10 Steps for Cutting Your Grocery Bill

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Posted on 05/27/2008

There are some necessities you have no control over. You need electricity. You need water. You need food. Often what you pay for those necessities is out of your hands. But that's not the case with groceries. Slashing your grocery bill takes a little time and a little work, but it can definitely pay off. Here are 10 steps for cutting your grocery bill.

1. Designate a shopping day. If you wait until the peanut butter runs out or the butter is gone to dictate your trips to the grocery store you will not be as successful at slashing your grocery bill. If you pick one day a week as your day for hitting up the grocery store you will cut back on unnecessary trips throughout the week and start getting control of your food spending.

2. Have a game plan. The day before your designated shopping day set aside a few minutes for planning. Use websites like All Recipes, iChef or Epicurious to plan meals for the following week. Try to select recipes that you already have many of the ingredients for already stocked in your kitchen. That way you're not spending a lot of cash on each meal. Keep the recipes simple unless you like spending your evenings in the kitchen.

3. Get the secret weapon. The secret weapon comes in the Sunday paper. To master the game you've got to clip coupons. You'll spend $1.50 or so on the paper, but you'll save much more with the coupons inside.

4. Review the ads. Study these like they're your college major. Keep an eye out for items that are free after rebates because nothing beats free. Just be sure you send in your paperwork to get your money back.

5. Stay organized. Use a small plastic filing case like this one from the Container Store. It's about the size of a wallet and will keep your coupons organized. Divide it into sections like "Cleaning" and "Snacks." Sort the coupons into each section.

6. Make a list of needs. These are the items that you must buy in order to make the recipes you've selected. Go through your coupons and see if anything matches up. Also include staples that you've run out of over the past week like milk and bread.

7. Figure out what you want. You already have your list of needs. Now, pull out coupons for items that you may want or be able to use in the near future.

8. Use leverage. Many grocery stores put lots of items on sale each week. With your coupons in hand, see if anything you have a coupon for is on sale. This will give you an even better bargain by leveraging your coupons on items that are on sale. If it's not on sale this week, keep checking. Chances are it will go on sale and then you'll be ready.

9. Check store policies. Many grocery stores accept competitors' coupons or they double the value of coupons. Call around and see who has the best policy.

10. Refuse to pay full price. Once you do that your savings will jump significantly. You won't go hungry and you'll still get great items. You'll just pay a lot less for them.

By Alison Storm

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