grocery shopping

VIDEO: How to Save Money Grocery Shopping

by Samantha on July 27, 2015

Here are 10 tips that will help you save money at the supermarket

vintage grocery

We all know that raising a family on a budget is a challenge, to say the least! With the price of food skyrocketing daily, it’s more important than ever to find ways to stretch our family dollar as much as possible.

While the prospect of going to the supermarket and stocking up every week is daunting for most of us, there are some simple tips that parents can follow to decrease the amount of money spent on groceries.

Whether you’re dealing with spending too much money at the grocery store, or managing a meltdown in the cereal aisle, there are options that can make parents breathe easier while at the supermarket, with or without the kids. And speaking of kids, this is what I deal with when shopping with the children. Fun? You betcha! 😉

kids in cart

As a follow up to this post - How to Save Money on Your Grocery Bill - Top 10 Tips For Parents - I’ve provided tips via YouTube video as well, for those of you who may not have the time to read the full post.

Check it out the video below and let me know what you think about the tips (either in the comments section below or via YouTube comments). Feel free to add some additional tips as well! If there are enough, I’ll include them in an updated follow-up post. And while you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to make sure that you receive the most recent video tips and advice!
VIDEO: How to Save Money Grocery Shopping - Top 10 Tips For Parents

 

Image courtesy of www.zazzle.com

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Simple money-saving strategies for families

Groceries

That will be $257.43, please.

Ouch! That hurt!

Grocery shopping for a family of growing kids can be ridiculously expensive, as I’ve painfully found out. With a weekly shop a necessary requirement, a visit to the supermarket can bring on feelings of not only anxiety but downright fear as well. Pockets and wallets are only so deep and the thought of cleaning out the financial reserves in order to put food on the table can make any parent break out into a cold sweat.

With three growing kids and two adults, my grocery bill can be pretty hair-raising at times. Despite my best efforts, it’s definitely a challenge staying within a budget and making sure that my family dollars are stretched as much as possible.

That being said, there are some tricks that I’ve figured out that allow for greater savings and less money being handed over at the checkout. For anyone who’s been challenged to shop on a budget, these simple tips can really make a difference.

Here are my Top 10 Tips For Saving Money on Your Grocery Bill

1) Keep Up With Store Sales  - Get ahead of the game by knowing what the best deals are in your local area. Check all of the store flyers regularly (both print and online) and scour them for deals. Sign up for email newsletters and store memberships (where applicable) and watch your savings grow.

2) Be Fickle! - Don’t commit to just one grocery store. In keeping with Tip #1, know what’s on sale and also where it’s on sale. If the product or food item that you need is cheaper at a location other than your regular grocery store or supermarket, make the trip to that location and make it worth your while, financially. Map out a course of action and pick up your needed food items wherever they’re most economically priced for maximum savings.

3) Use Coupons - Whether it’s a manufacturer’s coupon or a store coupon, take any opportunity you have to save using these items. Look at coupons as free money: you have the option of saving, so why not? To not use coupons on your frequently-purchased items is almost the same as throwing money away. With online options and digital downloads available for most coupons, they are easily scanned from your smartph0ne or mobile device - no clipping required. There are also a number of coupon apps that take the guesswork and tedium of coupon clipping non-existent. **Scroll down to the end of the post for the top 10 coupon apps for both Android and iOS**

4) Shop in Season - Quite simply, fruits and vegetables that are seasonal are less expensive than those that are not. Think of it: a mango in a New York winter or a pumpkin in the dog days of summer means that both items have been transported from far-reaching locales. In addition to the obvious carbon footprint that the item will have, you’ll also have to contend with the high price required to transport the item from distant locals to your local supermarket. Shop for fruits and vegetables that are in season and help both your bank account and the environment.

5) Buy Store Brands - A little-known secret of supermarkets as well as many consumer goods stores is that they often sell name-brand products under a “white label” banner. In other words, those store-brand potato chips or acetaminophen could very well be the more expensive name brand items (e.g. Lays Potato Chips or Tylenol) in disguise. It is a very well-known and common practice for the makers of many name-brand products to offer the exact same items to consumers under the particular store brand where they are sold. In other words, these items are just as good as name brands and, even better,  you can often save up to a third or more off the name brand price. When it comes to groceries, consider buying store brand items for extra savings.

6) Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry - Perusing the aisles of your favourite grocery store on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster (pun intended). Before you head into the cereal aisle, make sure you’ve eaten enough that you’r full and not easily tempted by those unplanned snacks that beckon as you try to stick to your list. By eating before grocery shopping, there will be less likelihood that you will give in to a craving for the unplanned (and often expensive and unhealthy) food item in front of you.

