liter bottle for $1 or less of a type of soda you are willing to drink. As long as you are not steadfast in your preference for Coke or Pepsi you should have no problems getting your 2-liter bottles at less than $1 each every week.
For produce be careful about what you buy on sale. Quite often a grocery store will have fruit that they have a surplus supply of at a great bargain price. Beware, this fruit will probably have a very short shelf life once you get it home and may not even last the entire week. Also quite often this will be the produce that has been picked over the past couple weeks and rejected due to bruises, scratches, cuts, etc. In reality there is probably nothing wrong with that produce, as long as the cosmetic damages are minor.
The key though overall is to look at all the inserts, and I would suggest keeping a little spreadsheet of which store has the best sale on beef, chicken, fish, produce, and frozen items each week. These will typically cycle on a 4 to 6 week schedule. So if you know who is having the best sales, you can plan ahead of time. Also I know some grocery stores in my area will have a special over like 6-8 weeks that depending on how much you spend total you will get a coupon for a % off a future trip. Some of these coupons can be worth as much as 20%. This would be a good time to know when the items you want most are on sale and wait and stock up that week to take advantage of the sale and the % savings coupon you have. If you have the room in your cabinets or freezer stockpiling on items when you can get them at a big discount is always a good idea.
One final piece of advice. You probably realize almost everyone does their grocery shopping over the weekend. Well grocery stores know this as well. They will stock up especially on meat and poultry. Sometimes they will overstock certain cuts of these items. Meat and poultry will not last as long as other items, so they will need to sell them quickly. This means they are usually willing to cut prices more significantly at the beginning of the week. These will not be advertised sales and won’t be on every package of a certain type of meat. I would suggest browing the meat and poultry sections of your local grocery stores on Monday and Tuesday nights, you will quite often see coupons for instant saving of $2, sometimes resulting in a reduction in price of $1.50-$2.00 per pound of meat and quite often it is on meat that is already on sale so you can get great bargains this way.
As long as you are methodical in your tracking, you can reduce your grocery bill by 20-30% on average monthly by following these tips. If you add in coupon collecting and stockpiling strategies those savings could approach 50% each month!