The Get Your Groceries Game that is. Haven’t heard of it? Well I wouldn’t be surprised because I made it up awhile back and haven’t shared it yet! It all started when I came to college last fall. I began to notice how much groceries cost me—and this was just for one person! And not only that, but I had 3 big chain grocery stores to choose between. Of course I automatically assumed Wal-Mart was the cheapest for everything, but then I would see bananas or bagged lettuce cheaper at a different chain. So instead of trying to remember how much everything cost at every grocery store, I decided to collect my receipts and start tracking in a notebook. Then I would stick the little notebook in my purse and compare to make sure I was getting the lowest price possible. Even a few cents can add up, especially when you pair that savings with coupon savings! So what are you waiting for? You should totally play this game too! Here’s the “rules”:
- Gather up all you recent receipts that include your groceries.(You can do this for anything really, not just groceries!)
- Grab a notebook, paper, or whatever you want to write on and designate a page for each store you shop at. (I color code mine just for fun!)
- List all the items for each store along with the oz or lb and the price.
- And then use your handy list to compare before you shop and when your there. Make sure to update if prices change, and keep and eye out for sales because that would mean you could get something cheaper at a different store regardless of the standard price.
Since I started playing this “game”, I have definitely noticed a significant dip in my grocery spending, which leaves the money for other fun things! It doesn’t take too long to do, but it does add up in the long run! Do you see any significant price differences between stores in your town? One thing I noticed is Wal-Mart’s generic brand Great Value has rock-bottom prices on a lot of staples like oats, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, and canned goods, so I usually head there for that kind of stuff. Also my 8th Continent soymilk I always buy is $1.04 cheaper at Wal-Mart than at the other two grocery stores! Looking for other ways to save on your groceries?
- Always check your pantry and cupboards before you leave to make sure you don’t already have something on your list.
- Eat up fresh fruits and veggies before buying more to avoid spoilage.
- Try to make your own deli-salads or other things you would normally buy pre-made to save some money.
- Try to plan menus based on weekly sales.
- If you have food co-op in your area, join it! You can reduce your weekly food bill by as much as 50%.
- Meat is a good source of protein but it's expensive. Cheese, poultry, eggs, peanut butter, dried peas, beans, lentils, and some fish are less expensive and excellent sources of protein.
- Use your freezer to stock up when there is a sale on frozen or dairy items, such as cheese, butter and milk.
- Pretty packaging costs you money. You are not only paying for the product, but for the packaging (and advertising) as well.
- Send off for rebates to get items free, or nearly free!
- Learn the sales cycles of your favorite stores, and know when to expect certain items to go on sale.
- If your store offers a members card, sign up to get significant savings.
- Plan one big trip a month for bulk staples. You can get fresh items at another store on other weeks, but doing a big bulk trip will cut back on the expense and amount you have to carry for the other three weeks. Avoid buying on impulse at the bulk store too — just because they sell a lot of it doesn't mean you're saving, if you weren't planning on buying it in the first place. Buy in bulk only when it makes sense. If you can save money, over the course of a month or two, by buying in bulk, plan to do so. But be sure that you're going to use all of it before it gets bad — it isn't cheaper to buy in bulk if you don't use it.
- Use leftovers in every way possible—visit the Leftover Chef—he’ll help you utilize every last drop.
- Know how long this last before they go bad. Visit Still Tasty which is the ultimate shelf life guide.
And lastly, make sure to check this blog for updates on how to save big!
And it wouldn’t hurt to use your reusable bag!! Saving money + saving the earth= double whammy!
Let me know your tips and tricks for saving on groceries—I may feature you! =)