Even the thought of spending a lot of time
tracking grocery prices from store to store gives me a headache. I
know a lot of people who keep detailed notes of every grocery item
they regularly purchase and routinely note the price fluctuations at
the grocery stores they frequent.
I used to not pay attention to grocery prices
much at all. I have never been one to spend excessively, and have
always been pretty good about only getting what's on my shopping
list (a necessity!), but it took me awhile to realize that I could
save some extra money if I started paying a little more attention to
grocery price variations.
I recognize the fact that some people need to
reduce their monthly bills as much as possible, and how necessary it
is for some to spend as little as possible on groceries, especially
if you have a lot of mouths to feed. Although we have no money
leftover at the end of the month, so to speak, I never tried to
drastically reduce our grocery bill until quite by accident I
discovered that if I spent less on groceries, I would have more
money to spend on other things! That's when I really started to
change my ways. You'll find that my approach to being frugal-minded
is not as drastic as some, but I consider myself to be a person who
saves money when I can, and have made it a personal challenge to not
spend money I don't have to. If you follow my advice, you will
definitely see a reduction in your grocery bill.
Like I mentioned previously, I have always
made a list before going to the grocery store. Every Saturday or
Sunday I sit down and figure out what to serve for dinner every
night for the next week. This list also includes snack ideas and
lunch menus for my daughter. Every Wednesday I glance through the
coupons in the local newspaper and make a mental note of what's on
sale and where. Remember, just because something's on sale doesn't
mean you need it. Stick only to things you would have bought anyway.
If I notice chicken, hamburger, or pork chops are on sale, for
example, I might alter my menu to include one of these items.
I decide which store to shop at based on my
findings in the advertisements. I usually don't go to more than one
store unless one store is having a particularly good deal not found
anywhere else. The grocery stores in our area are usually pretty
competitive with each other; consequently, their sale prices are
I have never been one to stock up much, due to
limited freezer and pantry space, but I recently realized the value
of buying a lot of one item on sale. I usually avoid our
neighborhood market because it is a small store and often
overpriced, but they finally caught on to the idea of having
specials to draw people in. One day I noticed they had 5-lb. chubs
of lean hamburger on sale for .69 a pound! I couldn't believe it. I
initially bought 2 chubs, and then a few days later couldn't resist
going back to get 2 more. I divided them into 1 lb. portions (20 lb.
altogether!), wrapped them in foil, and stuck them in the freezer. I
was psyched. That same weekend I found an unbelievable deal on pork
chops and chicken breasts at another grocery store. I bought several
packages of those also. I spent probably $40 to $50 on meat that
week, but it lasted for months! I was hooked...I knew I had to start
stocking up more when I could. It didn't make sense not to. My
freezer was packed to overflowing.
Just this last week I was lamenting the .89
per can price of tuna and wishing I had stocked up more than I had.
Tonight on my way home from dropping off my daughter at her bible
class, I stopped at the neighborhood market to get some pretzels (1
1/2 pounds for $1.29!) and just happened to notice their Starkist
tuna was .59 per can with no limit! I couldn't believe my luck and
stocked up again. I also bought another bag of pretzels because my
husband and daughter are trying to wean themselves from Doritos,
which I'm trying to help with in any way I can!
Anyway, you get the idea. You may not see big
changes at first, but if you start stocking up here and there, you
will see your grocery bills getting lower and lower. You may find
you start spending that little bit of extra money somewhere else,
but at least you have the choice to decide where you want that money
to go. Don't feel like you have to spend a lot of money on
groceries--I'm living proof that you don't have to!
published at http://www.suite101.com.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of
What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick
easy dinner ideas. For recipes, tips to organize your home, home
decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative
Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com