Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Saving money on groceries and other stuff

Hey all!

So a few of you have now asked me for couponing tips. However, I do not save a lot of MORE money using coupons, due to the way I already shop, even without coupons. And there are so many different coupon tips, that it would be overwhelming for me to list them all. So I am going to just start out with a generalized "here is how I save money on groceries" post. Then if you have any more specific questions, let me know. Below are things that I do or don't do, and end up spending on average about $135 (about) on a family of 5, per week, on just food.

#1 - You cannot be brand specific. By allowing yourself to purchase the store brands or value brands, you can on average save up to $1.00 per item. Now if you typically buy brand name everything, and say you went to the store and purchased 75 items of  brand name everything, you could possibly save about $75. That is where you will see your MOST savings.

#2 - Only buy what you need. I, myself, can be an impulse shopper. You see something that is on sale, that you don't normally buy, so you want to pick it up. And doing this once in a while is fine, but if can admit that you do it too often, maybe its something you really need to try to stop doing.

#3 - Make sure you have a store card.  Pretty much all stores these days have some type of discount card that allows shoppers to get even lower prices. They make it seem like its a secret club....but its not. All stores have them these days. Get one! I have 13 different store cards on my key rings.

#4 - Register that store card online.  Once you register it online, you will receive period emails alerting you of savings coming up, or savings that are specific to what you typically buy from that store. You can also, save electronic coupons to your store card online. Then when you swipe your card, the coupon is automatically applied. Ex: CVS send me coupons via email, that I can either print out or save right to my card. (I can do another post sometime about CVS tricks alone) Another EX: I can save coupons that Shoprite offers, right to my card. And you can use those in line with paper coupons too, at most stores.

#5 - Do not be afraid of stores with the word DOLLAR in them.  My favorite ones to hit are Dollar General and Family Dollar. The low cost items I typically only buy at these stores are value brand medicines (they are cheaper then CVS  brand, and work just as well -- THEY ARE THE SAME THING!!!). Cleaners, laundry products and air fresheners tend to be cheapest at these stores as well. we also always buy our bread from Dollar General - its only $.85 and sooo fresh & soft.
These 2 stores are also my first places to hit when I am looking for small home decorating items like picture frames, vases, table clothes, etc, and you can even get cheap office supplies there too.  My newest obsession is going to Dollar tree for organizational items like bins & baskets.

Last but not least -- this is a BIG one that might shock some of you.
#6 - WALMART IS NOT  ALWAYS THE CHEAPEST PLACE TO GET GROCERIES!!!! NO, its not!!!  If you compare non-sale prices at a regular grocery store, and the prices at Walmart - Yes, its cheaper. BUT....regular grocery stores like Shoprite, put things on sale ALL THE TIME!!!  And their sale prices are much lower then Walmarts 'discount' prices. Now this statement is only towards the groceries. There are plenty of other items that make Walmart the cheapest place to purchase them.

Now, I am not trying to tell you all that what you do is wrong. I am just explaining how I shop to save money. And maybe some of these tips can be applied to your own shopping habits, and maybe help. I know some people will only eat organic, which can be expensive. And some people live with others who are brand specific. I am just lucky enough that my family eats whatever I buy. They don't care who makes it. 

Oh I forgot one....#7 -- Value menus at Fast Food Restaurants.  Admit it, we all eat out at least once a week, just because its easier. And for those of us who live on a tight budget, it tends to be fast food mostly. When we eat out at McD's or KFC or someplace like that, we try to stay away from "meals". For example....when we go to McDonald's, i will typically get 20 piece nuggets, a regular fry, and 2 medium drinks. This usually runs me somewhere around $15 and feeds me and the 3 girls. If I got them all a Happy meal, it would run me that much for them alone, and then my food on top of it. And 1/4 of that food and half the drinks would be left in my car. 

Thanks. I'm done now! Byyyyyeeeee!