Tips to Help You Save Thousands Each Year at the Supermarket
Shop the bulk bins. Certain items, such as beans, pasta, grains and spices, are significantly cheaper if purchased from the bulk bins rather than already packaged.
Shop at farmer’s markets. Farmer’s markets are cheaper than supermarkets when fruits and vegetables are in season, as much as 25 percent less. You can always buy fruits and vegetables at a discount here and freeze them for later use.
Beauty and Health Products. Discount stores, such as Walmart and Target, sell beauty and health products for less than supermarkets. Drugstores, such as Walgreens and CVS, tend to sell beauty and health products for more than discount stores and supermarkets. You might find beauty products selling at a discount online at Beauty.com or Drugstore.com.
Paper products. The big warehouse stores such as Sam’s Club and Costco sell paper products for less than supermarkets, and you save even more if you buy them in bulk. Another place to look for bargains on paper products are the dollar stores.
Buy generic rather than store brands. Generic and store-brand products are often processed at the same plants as name brand products, but they are much cheaper because they aren't advertised, usually about 30 percent cheaper. Research has proven time and again that the quality and taste of generic or store brand food is equal or superior to the name brands. A significant portion of the price you pay for a name brand product is to cover the high cost of advertising it in the various media. This is why name brand breakfast cereals cost $1 or $2 more than the generic brand and why Tylenol or Bayer pain relievers cost $3 or $4 more than the generic brand that isn't advertised. Stop paying for all those television commercials and print ads and you will save more than $500 per year.
Consumer Reports did a study and found out that generic brands are of the same quality as name brand products, so why not buy generic and save? Store brand milk costs about $1.50 less than the name brands; generic laundry detergent usually costs $3 less; generic soda pop costs about $1 less; and bread is also about $1 cheaper. You could save $6.50 on just these four products. Consumer Reports found that the average person could save more than $30 per grocery trip just by buying generic. That's $120 per month right there, but you can save much more if you get rid of your loyalty to the nationally advertised brands.
Ways to Save Money
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Don't eat meat every night. Fixing vegetarian casseroles and such several times a week can save the typical family of four about $3.00 per meal or $15.00 per week or about $800 a year. Vegetarian-based casseroles, stews, soups, bean / rice dishes, and omelets are good substitutes for meat-based meals.
Buy day-old bread. The bread at the day-old bakery is almost as good as the bread in the supermarket, yet it is half the price of fresh. Visit a day-old bakery and stock up on bread and other products you can freeze and use later. How much you can save depends on how much bread you consume.
Use more nonfat dry milk. Nonfat dry milk is cheaper than regular milk. Use it in place of or combine it with regular milk to reduce the cost of your overall milk consumption. Your savings will be significant if your family consumes a lot of milk each week.
Leave the kids at home. Caving in to pressure from crying children begging for certain cereals, snacks and toys adds, on average, $6 to $20 to the weekly grocery bill. Leave them at home and buy only what your family really needs.
Buy meat and chicken when it’s on sale. Stock up on chicken and beef when they go on sale every few weeks. Chicken usually drops in price by 50 percent when it’s on sale, and beef about 20 percent. Buy meat and chicken when its on sale and freeze for later use. Save even more by purchasing these products in the family-size packaging or bulk at a wholesale or large discount store such as Costco. Both poultry and meats are up to 40 percent cheaper when purchased frozen rather than fresh.
Seafood. Frozen seafood can cost up to 40 percent less than fresh seafood. Most people aren’t aware that most seafood has been frozen sometime in its life since fishermen freeze it immediately after the catch, so there is no reason to pay more for fresh seafood. Canned tuna and salmon cost less than fresh seafood. Whenever seafood goes on sale, it’s a good idea to buy a lot of it and store in the freezer.
Eat beans and eggs more often. If you prepared a vegetarian meal twice a week instead of preparing meat, poultry or seafood, you could save about $750 per year. Beans and rice are very inexpensive, and a tasty Tex-mex meal or a spicy bean soup is a very inexpensive dinner twice a week. The average egg costs 15 cents.