How to Cut Costs at the Supermarket


Over the years, the same bag of groceries you once bought has now doubled in price. Feed the family healthy foods that cost less by being aware of what you buy and buying only what you need. Learn a few simple tricks that will change your buying habits and save you money.

Things You'll Need

  • Food coupons
  • Grocery list
  • Pencil
  • Never go shopping when you are hungry. When you are hungry everything looks good, and you buy more than you need and things you don't need. Also avoid shopping with the kids. Children love junk food and they'll pester you to purchase what you don't need.

  • Make it a habit to check the newspapers for coupons for foods that you usually buy. Clip the coupons and take them along with you when shopping. Check the store circulars to see what is on sale. Make a list of what you need to buy and buy only what is on the list. Use a pencil and check off food items as you put them into the cart. When everything on the list is checked off, head for the checkout counter and leave the store. This will curb your impulse buying.

  • Buy only the amount of food you want. If it comes wrapped in a package of four, tell the produce clerk that you only need two. He will open the package and give you what you ask for. Items on sale for ''two for one'' does not mean you must buy two to get the price. Buy one for half the price. This is one of the ways the supermarkets get you to buy more.

  • Do not buy fruits already cut up and sold in a plastic container. You are paying double for having someone cut the melons into bite sized pieces that will only take you a few minutes to do at home. Do not buy produce in bags or by bulk, but by the piece so you can see the quality of what you are getting. Weigh what you buy and put it into the plastic bags that hang near the scales.

  • Make your own convenient bags of snacks, instead of buying them prepacked. Look at the calorie count on the box of ''snacks," count out or figure out 100 calories and put them into a small plastic baggie. Items that comes prepacked always cost almost double. Why pay for the packaging, when you can do it yourself?

  • Avoid buying eye-level stuff as that is where supermarkets put the more appealing and expensive packaging. Look for the generic stuff instead. Always compare generic products with brand-name products on sale, as the sale price can often be a lot less expensive than generics.

  • Purchase and stock up on meats and poultry only when they are on sale. Instead of buying prepackaged hamburger meat, get a chuck steak and ask the butcher to grind it for you (they do not charge for this service). This way, you know exactly what you are buying and what you are paying for. Cut down on those expensive cuts of meat and substitute pasta dinners and salads instead. Buy a whole chicken when they're on sale and ask the butcher to cut it into pieces for you at no extra charge.

  • Packaged cheese is expensive since you are paying for the packaging. Buy in bulk when on sale and stick to the generic brand where possible. Avoid grated cheese unless it's on special as you are paying a premium for it being grated; something that takes 2 extra minutes at home. Packaged cold cuts are also more expensive when they come in those little containers. Buy exactly what you need sliced to order at the deli department.

  • Be careful at the checkout counter. This is where the store puts all the 'impulse' buying products, such as sweets, gossip papers and anything else that the store wants to sell fast. Resist the temptation to buy what you did not plan on buying or what you really do not need.

Tips & Warnings

  • Buy paper goods and beauty supplies at discount supermarkets like Wal-Mart and Target unless they are on sale at the supermarket.
  • Do not buy olives at the olive bar as they charge by weight. Instead buy the bottles right from the shelf.
  • Bring a snack if you take children with you shopping. This way they will have their own treat instead of nagging you to buy them cookies.
  • Cut out buying sweet drinks and soda. Make your own healthy fruit drinks instead.
  • Replace those salty chips with cut up carrots and other veggies to snack on.
  • Find a ''day old bread store'' nearby. You can buy two loaves of bread for the regular price of one and also get day old cookies and cake. Stock up and freeze them,
  • You do not have to buy two, when an item is on sale as a two for one. Buy one for half the price marked.
  • Do not buy items on sale, unless you use them.

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