Monday, November 14, 2011

dot cuts back {grocery shopping 101}

With the Holiday season approaching, I think a lot of people are considering ways to save some dough.  I read an article in Real Simple's November issue about the topic, but realized it's not much help since I already don't do what it suggested to cut back on ((daily lattes, manicures, house keeping services and more)).  So I asked some blog friends to share their best money saving strategies and here with are with the first day of "dot cuts back." 
Hey everyone!
I'm Alli from the blog, Life on LeRoy.  When Beth asked me if I would be interested in guest posting about saving money I was ecstatic.  I thought all night about what I wanted to write about and thought about my personal life and what I try to save money on and then groceries popped into my head.  I certainly don't have all the tips and tricks down to save money while grocery shopping but I've got some good advice I'd like to share with you.  Please keep in mind these are just my ideas and what I personally do.  They may not work for everyone, but I hope you give them a try.  With the holidays coming up there's no better time to learn some money saving tips!
Plan your meals
Make a list before you go to the grocery store.  Before I go to the grocery store each week I plan the meals for the week so I know exactly what I need to buy.  I've found that when I don't make a list I end up spending and extra $20-$30 on items I don't really need.  
Stock up on sale items
If you know your family likes a certain food or drink and it's on sale; stock up!  For instance, our little man loves apple juice so whenever the apple juice is on sale, I buy a bunch because I know he's going to drink it and it will not go to waste.  Although you may be spending more money up front, you'll be saving in the long run.
Buy generic
I'm a huge believer in generic brands! For a long time, I never bought generic brands because I thought people would think I couldn't afford the 'real' stuff.  The truth is, I can afford the 'real' stuff, I'm just smart enough to know that in most cases it's the exact same thing as the name brand!  I really recommened buying generic items such as; cereal, canned items, frozen items and snacks such as crackers or chips.  I dare you to compare ;-)
Don't shop hungry
I'm so guilty of doing this way too often.  I get done with work, run to the grocery store on an empty stomach and buy a bunch of stuff I don't need...naughty!  Try going to the grocery store after you've eaten a meal; it's amazing how much less cravings you'll have and less unnecessary items you'll throw into your cart.
Look up, look down
Store managers are smart, they put all the name brand, most expensive items at eye level so they're the first things you see.  Don't be fooled!  Look up and look down for the less expensive and generic brands. 
Don't buy personal items at the grocery store
Never, never, never!! Again, I'm not going to lie, I have bought an occasional box of tampons at the grocery store because we were in the middle of a blizzard and I didn't want to make one more stop.  But...in most cases this is a big no, no because you will spend double even tripple what you normally would spend.  Stick to the food items.
Think frozen, canned, or dried.
Next time you're gathering ingredients for a recipe, try using frozen, canned, or dried foods. They may be less expensive than fresh, yet are equally nutritious. Produce is typically frozen, canned, or dried at the peak of ripeness, when nutrients are plentiful. Fish and poultry are often flash-frozen to minimize freezer damage and retain freshness.
I hope these few tips get you motivated to start looking into ways to save money at the grocery store.  There are many ways to save money while buying groceries, these are just a few to get you started.  Again, they're not perfect, they're just what I personally do and I think they work!
Happy Holidays everyone!
Alli
((photo credits: weheartit.com))

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