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grocery shopping
power of persuasion
local grocery store
rule of thumb
american economy
frugality
coffee shop
strong hand
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Grocery Shopping: How To Save Money And Stay On Budget
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If you are like me, a trip to a local grocery store has your heart racing and pocketbook groaning. With prices rising every week (or so it seems) and the American economy in a sluggish almost stand-still state, economy and budgets have now become the guide lines for spending and savings. Our dollars - precious as they are - must go farther for us while our income stays the same. Grocery store shopping trips, gas station stops, and yes, even our beloved coffee shop visits, are coming under the strong hand of Frugality and must adhere to the higher powers of the budget.

Dreary as grocery shopping is at times, there is a way in which you can buy what you need yet and stay in your budget. True, it takes work, discipline, effort and time, but the tips that EVERY person can do (yes, that means you!!) will help you in the long run to save money, stay on budget, and maybe even come away with an extra $20 in your pocket or even better, free items in your grocery bag! Here are some things that have helped our household save money and I hope that in sharing them with you, they will also help you.

  • NEEDS vs. wants

This one can be a tricky and tough one because we can talk ourselves into JUST about anything (the power of persuasion) and if you've not had to experience living on a budget before it might take you a few months to understand that discipline takes work. First things first - make a grocery list! Try to buy what you need for the entire month (non-perishables) by planning out meals and in stocking your pantry (save your weekly grocery trips to buying ONLY perishable things such as fresh fruit/veggies, dairy, etc...).

Before you head to the store, double check the items on your list and see if you've written down your NEEDS or your wants. If there is anything that is a want and you can do without it, scratch it off. A good rule of thumb is that if you can do without it for 1 - 3 months, it's most likely a want not a need. When you get to the store - STICK TO YOUR LIST!! Those "extra" items you had not planned on buying might seem like only a "few dollars" but when you check out, it will be more than you bargained for. Take it from someone who made this mistake once and was short of our grocery budget by about $30.00. Ouch!

  • Coupons

You're heard it said, "a penny saved is a penny earned" and no better way to show it then at your grocery store using coupons! Yes, the no-shame, old fashion way of 'clip and save' is still hip to do at your local store ( and if you are tech savvy enough, your cellphone may also some in handy with the new and always improving, barcode scan app). The easiest way to make coupons work for you is by purchasing weekly or monthly newspapers or via a coupon company.

If you choose weekly, these coupons can be found in most Sunday editions of the newspapers. So, as Sunday comes around, head to a local store to pick up however many newspapers are carrying coupons. This costs me, on average, about $7 per week. However, the savings from these papers last up to an average of 3 months before expiring and each week I'm able to get double (or even triple) back from what I spent buying the papers!

Couponing has increased significantly since 2008 when our economy began its tumultuous downfall. Since the economy has hit us so hard, the manufactures have realized that the general public is cutting costs and buying less in order to live on what they earn. Because they are seeing the decline in money movement, they have realized that couponing is an effect way to get customers to buy their products! Using wisdom, discipline, and coupons, a person can still buy what they NEED and stay within their budget. Be sure to check out store such as Safeway which have a coupon in their weekly ads that allow you to double up to 4 manufacture coupons - it's a great way to make your dollars stretch and it feels oh-so-good saving money too! :) Extreme couponing is what this method is called and it is an effective way of grocery shopping.

  • Check the sale papers, clearance racks, and discounted items in-store

Before you head out to shop off your list to buy your wants not needs, be sure to sit down and check the weekly ad papers either via hardcopy form or on the internet to see what is on sale. As you look, cross-examine what is on sale for what you are looking to buy. Also, check your coupons. Most often, the stores will run sales on items that have recently had a coupon. Stores like RiteAid or Walgreens are really good about printing in their ads their sales, plus the price of a manufacture's coupon and the what the total savings would be. Line up what you will buy at what store, setting aside your coupons per store and sticking to your list!

Secondly, when you get to the store, before ANYTHING gets into your cart, find the discounted/clearance/sale section (usually on a rack in the front or back of store) and see if there is anything on your list that you can buy and save money. Most often, I will find a needed item PLUS I'll have a coupon for that item that I'll use at the checkout and my savings are significant! For example. This past week Safeway was discounting some of the Starbucks Via Coffee packets by 50%. In addition, I also had a coupon of $2 off coupons from my weekly newspapers. My total for each Starbucks Via coffee pack was ONLY $1.59!!!! That's a grand total of $6.00 savings on just ONE packet! Since I bought two packets at this price, I saved $12.00 in one shopping trip.

See what I mean by saving?! If you can practice discipline in waiting for items to go on sale and if you stay organized to keep coupons in line w/ your shopping needs, you can make your money work for YOU instead of the other way around and in so doing, feel good about taking care of yourself and/or your household in being a frugal, wise grocery shopper and in saving more money.

As a wife to a wonderful man and full-time mom to a busy 7 month old, I have to practice good spending habits to stay on budget. I remind myself continually that by practicing these tips, I am able to buy food for my baby, keep my husband healthy and happy (the way to a man is through his stomach, they say!), and maybe even squeeze out a little extra for a date night. When you can spend without guilt and know that you are wise when you do spend, then itcan makes your home, your marriage (if you are married), and your life all that much more richer. And as we know, peace, harmony, and respect in the home is something you can't put a price on but worthy working for every day of our lives.


Street Talk

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