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


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Simple money-saving strategies for families


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


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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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

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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?

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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 of candy-coated confections, promptly followed by an unequivocal “No!”.

It’s them or you, the line has been drawn in the proverbial sand (or in the cereal aisle) and the standoff ensues. Will you relent and give in to the demands for chips, cheesies or chocolate? Will you capitulate, in an effort to calm the inevitable tantrums, screams and foot-stomping, or will you stand your ground, repeat the parental party line - “NO!” - and keep walking? Will you too melt down, overwhelmed with the situation at hand and the apparent lack of solution, or will you be strong, be firm in your resolve and let calmer heads prevail? Will you get through your grocery list and not forget the two dozen eggs and bread required for tomorrow’s breakfast??

The answers to these questions are rooted in one of the anchors of parenthood: being prepared - which will allow you to circumvent the loudest screams and the most extreme meltdowns.

Following are tips for parents on how to go grocery shopping with their children and how to keep kids calm at the supermarket:

1) A Fed Child is a Happy Child - ALWAYS make sure that everyone is fed before venturing into the cereal aisle. This includes you, mom and dad. You will be less likely to give in to demands for sugar-coated crap on a full stomach.

2) Ground Rules Rule - Make it clear to the kids before you go to the supermarket that under NO circumstances will you be veering off your shopping list. At all. No sugar-coated cereals, no candy-covered chocolates and no chips or cheesies.

3) Case the Joint - Supermarkets have this annoying habit of changing their floor plan every so often, in order to force you to go down aisles that you didn’t plan to before. This is to assure that you (and of course your kids) will be caught by surprise by the “new and improved” chocolate-coated marshmallows in aisle three that you were trying to avoid. If you can, make a mental note each visit of any changes regarding where food is positioned and keep them in mind before you venture into the vast expanse of food with the kids in tow. It will save you not only your nerves (not having to listen to screaming demands for goodies) but your sanity as well. Which leads us to tip #4:

4) Cows and Chickens First - Go down the dairy aisles first - they are usually located at the furthest expanses and corners of the stores. There is method behind this madness with supermarket planners and marketers realizing that making you pass all of the enticing items, foods and sale products before getting to the staples - milk, eggs and cheese - may make you give in to your (and you kids’) primal desires. Don’t fall for it. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t walk - run with your shopping cart - to the staples. Once you’ve got them, high-tail it out of there, if you can.

5) Make a List, Check it Twice - Not only will having a pre-written list in advance save you from the horror of the latest sale on bulk-sized Cheezies, but it will keep you focused and on your game as well. Plan your week’s menu in advance, check your fridge and pantry/cupboards and make your list. Refer back to tip #2 and reiterate to the kids that you have a list and are not buying anything that’s not on it. If the kids are too small to understand, resort to Parenting 101: Bribery, Negotiations and Threats if necessary. Really.

6) Diversion Tactics - You will need these, particularly when you finally dodge the sugary crap and make it to the checkout. This is where they really get you - and your kids. Feeding upon our human nature to “impulse shop” as well as the fact that a large number of us will have our kids with us, candy bars, useless electronic gadgets, comics and National Enquirers will stare you down. Don’t stare back and don’t let your kids stare back either! Pull out your bribes items from home, such as new stickers, a colouring book or similar and keep the kids occupied at this crucial time in the shopping process.

So you see, shopping with kids can be done. All it takes is a little planning, determination and a resolve. Okay, perhaps nerves of steel as well 😉

How do you get through grocery shopping with the kids? What works best for you?

How to go grocery shopping with kids

To read this article on Lifehacker, CLICK HERE.

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