Save Money Grocery Shopping
I am literally SO excited about this post because I know how much of an impact it can have on your life. No matter what stage of life you are in, it is important to know how to get the most bang for your buck. It doesn’t matter if you have $5, $5,000, or $5,000,000 in your bank account, knowing how to save money at the grocery store means you can make your hard earned money work for you. Using this method of grocery shopping can literally save you thousands of dollars a year. That is thousands of dollars you can put towards experiences for you and your loved ones, investing in your business or retirement, or using it for others. It’s up to you. Shopping this way has allowed me to entertain more friends, help others in need and have money to invest in pet projects.
For those of you wondering, no, I’m not talking about couponing. Though I do use the occasional coupon, it is not my primary strategy for saving money at the grocery store. I actual learned this method of grocery shopping from my aunt that was visiting us last month. We were talking about entertaining and food shopping, and she mentioned that one of the reasons that she and my uncle are able to entertain so often is because she has maximum prices she will pay for just about everything memorized. So of course, I quizzed her. She really did. She knows when she should just buy what she needs and when she should stock up on items. It blew my mind.
So naturally, me being me, I wanted to give this a go to see if I could save us anymore money. I had already majorly overhauled the way we grocery shop in an attempt to save us more money for investing and family stuff, but I wasn't nearly as dialed in as my aunt. I wanted to be able to compare prices and specials in one location, instead of having to visit each store or website. Fortunately, there is a website and app called Flipp that allows you to do just that!
Flipp allows you to easily seem all of your favorite supermarket circulars in one convenient location. All you have to do is download the app or visit their website, create an account and start browsing. You can select you favorite stores and view the updated circulars each week, in one easy to see spot. Now, this process did take me several weeks to fully understand. Not because it’s difficult, but more to understand what is truly a good deal, and what is not. Keeping an eye on the circulars for a month will allow you to get a good idea of what constitutes a good deal for something like avocados, verses salmon. Remember from our 4 Tips for How To Grocery Shop post, don’t be fooled by clever advertising.
I also started keeping a list to help me understand what was a good deal, and what was not. The list had several items that I regularly buy over the course of a month. Keeping track of these items, their normal prices and their sale prices helped me learn when to stock up on something and when to just buy what I needed. The list also helped me see when I was paying too much for something. It was shocking how differently items were priced at the different stores. It pains me to think how much money I've thrown away over the years because I didn't pay attention to these sorts of things.
Know When to Buy
When you start doing this, it's important to start paying attention to price per pound and/or price per ounce. You can do the math relatively quickly on your phone, even when you're at the grocery store. If I see something while I'm in a store and I'm not sure if it is a good deal, I'll often pull out my phone to do the math or check the price at another store. It takes seconds, and saves me money. The other day I was at the grocery store picking up some alcohol for a gathering we were hosting. When I was looking at the beer selection, I noticed that the 12-pack of Stella was on sale for $13.99 and the 18-pack was $23.99. We were having a good number of people over so I immediately reached for the 18-pack, but then I stopped to do the math because the prices seemed off to me. This is what I noticed when I stopped to do the math,
$13.99/12 beers = $1.17 per bottle
$23.99/18 beers = $1.33 per bottle
After running the numbers, it made more sense to buy two 12-packs verses one 18 pack. Buying two 12-packs allowed me to get six more beers than in the 18-pack and still pay less per bottle. It was a no brainers once I did the math. Sometimes, you'll save money by buying the version that comes with more -- more cans, more food, etc. However, that is not always the case. You would think that it would be cheaper to buy the 18-pack verses the 12-pack, but after taking a few moments to do the math, you can see that it is not always the case. If I'm the goal is to get more with my money, then buying two of the smaller quantity is the better deal, at least in this case.
Don't Be Fooled
If you would like to see me break down my process a little bit more, then check out the video below. In the video, I show you how to select your favorite circulars, and compare a special one of the stores is running so you can see how I make my decision of where to buy.
Now, I know some of you will say that you can't cut down on your food bill because of x, y or z - you have dietary restrictions, food allergies, buy organic, etc. However, as a person that eats a primarily gluten free diet, I can tell you that I use this method and am able to save me and my family hundreds of dollars a month, thousands of dollars a year. Shopping this way, and knowing when to stock up on things like protein, pantry staples and cleaning supplies can give you the wriggle room in your budget to buy more organic produce or those gluten free snacks. This method really can make a difference for everyone.
Did you learn something new? Let me know in the comments below if you're interested in me sharing a template for the spreadsheet I use to keep track of prices. You can absolutely save yourself hundred of dollars a month and thousands of dollars a year just by being more aware of the way your shop. I wish I would have known about this when I was in college because it would have meant that I could have done more. Instead of over-spending on food, I could have invested in more experiences with my friends and family.
I'd love to hear from you guys! What is the best deal you've found? How did you know it was a great deal? Share in the comments below. Also, be sure to share this post with your buddy that is stuck at home on Friday nigh because they don't have the money to go out with you. Maybe this will help them!