Ways to Save at the Supermarket

Education, Finance, Home & Family
on November 12, 2000

Compare, weigh, and watchif you concentrate on these three basic shopping strategies, you can keep your grocery bills in check, and take savings to new heights. Here are 12 ways to do that:

  1. Weigh all produce, not just loose items. Bags of apples, packaged strawberries, and heads of lettuce can differ in weight, even though they’re supposed to weigh the same and sell at the same price.
  2. Know prices. This is the only way you will really know if you are getting a deal.
  3. Buy marked-down meat. Find out when your store routinely makes markdowns, follow behind them, stock up, and freeze it.
  4. Ask for a rain check if an advertised sale item is out of stock.
  5. Don’t buy items you can make yourself, such as chocolate milk, marinades, and grated cheese. It’s usually cheaper if you do it yourself.
  6. Plan meals around those store specials where you got such a great deal.
  7. Make comparisons based on price per ounce or per unit. Big differences are possible. At some stores you may need to consult your calculator, but others post unit prices on the shelves.
  8. Watch for volume discounts. Stock up on items you use a lotpaper towels, soft drinks, toilet paper, dog food, canned goods.
  9. Stay away from impulse buys. Stick to your list.
  10. Coupon shop aggressively, using coupons from as many sources as possible. Being organized can mean big savings, particularly if you can apply a coupon to a sale item.
  11. Always be on the lookout for marked-down items like holiday candy, paper goods, or torn bags of dog food or charcoal.
  12. Use store brands. They are almost always cheaper, and most stores guarantee a full refund if you don’t like them. There’s nothing to lose, except for a return trip to the store. But make sure you compare the prices, because national brands sometimes will surprise you with special promotions and coupons.