Saving Money on Groceries

produce section of a grocery store

So the holidays are over now, and if you’re like most of us, you probably spent too much money in the past couple of months.  And once the credit card bills start rolling in, you’ll need to find money to pay them.  One way is to cut your grocery bill.  I have a few suggestions for you:

  1. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry! This is a major mistake.  You will buy everything in sight, including those chocolate chip cookies and the pumpkin pie that look so good.  So make sure you eat before you leave the house.  It will save you a bundle of money.

  2. Do your meal planning for the week before you go so that you know what you need to buy. This also answers the age-old question that arises every day at 4:00 pm – what should I make for supper tonight?

  3. Make a list and stick to it. If your husband likes to throw things in the shopping car when you’re not looking, like mine does, leave him at home.  I also write down the approximate price of items as well – I usually have a fixed amount of money to spend on groceries, so I have to make sure that I don’t go over that amount.  And while you’re shopping, write down on your list the exact price of the item you’re buying – more about that in paragraph 9.

  4. When you are making your list, go through all the flyers to see if another store has your items on sale. If so, take the flyer with you to your regular grocery store – most of them will price match on those items.  This saves you driving around to different stores to get the best price.

  5. Make sure that you’re buying enough groceries for an entire week. Do not go to the store every day to pick up one or two items.  Shop once a week and that’s it.  You know as well as I do that when you “run to the store to pick up some bread”, you invariably come home with at least five or so other items as well (and this usually includes some cookies, because you’ve gone after work and you’re hungry!)

  6. Bring your coupons along (and your own bags, so you don’t have to buy them). But remember, make sure the coupon is worth using (see my previous article about couponing).

  7. If you are limited in what you can spend, you have to prioritize your groceries. Don’t buy chips and then realize that now you don’t have enough money to buy milk for your kids.

  8. Check the prices on items. Buying larger quantities does not always save you money.  A 3 pound bag of apples for $4.25 isn’t a better bargain when you can buy those same apples for $1.10 a pound in bulk.  This is often the case with shampoo and hair products as well.  When the smaller bottles go on sale, you’re often better off buying two 500 ml bottles for $2.99 each than a one litre bottle for $6.99.  Pay attention to the price and the size of the container, and do your math.

  9. Watch the prices on the display as your groceries are being scanned. Sometimes the prices are incorrect and scan higher than the price tag on the shelf.  If this happens, make a note of the item.  Once you’re done paying, go to customer service and point this out to them.  Tell them that the item was marked at $4.99 on the shelf, but it came up as $5.99 at the till.  You are then entitled to get that item for free!  Yes, free!  If the price at the till is higher than the price marked on the shelf, you can get that item for free in most stores, up to a value of $10.00.  If it’s over $10.00 (for example, it’s $12.99), you get $10.00 of the price, so you would pay $2.99 for that item.
    This is called the Scanning Code of Practice
    .  I’ve actually gotten quite a bit of free stuff doing this.  However, I’ve also been wrong because an item was put on the wrong shelf –now I always check the bar code on my item to make sure it matches the bar code on the price tag on the shelf before I take it to Customer Service.  (You can also do this at the till, but sometimes the cashier doesn’t know about this Code or there’s a long line up behind you and they have to wait while someone is sent to check the price, so I just always go to Customer Service because it’s quicker and doesn’t inconvenience anyone else.)
    I’ve also started taking pictures of the price tag on the shelf and just showing the picture to Customer Service.  (I’ve done this so often where I shop that they don’t even go and check the price anymore – they just look at my picture and then give me the discount.  So always check your receipt before you leave the store to ensure you haven’t been overcharged on anything. 

I hope these tips can help you save some money!

Article by freelance writer, Sharon Skwarchuk.

Meena’s Note: I’ve been considering using the Superstore Click and Collect where you order online and then just pick it up. I was hoping it would reduce impulse shopping and save me money, but when I was putting together my list I found it was even easier to add impulse items online, as it’s just a few clicks, no walking. I think if I allowed myself 1 treat food a week and that’s it, it may work. I think it will definitely save me time. Also I believe you can save a list; it would be great if I created a weekly list and just got those items every week. Much better than my haphazard shopping right now. 

How about you? Are you using the new pick up services? What tips do you have to save money at the store?

 

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