As promised, today I'm going to share with you Kelly's (Faithful Provisions) top three ways to save money at the grocery store...without couponing! So maybe trying some of these tips will help you lower your tab this week. Ever since I have been investigating this new way of shopping, I am finding that going to the grocery store is more of an adventure than ever before! My sons are even enjoying tagging along now because once we get there, it's like GAME ON! It is all about the hunt!
Okay, Kelly's top three (I'll give these to you quick, then if you have to go, you've got them down. Plus, I want to do a quote thingy because Edie has made it look so cool.)
- Learn to stockpile.
- Plan your week's meals.
- Have a grocery budget.
How do you stockpile? Stockpiling is when you buy something when it is on sale, and you buy enough of it to get you through until that product goes on sale again. For example, when your grocery is running a 10 for $10 sale on toothpaste, you buy ten tubes! That's ten extra dollars you're spending, but it is better than buying toothpaste one at a time when it is not on sale and paying $2.99 for it. Get the picture? Learning to stockpile is one reason that Kelly warns people that their grocery bill may actually be larger when they first begin trying to bring it down!
Meal planning is all over the web. Lots of you may already take part in Menu Plan Monday. If you follow that link, you'll find lots of good stuff that will help you start planning your menus. Why does it work? "It's writing down what you're going to eat for the week," explains Kelly. "Start by picking two or three meals a week to plan ahead and watch how easy it makes things." You know what you're going to eat, so you know what you're going to need to buy when you go shopping. Lots of people post their menus on the fridge so that everyone in the family knows what's for dinner!
Another good thing about menu planning is that you can go ahead and start some of your meals as soon as you get home from the store. In the time it takes me to put things away, I can brown all the ground beef I'm going to be using for the week. Multi-tasking, baby! Then I label it according to whether I threw in Italian, Mexican, or chili seasonings, and place it in the freezer. This sure does take the pressure off when it's time to cook dinner!
Have a grocery budget. Oh my--the b-word! "Without a set amount of money," Kelly says, "you don't know when to cut it off." Kelly recommends taking a look at your last two or three months of bank statements. See how much you have spent at Walmart, Target, the grocery, etc. (I recommend that you sit down and have a cold drink close by when you do this.) "You're probably going to be floored," agrees Kelly. She advises people to set spending goals, and once met, bring those goals down to where it takes a little more creativity to meet them.
I hope you are able to use some of these ideas. And now, the question that has been plaguing me ever since I started looking into this whole thing: Do you menu plan according to your coupons, or do you coupon according to your menu plan? Let me know!