7) Know Your Prices - To maximize the amount of money that you can save, make sure you go into the supermarket with a good idea of what things should cost and what your budget is for that particular day. As with any expedition, research and knowledge will help you achieve your goal - in this instance, saving money - and will arm you with the confidence to make the right food choices at the grocery store. Having a general idea about how much particular items cost will allow you to stay within your planned budgetary range and will lower your chance of overspending.

8) Buy Frozen or Canned Foods - Many foods that are frozen and canned are just as good for use in family recipes as fresh items, which are more expensive. If you’re down to the wire financially but are still on the hook to make a reasonably-balanced and healthy meal for the family, look no further than the frozen aisle of the grocery store and start saving. Examples of fresh food items that can be substituted for frozen in various recipes include frozen spinach in vegetarian lasagna, frozen peas for tuna casserole and canned tomatoes for homemade pasta sauce. (On a related note, always have some canned goods and non-perishable staples on hand so that you can rustle up a meal when you’re down to the wire and have to go grocery shopping. These included tomato paste, canned tomatoes, pasta, flour, sugar butter, etc.)

9) Make A Meal With What You’ve Got - Once a week, go through your cupboards, pantry, fridge and freezer and get creative! Make a meal out of your existing food items to make sure that nothing is going to waste. Doing so will not only save you money but will give you a better perspective on what foods are being eaten - or not.

10) Buy in Bulk - For certain items, buying in bulk can make a considerable difference in your total weekly food bill. Whether it’s stocking up on staples such as flour or rice, or purchasing “bulk size” items such as toilet paper or diapers, check your prices, particularly the unit price and start saving.

So as you can see, following a few simple strategies while grocery shopping can result in considerable savings for a family on a budget. All it takes is a little bit of planning in order to get the most “bang for your buck.”

Remember, before you go to the supermarket:
  • Plan ahead
  • Have your coupons ready
  • Eat! Don’t shop while hungry
  • Frozen and canned goods can make cost-effective substitutes
  • Buy in season
  • Choose store brands wherever possible

RESOURCES

The Top 10 Coupon Apps for Android

The Top 10 Coupon Apps for iOS

VIDEO: How to Save Money Grocery Shopping

What are some of your tips and tricks for saving money at the grocery store? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

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Image courtesy of www.sheknows.com

 

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Multiple Mayhem Mamma on Lifehacker

by Samantha on April 26, 2013

Being a huge fan of Lifehacker, I was thrilled to have one of my more popular posts featured on the site. Meltdown in Aisle Five - Top 6 Tips For Keeping Your Kids Calm at the Supermarket - ran on Lifehacker recently under the site’s Parenting section. Here’s the link:

How to Get Your Kids Through the Grocery Store, Meltdown Free

grocery shopping with kids Image courtesy of www.sheknows.com

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How to Save Money - Top 10 Tips For Parents

by Samantha on February 25, 2012

Simple financial strategies for families on a budget





How to Save Money - Top 10 Tips For Parents

Money’s tight for everyone these days, but this is particularly the case if you’re a parent. The question of not only how to make money but how to save money as well is one that is always on the minds of budget-conscious moms and dads. Not only do you have to take care of your own expenses, but you have additional responsibilities that extend beyond the basics such as food, clothing and shelter. Yes, parents have to also add extra-curricular lessons such as soccer or dance practice, school trips, family savings and more to the list of monthly household expenditures. Multiply this by one, two, three children or more, and there’s no question as to why parents are feeling stressed. The costs related to raising children are high, there’s no doubt about it.
For this reason, it’s prudent for parents to look for ways to stretch their hard-earned dollars as much as they can. While it may seem difficult, there are some simple things that can be done to make that hard-earned dollar last twice as long.

how to save money
Image courtesy of http://screamable.com

How To Save Money - Tips For Parents

1) Clip & Save - Coupons are the way to go. They’re everywhere - from the newspaper to online to the supermarket where you shop. When you think about it, it doesn’t make sense not to use them for items you would already be buying - or ones that you’ve been thinking of buying that are close enough to your regular brand. Get the scissors out and start clipping and watch your savings increase.

2) Turn Off and Tune Out - Your parents were right. Turn off lights and don’t let the taps run when you’re not using the water. There’s a cost to everything - electricity and water are no different. Teach your children to also follow the family rule to turn off lights and tighten taps as well. Make a concerted family effort to cut back on this type of wasted energy and watch your wallet grow.

3) Water It! - A little-known fact is that concentrations of many regular household items, such as shampoo, dishwashing detergent, body wash and baby wash are much more than are required to get the job done. Dilute any of these items by even a quarter and you can stretch out usage for much longer.

4) Appetizer, Entree, Dessert - Make a commitment to plan your family’s weekly menu. You’ll waste less food and tend to shop more efficiently. Don’t forget to include leftovers in your plan to make your groceries last even longer. As well, consider making a larger amount of a particular meal and freezing it for later consumption. Items such as pancakes, stews and homemade burgers freeze particularly well.

