|Make a shopping list and stick to it. Write down
items as you run out of them. Sticking to a list sounds simple, but it
isnít. Supermarkets are designed to tempt customers to buy more. The bread
aisle and milk are on opposite sides so you have to pass all the other sections
to get from one to the other. Along the way you smell the freshly ground coffee.
A sale on cookies catches your eye. The average person spends a dollar for every
extra minute spent in the supermarket, so donít waste an extra minute. Don't
shop on an empty stomach either, so you'll be less tempted to splurge. Write
your list and keep your eyes on it as you pass from list item to list item until
youíre done. See, youíre already at the checkout counter, and you havenít
bought a single thing you didnít need. Now if you can just get past the
Get to know the prices of things you buy regularly. This will give you a better idea of when things are really on sale and when they arenít.
Check and compare supermarket circulars. Donít assume something is on sale just because itís in a circular. That isnít always the case. Keep an eye out for half off specials on things you would normally buy. If you have extra storage space for bulk buying thatís great, but donít buy more food than you have room for or that you can eat before the ďuse byĒ date. Plan meals around sale items.
Cut coupons for items you normally buy. Sometimes itís even worthwhile to buy more than one newspaper to get several coupons for an item you buy every week. If more than one newspaper includes coupons in your area, compare them, because they may have different coupons. Keep your clippings organized by date or by category. Check the sale items you are interested in from your circulars against your coupons. Take advantage of double and triple coupon days. The worst thing about coupons is they encourage some people to buy things they donít really need or buy an expensive brand to get a discount when another brand costs less without a discount. The best thing about coupons is, with double and triple coupon days combined with supermarket specials, you can sometimes get things FREE!
Stretch your meals with cheaper items. Beef is expensive, but spaghetti is cheap, so how about spaghetti and meatballs for dinner? Carbohydrates Ė such as pastas, rice, bread, and potatoes Ė usually cost less than proteins, and some proteins -- like beans -- cost less than others. Unless youíre on a low carb diet, take advantage of it. Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables, too. Youíll know theyíre in season, because the quality is at its highest while the prices are at their lowest.
Look up and down the shelves. Cheaper items are often on upper or lower shelves, where they can be harder to notice.
Compare products by their unit prices. Donít assume the super-sized package of cereal costs less per ounce. That isnít always the case.
Use your supermarketís club card. And use it every time. You may get a discount you werenít expecting.Buy foods you like, but not foods you donít, no matter how good the deal seems to be. Wasted food is wasted money. If you get something you and your family wonít eat and it's still in a sealed package, see if you can donate it to your local food pantry for a needy family.
Look for manager specials. Many supermarkets cut prices 30 to 50 percent, or even more, on items that have reached their "sell by" date. If you see something you want that has reached its sell by date and its price hasn't been brought down yet, ask a manager if he can reduce the price for you. Make sure to use or freeze the item as soon as you can.