Did you know that groceries are one of the highest monthly household expenses? If you’re a mom you know this to be true. Buying necessary items can add up pretty quick, not to mention those nonessentials that your kids grab off the shelves and beg you for. But don’t worry, there are actually some pretty easy and useful tips on how to save a few extra dollars when it comes time to hit the supermarket.
Avoid the Inner Aisles
You’ve likely heard this piece of advice before. Supermarkets generally stock necessity items like water, produce and dairy along the outer edges of the store. Why? So that shoppers are inclined to pass through all of the aisles to get from one side of the store to another. These inner aisles are where you’ll find many items you may not need. Shop the perimeter of the store first and only grab those items from the other aisles that are on your list.
Coupons are any mother’s dream. Don’t be too proud to coupon clip. You’d be surprised how much you can save when you collect coupons for the items you normally buy. Often, you can combine coupons with items that are already on sale. Just beware of overbuying or buying certain items just because you have a coupon. Will you ever really use 10 of those electric toothbrushes?
Join a Wholesale Club
Are you feeding a large family? Do you find yourself constantly revisiting the grocery store for basic items that you ran out of? Wholesale clubs are the perfect way to stock up on much-needed items in bulk. Whether it’s diapers and wipes or paper towel and cereal, not only will you get a longer supply of these must-have items but you’ll likely save a few dollars. Wholesale clubs offer some pretty great savings on these products. You can even grab frozen food items, meats and produce at most clubs. You will need to pay a monthly or annual membership fee, though.
Shop from the Top and Bottom
When something is at your eye-level, you’ll be more inclined to buy it. That’s why supermarkets stock the shelves with the most expensive items at your eye-level. Try searching higher up on the shelves or near the bottom. You’ll likely find items of equal quality at a much cheaper price.
Supermarkets are often “one-stop shopping”. But you may be paying more for the convenience than you realize. Some items are actually cheaper if purchased elsewhere. This includes pharmacy items like toothpaste, deodorant and bathroom supplies. You can save quite a few dollars if you purchase these items elsewhere. Use the grocery store for the essentials that you know you can’t find anywhere else but save the incidentals for stores that offer discounts.
Use Shop-from-Home Services
Many supermarkets offer shop from home services. You can order your groceries from the comfort of your own home and pay a small fee for someone to shop the order for you. You can then pick it up or have the items delivered. Delivery may cost extra. I know what you’re probably thinking. But you’re supposed to be telling me how to save money, not spend more.
Never Shop Hungry
This goes hand-in-hand with impulse buying. When you shop hungry you’re more likely to grab those delicious looking snacks off the shelf. You’ll almost definitely buy items you don’t need and may even end up buying items you don’t even like just because your hungry belly is doing the shopping. Have a small snack before heading to the store or bring on along in case hunger strikes.
Every mother’s dream is grocery shopping by themselves though it’s not always practical. If and when you can, try shopping by yourself. Not only will it cut down on those, “Mommy, please, I need to have this” moments, but you’ll likely finish your shopping trip in half the time. Shopping without your kids helps you stay focused and on task. If your children are along for the ride, try eliciting their help and making the trip fun and educational versus chaotic and stressful.
Don’t Buy Pre-cut Produce
Sure, pre-cut fruit and vegetables will definitely save you time when it comes to food prep but it will definitely hit your wallet hard. Pre-cut produce can cost more than double the price of non prepared foods. That means instead of buying pre-sliced pineapple or honey melon, buy the entire item and spend a few extra minutes cutting it at home. It’ll be worth the time and effort when you get to the checkout.
Be a Smart Shopper
Saving money at the grocery store is all about shopping smart. Prepare before you head out. This means collecting coupons, looking through the circular for sales and creating a specific list. Try to stay focused. I often take the “get in and get out” mentality when it comes to food shopping. Because this is a task most moms perform at least twice a month, try using these tips to save time, money and your sanity.