5) Late-Night Laundry - Off peak hours are the best times to wash your family’s clothes and run the dishwasher. You can realize savings of up to a third by waiting to do a load later on in the evening or in the early morning. Load up the washing machine and dishwasher in the day, but don’t turn on the “on” switch until after hours.

6) Clothing Co-op - Share and circulate gently used kids clothes with your circle of friends. Hand-me-downs are a great way of not only saving money, but going “green” as well. If you’re child has grown out of something and it’s in reasonable shape, pass it along! As well, if your friends offer you clothes for your kids that are in good condition, accept.

7) Make a Date - Schedule automatic payments for monthly bills and avoid late fees. Figure out a schedule that indicates which date each bill is due and set a course of action that will allow you to get them paid on time.

8) Home-Cooking - Families can save hundreds, if not thousands by cutting back on buying lunch, dinner and morning coffees. You don’t have to give it up completely, but consider eliminating one or two Starbucks lattes or morning bagels. Bring your lunch to work a couple days a week and you’ll find that you have more money in your pocket - and bank account.

9) Bigger is Better - Shop in bulk - it’s more economical and makes a lot of sense if you’ve got kids. Staples such as diapers, wipes, cereal and more can be purchased at places like Costco, Sams Club and similar stores. If you’re buying these items on a regular basis, it’s worth the cost of membership to have access to the bulk sizes which, in many cases, works out to a less expensive unit size per item.

10) Out of Season - Shop in the off or end-of-season. Prices for kids clothing, from snowsuits to sweaters to t-shirts, bathing suits and more are considerably discounted if you purchase them at the cusp of the new season. Stock up on items when you can: If you see a snowsuit or heavy pants marked down to a clearance price in the midst of spring, grab them and run!

So as you can see, there are a number of simple things that can be done to make your hard-earned money last longer. 

What other money-saving tips do you follow? Please share in the comments below.

VIDEO: Donna Summer - “She Works Hard For The Money

 

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Hijacked at the Checkout

by Samantha on October 4, 2011

Fundraising for charity at the checkout leaves a bad taste in most consumers' mouths

“That’ll be $57.24, please. And would you like to donate to [INSERT CHARITY HERE]”

Has this ever happened to you?

If you are a regular grocery shopper, the answer is likely “yes.”

Increasingly, stores have taken to “guerrilla collection tactics” with regards to the charity of the hour. Fundraising at the checkout is now par for the course for an increasing number of charities.
Ambushed is how I feel, quite frankly.

It’s enough to count your pennies and stay within a reasonable budget when going through the checkout line. Furthermore, there is often the distraction/anxiety-producing reality of having one, two, three or more kids with you when you’re shopping. Do you really need to have to deal with this?

This latest solicitation has me, well, angry. I resent being put on the spot when
a) I’m not in the mindset to be “pitched” for money;

 

b) I’m put in the position of feeling cheap and being embarrassed in front of everyone else in line if i say   “no;” and

 

c) The person asking usually doesn’t explain the details of who or what the money is for, how it will be used/allocated, and related topics;

checkout counter

Stores are more frequently using this tactic for what appears to be the express purpose of “contribution via embarrassment.” It appears that the strategy behind this type of tactic is to shame the purchaser into saying “yes” because they are put on the spot and caught off guard. With other shoppers in the grocery line behind them, all within earshot of the purchaser’s response, it takes a strong person to say “no” and not feel embarrassed, cheap or ashamed of their decision.It has been found that it is a lot more difficult to reject a request for money when you are looking at a person face to face, than it is to be solicited over the phone, or via email/regular mail. The confrontational nature of the request and basic human psychology dictates that most of us are uncomfortable with saying “no” and disappointing the person asking.

And this is exactly what marketers and charities using this tactic are counting on. For this reason alone, I will purposely decline the request for funds solicited in this manner. Charities and corporations working together need to stop these types of ambush techniques if they really want to keep the respect and loyalty of their customers. Because at the end of the day, customers will make their dismay at these tactics known by taking themselves - and their dollars - elsewhere.

Has this ever happened to you? What do you think of this type of solicitation? Do you donate to charities via requests at the checkout line?

Image courtesy of www.madamenoire.com

 

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Meltdown in Aisle Five: How to Go Grocery Shopping With Kids

August 2, 2011

How to get through the cereal aisle and checkout counter stress-free It’s an inevitability that every parent has to experience. A rite of passage, the “supermarket shakedown” is one that indeed shakes your maternal/paternal resolve to the core. This unique meltdown of sorts is atypical in that it is usually precipitated by the perpetrator’s viewing […]

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