Saving Money on groceries is getting tougher according to The Today Show. The cost of groceries are going up for the first time since 2008. Milk is up 10%, sugar is up 9%, eggs are up 7%, and chuck roast is up 12% (that is pretty specific, but I would think that means that meat prices in general is on the rise. I have noticed a price increase in butter as well.
Jean Chatzky, TODAY financial editor, gives a few tips on how to save money on groceries, and I would like to both elaborate on her money saving tips and add a few of my own.
- Pay attention to prices – this is her first tip and it is a good one. A “side effect” of doing grocery store coupon matches is learning what a good price is. Before I did the Price Chopper and HyVee ad coupon match, I would see the sale items, but I did not realize that some grocery stores will put an item on “sale” when it really isn’t a sale price at all. If you cannot follow the grocery ads yourself then at least write down the prices of your most used items and use a coupon match to help you follow the best prices without having to do the work.
- Pay attention to packaging – This is true as well, but honestly there is not much you can do about it unless the competing brand did not change their size.
- Buy store brands – Great tip! You can save more on your groceries if you use coupons on sale items, but if you do not use or have coupons for an item you need then generic products are your next best bet!
- Stock up on sale items – Absolutely! If you can get a good price on an item you need then get enough to last you the month (three months if you have the space as that is the general sale schedule that grocery stores follow). If you buy exactly what you need each week then that is a recipe for high grocery food costs.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables – Chatzky suggests going with frozen if you cannot afford fresh fruits and vegetables and this can be a viable solution. However, there is almost always low cost fresh fruit and vegetables if you are willing to buy items in season. I have apples, bananas, blackberries, spinach, radishes, and carrots in my fridge right now and most of it was $1 or less per pound. We ate quite a bit of Cantaloupe when it was $1, but now it is quite expensive. Watch the sales and you can find plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Check your local warehouse store – I use Costco and I have noticed that their butter, milk, and many of the fresh produce is at a cost that is lower than the grocery stores price. Milk is always $1.75 less per gallon. Since we go through 2 gallons a week that saves us quite a bit!
- Be flexible – if you see a sale item at a grocery store and you will eat it before the expiration date then buy it. This way you can plan your meals not around the sale items of the week (which is hard), but the grocery sale items from the entire month (much easier). Keep your kitchen stocked!
- Use Your Leftovers – try not to let food go to waste.
- Cook from scratch – if you have the time then preparing foods instead of using “fast” foods will save you money.
- The Top 6 Grocery Store Myths (mint.com)
- How to Use Grocery Coupons to Save Money on Groceries (personalbudgeting.suite101.com)
- How To Cut Costs At The Supermarket (helpwithdebtnow.com)
- Nine Online Deals for this Week (littlepeoplewealth.com)
- Exclusive: Higher grocery prices to bite Thanksgiving: survey (reuters.com)