Fine Tuning Your Grocery Store Trips to Save Money
As prices continue to rise, the only way to consistently find the best deals on food is aggressive comparison shopping. Chain stores raise and lower their prices, even on staples like milk and bread, on a weekly or daily schedule. As you prepare for your grocery shopping trip, don’t be afraid of visiting multiple stores. Gather the weekly circulars for any local stores and check the sales prices on items you need.
As you shop, jot down the prices of each item you purchase or keep your receipt. Making a simple spreadsheet or list with the location and current price of your most commonly purchased food items will help you distinguish patterns in the sales and determine who has the best prices on meats, staples and fresh produce.
Drop any stores that are out of the way and only offer a few items at a better price – the gas it takes to travel the extra distance cuts back on your savings. Plan each trip carefully with the aid of a map to ensure you aren’t driving around needlessly. Look for stores offering double or triple days where coupons are given extra value. A .50 coupon can quickly turn into a dollar or more off the item on the right day.
If you hit a store for a sale item and it’s sold out, get a rain check. When the item is restocked, you’ll be able to purchase it at the lowest price possible. Buy two or three if the item stores well and is a really good deal. Even if the item is only occasionally used in your home, buying multiples for a low price saves money over time.
Finally, look for in-store instant savings offers. Many packages of food come with peel off labels that offer an immediate coupon for their purchase. A more expensive brand of cheese or cereal may become cheaper when these handy tools are used.