Monday, July 11, 2011

Stop Eating Your Nest Egg - Part 3

Saving Money on Groceries Without Couponing

I think that we can all agree that you can save an outrageous amount of money by couponing. But what if you just don't have the time, energy, or dedication to coupon?? Or more honestly, just have better things do with your time then clip coupons for hours each week and then match them to ads. Good news, you can still save 30-50% off your grocery bill. The average family spends around $120 a week on groceries. That's a pretty penny. What would you do with an extra $144 to $240 that you could earn by just shopping smarter and changing some habits? That's up to almost $2,800 a year to put away for retirement, use towards a down payment, pay off debt, or a vacation. Why eat away a nice vacay like that when you can just make some changes instead? Here are some wonderful ways to save money on groceries without couponing.

Follow the Ads

A major way to save money on groceries is to follow the ads, or at least follow a blog like I Heart Publix that will post ads for you. Blogs that post grocery ads will usually also mark items that are at a good "stocking up" price (we'll talk about stockpiling in the next section) and that will help you decide whether it's actually a deal or not. If it's not a deal, the best thing to do is to hold out and see if the price goes any lower. Once you start following your store's ad for a while you will start to recognize what the usual prices are for items yourself.

Sale items are a beautiful thing. Once you get a hang of what good prices look like, it is time to change some shopping habits. Start buying things only when they are on sale. "But what if I need this, right this second!!!" Well, try to keep things like that to minimum. Toilet paper or milk is understandable. Other items can usually wait. Do you absolutely have to make that exciting new recipe this week for $20 or can you wait a few weeks until you have all the ingredient for $10. See what I am saying?? By only buying things that are on sale you are saving a ton of money. Buy One, Get One (BOGOs) Free sales are a major lifesaver. You automatically are saving 50% with BOGOs.  You can stock an entire refrigerator and pantry with just a few weeks of BOGOs.


When I say "stockpile" I do not mean run out and buy 50 bottles of ketchup just because it was a good deal like the crazies on that stupid Extreme Couponing show do. When I say "stockpile", I mean buy just enough of an item to last your family 6 weeks. You should buy enough for 6 weeks because that is how long a typical sales cycle is.  In order to buy things only when they are on sale, you need to buy enough to last your family until they go on sale again. Yes, it is great to save some money but not if you're running out of all kinds of goodies. If you see a good price on something that you know you will use, buy enough to last you until it goes on sale again. That way, you won't be forced to go out and pay full price if you happen to run out. It may take you a few weeks to get your pantry stocked, but once you get started you will find that you have absolutely everything you need to make all kinds of meals all the time and you did it much cheaper than the old way.

Shop Smart

Unfortunately, there are just some things that do not go on BOGO. There's also items that go on "sale" but are never really a deal. Milk, meat, and produce all seem to be items that you will always pay a pretty standard price for. But don't worry, there's still some ways to save.
Produce - Try to not buy any produce at the actual grocery store unless you really know that that's the lowest price you can find. Many areas have produce buying clubs or co-ops where you pay a weekly price and you get a "share" of fresh, local produce. Prices at your local farmer's market or even that tent on the side of the road will always be cheaper (and alot of times yummier) than the produce at the supermarket.
Meat - From time to time you will find meat at a sensational price at the supermarket. Like around Thanksgiving you will find turkey's at .59 lb. or you will occasionally see chicken at .99lb. It just doesn't happen very often. Alot of times I noticed that the store that had the good sale on meat was never the store I frequented. Many times I had to make separate trips to another store just to get a certain deal on a particular item. I still have to do that. I have found that the best  consistent value on meat is usually at a Club store like Costco, BJ's or Sam's. We buy all the meat for the entire month in bulk and then meal-size portion it when we get home. We usually can get all the meat we need for an entire month for about $90 at Sam's. Not too shabby in my opinion.

By just making some changes to the way you shop for food you can save a ton of money. No clipping required. Personally, I do coupon and so I usually save 50-70% on groceries, but if you are a busy person with little patience, this may be the way to go. A little planning goes a long way. Watch those ads, buy only what's on sale, and keep all the essentials on hand all the time. Plan your meals by what's going to be on sale and eat by what's in season (because that's usually what's on sale). Easy peasy money-saving awesomeness!

Friday, July 1, 2011


If you are wondering why I haven't posted in ages, or why I never completed the "Stop Eating Your Nest Egg" series, it's because I thought my blog was deleted. I logged in one day and was given the message "Your Blog was Flagged for Removal". I wrote an angry letter but didn't think anything came of it.

Now that I see that we are up and running, I will making regular posts again. Yay!