A lot of my friends and family ask how I save money at the store. When I tell them, they often tell me that they “don’t have the brain for math” or “I don’t have time to do that”. I do spend roughly an hour planning my trip and looking for coupons. The math I do at the store is typically limited to figuring out which size package is a better deal. Most larger stores have the information on the tag that shows the price per unit (although that unit isn’t always the same.. one size may show price per ounce, while another shows price per pound).
How can I save money with little time and preparation?
You’ve probably heard the old saying, don’t shop when you’re hungry. It’s absolutely true. Grocery stores are designed to sell you things you didn’t intend to buy. There’s actual psychology behind store design and it’s solely for the purpose of selling you (or your kids) things you don’t want. Seems obvious right? But we all fall in the trap. How often do you walk into the grocery store and there’s a table of freshly baked cakes or cookies just begging you to pick them up.. if you’re not hungry, you have a better chance of looking the other way. Stomach growling, you easily spent an extra $20 on things you didn’t really want, took home and now feel guilty for eating.
What can you do?
I’ve been asked to share some of my tips on saving money at the store. I know there’s a million articles that will tell you that you can save a LOT of money if you follow their tips. Some will even tell you that you can spend nothing at the store. You may have even watched Extreme Couponing and thought, how can I do that.. Honestly, almost no one can. Even if you could, do you need 100 bottles of mustard. Food banks probably don’t even want the tons of mustard that people are donating because they earned .01 back on each bottle. So, here’s the first in a series of tips for shopping for a real family and saving money.
We’ve lucky here because we have a selection of at least 3 large chain grocery stores, another half dozen family owned local stores, and several discount grocers (both chain and local). My first tip is to try out a couple of stores and get to know them. You may be able to check them out through their websites and looking at their sales flyers to see if they have good prices and good selections of things you buy.