Cutting grocery bills easily by 33%

I have always been frugal and specifically in regards to my grocery shopping. I was talking with a friend about it (recently unemployed friend). He found it of value and asked me to post it. I was slightly surprised because I thought more people did this. I guess not.

The steps are simple.
1. Plan you meals based on sales fliers.

We plan our meals for the week after the sales fliers come out on Thursday (also repeated in the Sunday paper here). Based on the items (especially meat) that are on sale, we match up the sale items to our known recipes.

2. Clip coupons.

It is a simple thing but works. In Georgia, both Publix and Kroger will double any coupon under 50 cents. Matched against the sales fliers we can cut prices by over 75%. It does take discipline to stay ahead of the coupon pile and use them before they expire. We have kids, they like to cut out things. If you do not get the Sunday paper, get it. This pays for itself. If not you can use on-line sites and preprinted coupons. This is less tactile and for some reason that has kept me from totally buying in. I have heard great things about CouponMom.com but I believe they will match your grocery list to coupons for you (not sure about doubling here).

It is also important to know whether or not your store will let you buy one in a buy 1-get-1 deal. Some stores simply discount by 50% and others require that you buy two by making the second item 0.00. Store and Manufacturers coupons are different and can be used together to maximize discounts.

3. Stock Up

When you get a good price on a non-perishable item. Get enough to make it to the next sale. I have found this to be about 3 months but it varies by items.

4. Shop by Store

WARNING: Some simple match may be required.

Most neighborhoods have more than one Grocery store. Know what is on sale at each and plan accordingly. I usually do not have to jump from one to the other. If you plan you can get 3-4 meals from one and 3-4 from the other giving you the option to shop when it is convenient.

It is important to know the approximate price of items in different stores. Target and Walmart (especially the super-stores) usually beat the store prices on many of the non-perishables. These do not need to be bought each week (hence non-perishable) so plan to stock up. These stores also take coupons (but do not double).

Warehouse clubs are great for the daily items (per towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies) but perishables need to be bought with caution (unless you want to eat chicken parts for one month straight). Make sure the membership is worth it. Are you really going to save $45?

If you are still not quite sure it is worth it. I will give you our last Grocery bills. Now you have to remember that based on different purchases in other stores we manage what we actually buy from the grocery store.

69.30 savings 35.39 or 33.8%
89.25 savings 38.24 or 30.0%

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