No, I’m NOT going to talk about Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) (although that is a very good way to save some money on food). This is about going to the local grocery store, the one you usually go to, and coming out better; and NO, it’s NOT about couponing and making hundreds of dollars! It’s just about plain, ordinary, common sense grocery shopping.
First, go with a list, but keep an open mind. If there are low cost specials on foods you ordinarily purchase, pick up 2 or 3 of them – but only if you can store them safely (if frozen or refrigerated) and use them before the expiration dates. Don’t get large amounts of meats unless there is a really good sale and you can quickly and safely divide the packages and repackage into meal-sized portions and freeze. This will have to be done immediately upon arriving home. If you don’t have the time, don’t do it.
Coupons can help you take up to 20 – 30% off your food bill, but only if you have multiple coupons and actually USE them. The best place to get usable coupons is not on the internet (too many stores have stopped accepting them). No, rather it is your Sunday newspaper. If you are going to get serious about it, you need to buy at least 2 and preferably 3 or 4 Sunday papers. This is where the large national companies’ coupons are inserted.
The mistake many people make is to purchase products they don’t normally use just because they have cents-off coupons for them. Don’t do tht. join up with neighbors or friends and trade the inserts you have removed your coupons from for their cut up inserts. The more coupons you have the better – if not this week then next week.
If your store had a day or several days, a week when they double or triple coupons, shop on that day. If you are a senior citizen (usually defined as over 60), one or more of your local stores may have a “Senior Discount Day” on which they give 5% off on the groceries to Seniors. Yay! Add coupons, and you may be able to save 25% – 35%. That ain’t hay!
If you are as forgetful as I am (I’ve never been able to get myself together with my coupons on grocery day), you can still save. Purchase store brands when you can. Certain store brands you may not like, so get the brands you prefer – preferably with a coupon. But there are many things on which you can save a few cents here and there.
Plan your meals out for each week plus 2 days at a time. When you shop, be sure the ingredients for those meals are available in your pantry and refrigerator or freezer. Otherwise, add the ingredients to your list. Buy for 1 week plus 2 days at a time. That way, if you can’t shop on your usual day, you easily will have enough on hand to go the next day.
- Shop sales
- Plan your meals 9 days at a time
- Shop for the ingredients of your meals
- Stock up (when feasible) on sale items
- Use coupons if you can – and if you do, remember to get 2 Sunday papers each week and trade coupons with family members, friends and neighbors.
- O yes – Clark Howard’s website is: http://clarkhoward.com/clarkmedia/tv/grocery_tips.html