How to Save Money on Groceries – Tips to Save Dollars, it Just Makes Cents

It’s easy enough for financial consultants to tell all of us that we aren’t saving enough money. Yes, we should have three to six months worth of money stashed away in case we lose our jobs or are laid up with illness or injury, but for a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck how can you possibly save that much money, or any money for that matter?

First, let’s examine what saving money really means. If you look in any newspaper or circular you are going to see claims of how you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars buying product X. The truth of the matter is the price of that product may be less than what you might find it for elsewhere, but if you don’t put the difference into your savings account, you aren’t saving anything. It’s very important to really get the meaning of that last sentence. Savings doesn’t mean buying something for less; it really means to save that money. Ben Franklin said a penny saved is a penny earned, and that meant saved, not made available for near future spending on something else.

So here’s the “tricky” part. Figure out what you spend at the grocery store. An exact amount, I’m talking about here, and then when you go to the store and spend less – take the difference and deposit it where you won’t get at it. At the bottom of your tape is also a place where the ‘buy one get one free’ type “savings” are listed. You saved $23.42 by using our valued customer card. OK, now deposit $23.42 into your savings. Now you are really saving.

So how can you cut your bill? First, shop with a list and don’t deviate from that list. Don’t let the smells or the displays persuade you to buy extra items. They are trying to get you to spend, that’s how they make money. The Borg, from Star Trek would say resistance is futile, No, it’s not. Stick to your list and don’t go to the store hungry.

Check the local ads in your Sunday paper. The Sunday paper is the best bargain around. The coupons alone are worth the price of the paper, but if you can compare two or three stores, you can potentially save a bundle on items you need. But a word on coupons; if you “save” a dollar on a nationally known name brand, and another brand is already two dollars cheaper skip the coupon and buy the cheaper item. Some cheaper items and generic products are just as good. Believe me I know some are not, so if the name brand really is better, go ahead and get it. You deserve it, but give the off brands a chance. Many times they are just as good.

Last tip for today; stock up and save. If non-perishable goods (sometimes known as pantry items) are on sale, and you use them regularly, buy a few extra. If that favorite cereal is on sale, buy a couple boxes. This will cut later grocery spending. Stores regularly rotate things that are on sale, notice the pattern and take advantage of it. Some stores specialize in this sort of thing. In my area there is Aldi and Amelia’s. They both buy discontinued items in bulk and sell them super cheap. If you have one of these type pantry stores shop there once a month and pick up all those packaged goods for pennies on the dollar.

The bottom line is bank your savings. Make them true savings and keep your fingers off that money. You need to have a rainy day fund and eventually a true emergency fund. The worst that can happen is you won’t need it and that will make your kids college expenses or your retirement that much easier.

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