Top Ten Grocery Saving Tips From the Expert (My Wife)

by Joe Plemon on November 24, 2009

Halloween 1983 Jeremy, Josh, Jonathan and Jaime Plemon in homemade outfits

Halloween 1983 Jeremy, Josh, Jonathan and Jaime Plemon in homemade outfits

My wife is a remarkable homemaker; we could never have raised four children on a single income without her amazing skills and creativity. She was our family barber, the seamstress who patched the knees of torn jeans and the original creator of repurposing ideas, such as the homemade Halloween costumes (robot outfits made from egg cartons can look awesome when done right…see photo) and kept us all well fed. Because I consider Janice to be not only a master cook, but an expert in grocery shopping frugality, I asked her to pen her top ten grocery saving tips. These are from her:

  1. Use the store ads to learn what their in-store bargains are for the week. Plan a simple menu based on these sale items.

  2. Make a shopping list from this menu and stick to it.

  3. Avoid junk food. It is expensive and bad for your health.

  4. Stock up on sale items you know you will use.

  5. Shop the perimeter of the store. Stick to basics. Buy fresh meats, fruits and vegetables instead of the more expensive prepackaged foods. Don’t trade quality for convenience.

  6. Use coupons. Newspaper coupons often coincide with in-store specials. Shop the stores that offer double coupon values.

  7. Never buy items simply because they are on sale or because of coupons. A bargain is not a bargain if you don’t need it or use it.

  8. Check the price per ounce costs. You can often get a better deal with two smaller containers instead of the large “economy" size.

  9. Buy fresh foods in season. Visit the farmer’s market for good foods at good prices. You can support the local economy and hopefully avoid the shipping surcharges of grocery store foods.

  10. Make school lunches instead of purchasing them. Because our kids detested cafeteria food, they readily ate the lunches Janice prepared for them. She could monitor what they ate as well as save money. But make sure the lunches are indeed homemade and not the prepackaged expensive ones. When you consider four children eating five meals a week, our savings from this tip alone were substantial.

Bonus Tip

Use cash from your “grocery" envelope. This requires a bit of trial and error because most people don’t really know how much they spend on groceries in a month. But give it a try. Put what you think you spend in an envelope and purchase your groceries from that envelope throughout the month. When the envelope is empty, you will know exactly how much you spent. We have done this every month for years and never have to worry about overspending. Try it. It works.

For more great grocery shopping tips, check 10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries at Canadian Finance Blog.

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