To bring you the best variety of tips and savings ideas, the Inexpensively network connects with bloggers from around the country. Joining us this week is Cherie from Queen of Free, sharing a piece from her Grocery 101 series.
Cherie has crazy red hair and blogs daily as her alter ego (because everyone needs one) on her site the Queen of Free. She invites you to be a Money Saving Lord or Lady and join the Royal Court of the Queen of Free where you can Save Money Daily and Indeed Get Something For Nothing!
Royal Savings Academy Students, take out your tape recorders and let me ask you:
Have you ever made your way to the front of the grocery store, placed all of your items on the belt, and then watched in horror as the total climbed and climbed and climbed? Then in shock, you’ve shuffled out your debit card to pay $40 more than you had planned on items that you’re not really even sure what they really are and why they cost you that high of a price? If your answer is yes, then you my friend, have been groceried. No matter how many sales they run, how many coupons they accept, how nice they are to you as they greet you at the door, grocery stores exist to make money (not necessarily a bad thing) and to be specific to make as much money as they can off of you. So how can you save money at the grocery store without thinking? Here are a few tips:
- Know your store. The less you wander around, the better. Pay attention to where your favorite items live in your grocery store. That way, you don’t have to go down every aisle allowing extra purchases to jump into your cart.
- Set a time limit. Sometimes I purposefully go to the store an hour and a half before my daughter gets off the school bus. It can get kind of hairy making sure I make it through the line in time but the bottom line is that the less time I spend in the store, the less money I spend, too.
- Shop the perimeter. This is actually a great way to both save money AND eat more healthfully. The items that your body really needs are around the perimeter of the store – fresh fruits, veggies, meats, dairy, etc. The aisles in the middle occasionally have an item I always buy (rolled oats, frozen veggies, meats, and fruits) but the majority of time they’re stuffed with less than the best foods both in the nutritional value and monetary value categories.
- Don’t be afraid to go to two places. Many of you know that I absolutely LOVE Aldi. Every week, I buy fresh veggies (peppers, cucumbers, avocado, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini) and fruit (bananas, oranges, apples, grapes, strawberries) at Aldi for half the price of “regular” grocery stores. Their prices rarely fluctuate. They also have great deals on fresh and frozen meats, milk, eggs, oats, and frozen veggies and fruits. I tend to buy my household items (toothpaste, toilet paper, deodorant) and a few other grocery items (bread, cereal, Jello, Splenda, etc.) at one of the bigbox stores (Walmart, Target, or Meijer, depending on who has the best deals for the week/match ups with my coupons). Believe it or not, due to my time limits and Aldi’s small store size, I can squeeze in two separate trips in less time than I used to spend on one major haul.
- Don’t go too late at night. This might just be a guideline for me but I cannot go to a store after 9 PM (kind of like letting a Gremlin stay up past midnight). For some reason as the night hours tick by, my resistance decreases and I end up not only purchasing way too many products, but I also wander around the store aimlessly staying later and later into the night.
Congratulations students on studying to save more. While many of these tips are common sense, no nonsense thoughts you’ve probably had before, it’s still good to revisit them and impress them on our minds! Don’t be groceried on your next trip to hunt and gather for your family. 🙂