Buttoned Up Expert: The No-Coupon Solution to Saving Money on Groceries

The No-Coupon Solution to Saving Money on Groceries

By Amy Suardi, Buttoned Up’s Savings Expert

Coupons can reduce your grocery bill, but they also create clutter and require time and effort. The good news is that there are many ways to cut down at the supermarket.

Shop sales.

Decide your menu based on what’s on special that week (check the circular in the paper or online). Not only will you save a lot, but you’ll also know when you can finally indulge in filet mignon.

Stock up on favorites when they are discounted.

Make sure the sale price is taken off at the register.

Check your store sale policy.

If the sale says 2 for $3, do you have to buy two to get the sale price? Often stores will charge you $1.50 for one.

Go easy on complicated recipes.

You have to buy often pricey ingredients, and sometimes you only need a small portion while the rest goes to waste.

Befriend low-cost foods.

Everyone has favorite dishes they tend to eat over and over.  Make yours ones that cost less.

The cheapest meats are usually sausage and ground beef.   (An inexpensive meat substitute?  Legumes paired with grains make great protein, like rice and beans, lentils and pasta, or chick peas and cous-cous.)

Vegetables:  cabbage is always cheap and usually broccoli and zucchini too.  Fruit:  bananas and usually apples and pears.  Cheese is always expensive, but give the no-name brands a try.

Buy the generic store brand.

If it’s not good enough, move up to the next price point.

Use lists.

Planning ahead will reduce impulse buys and extra trips.

Don’t shop when you’re hungry.

You’re likely to buy stuff you may regret later (like trays of seasonally appropriate cupcakes or cartons of lemon-lime soda).

Consider ordering online.

If you tend to toss stuff in your cart willy-nilly, shopping via Web might keep you on target — as well as save you time, effort, and gas.

Give yourself a break.

If you find you’re still spending more on groceries, maybe it’s because you’re cooking more or having people over instead of going out.  These things are ultimately good for your wallet (and your tummy).

So relax and know that, while food is expensive, it’s still a fraction of the cost than when ordered from a menu.

Amy Suardi writes about saving money & making life better at Frugal Mama.

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