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7 easy ways to save at the grocery store

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7 easy ways to save on groceries

I’m sure you have noticed that the rising price of groceries is cutting into your budget lately. Food prices are at an all time high due to the widespread 2012 drought and high price of gasoline. The economy is still struggling to recover and many of us are trying to tighten our purse strings. Here are 7 easy ways to save money on your grocery bills.

Buy seasonal

Fruit and vegetable prices can fluctuate around the seasons. Just over the last few months, I’ve seen a red bell pepper cost anywhere from 40 cents to $1.25. That’s a big difference in price. Pay attention to how much produce cost when you walk down the grocery aisle and avoid the expensive non seasonal items. Everything tastes better when it’s in season anyway.

Buy things that are on sale

This one is really easy. Grocery stores have weekly sales and you can save if you buy a product at the right time. Pay attention to what is in your pantry and cabinets. If you stock of TP is half used, then put it on the shopping list until you find a TP sale. Don’t wait until things run out to buy. Then you’ll be forced to pay regular price.


It’s easy to clip coupons from the newspaper or local mailers. Nowadays, you can find many coupons on the internet and print them out as well. There is a caveat though. You should compare the brand name product’s price with the coupon savings to a generic product’s price. Many times the brand name products are still more expensive even with coupons.

Buy Generic and check the bulk food bins

It’s a given that brand name products are more expensive than a generic product. Most generic products are indistinguishable from their brand name counterpart so you can save money by buying generic. However, some generic products are junk. We tried the “Sun” dishwashing liquid a few times because it was much cheaper than the brand name, but it just doesn’t work as well and we ended up using more to get the same result as a brand name dish soap. Sometimes it’s better to pay more for a better quality product.

Membership cards

Applying for a membership card is a good way to save at the grocery store. I’m not talking about Costco and their expensive executive membership program. That’s only a good fit for some people. Most grocery stores have a membership program which enables you to save on various products throughout the store. We have a Safeway nearby and most items there are a bit more expensive. However, the club price is quite good on the some items and the membership card saved money for us over the years.

Avoid processed and prepackaged food

It’s much more healthy and nutritious to cook from scratch. Processed food and prepackage food have a lot of unhealthy additives and they are expensive. While they are convenient, they are one of the main reasons why Americans are overweight. It’s too easy to eat all those junk food and frozen food. They taste good because they are loaded with salt and sugar. It’s better to minimize your intake of these expensive items.

Grow your own food

This one isn’t really easy unless you like gardening. : ) I like to grow high value plants like mint and basil. When we need fresh herbs, I can just snip a few leaves from the plants. I really don’t like paying $3 for a little packet of mint that will go bad in a couple of weeks. It’s much better to pay $3 for a plant and put it in a pot.

There you have it. These are just a few easy ways to reduce your grocery budget. If you can resist the urge to buy brand names in favor of a comparable generic brand, and to learn to buy seasonal items or items on sale, you will save dollars on nearly every trip to the grocery store.

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{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Evan November 2, 2012, 2:07 pm

    I don’t go shopping that often but I feel like if you stick away from crap you can save so much money. Veggies and meat are just not that expensive for a few people.

  • [email protected] November 2, 2012, 6:54 pm

    One thing that people don’t seem to do anymore is can their food. When I was a kid my grandma used to preserve everything in her garden, her green beans were my favorite. Canned grocery store brands just can’t compare. Plus it’s a great deal cheaper. You need to invest in the jars and other tools, but after a while they’ll pay for themselves.

    • 101 Centavos November 3, 2012, 2:01 am

      Canning can frankly a pain sometimes. I’ve tried my hand at it a few times, and results were mixed. Now that I’ve figured out which kind of green beans grow well, perhaps next season will be the Year of the (Canned) Green Bean.

  • Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals November 4, 2012, 12:26 pm

    I do all of these – except plant my own food. I’ve always wanted to, but never got around to it!

    I think buying seasonal is HUGE. We LIVED off strawberries all spring and early summer, but now that they’re two or three times the price, it’s not worth it!

    • retirebyforty November 5, 2012, 8:32 am

      It can be a lot of work to plant your own food. If you like gardening then it’s worth it. Otherwise…

  • kolpin November 5, 2012, 8:20 pm

    if you live in or near a mid-sized city, you can usually find great ethnic markets where produce and meats are a lot cheaper. you can also find new and interesting foods to try that you might not be able to buy anywhere else. I’m also a big fan of Walmart for basic canned/packaged goods…they’re way cheaper than my local grocery store, and they’re expanding into more urban areas.

    • retirebyforty November 7, 2012, 2:01 pm

      Great idea. I like ethnic markets too, but the one near us aren’t much cheaper… 🙁

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