Slashing Your Grocery Bill

grocery billHas your budget been harder to stick to lately? Does your grocery bill seem to get higher with each passing week? I feel your pain. Grocery prices seem to be mimicking gas prices with their volatility. I’ve got a few common sense ways for you to save money every week at the grocery store without becoming one of those crazy coupon obsessed people you see on TV. And while these may not be life changing ideas they are good grocery store rules to remember.

 

1. Where you shop makes all the difference. If you have an Aldi anywhere near you give it a try. It is definitely a different shopping experience. You don’t have access to all the name brands or anywhere near the selection of items that one of the major grocery stores has but it is totally worth it. The more I shop at Aldi the more I love shopping in a smaller store. While their selection may be more limited, I don’t have to wade through 6 types of one thing and do the math to figure out the best deal. Aldi just has the best price on pretty much everything and often by a substantial margin. I’m out of there quicker and with more cash in my wallet. Double win.

If you don’t have an Aldi look for a secondhand food store in your area. I used to shop at one in college that carried the grocery store rejects including foods with dented up packaging. The meat kind of scared me but a lot of the other stuff was perfectly edible.

2. Make a list and stick to it. Plan out your meals ahead of time and you’ll definitely save money. Before I started living by this rule we had to throw out groceries that went bad all the time. We bought stuff that looked good as we walked down the aisles but had no idea when we were going to eat it. If you schedule your meals before the week starts you’ll avoid this conundrum and cease wasting money AND food. And the amount of food that we waste as American’s is alarming.

3. Allow room in your cart for deep discount items, especially non perishable’s. I realize that I am kind of breaking rule number two here but it’s broken in the name of savings, not impulse. For example, you can often buy canned goods at a ridiculously low fare before they jump back up to their regular price. I might or might not be known for coming home with multiple boxes of Cheez-it’s but, when they are buy one get one free it’s a no-brainer.

4. Clean out your pantry. Every few months you should look to see what might be sitting around unused in your pantry. You might get a few meals out of the stuff that lurks in the shadows. If you are wondering why it’s there and not sure when you might use it give it away to a local food shelter.

These steps are key to fighting back against the grocery bill rise that we are all feeling right now. This might take a bit more effort but it will definitely be worth it when you see your savings. And if you happen to be a coupon nut, more power to you!

13 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    February 02, 2013

    Love, love, love Aldi! I discovered them several years ago and have been a fan ever since. Unfortunately, my family is a slave to name brands, but I just use the products without letting them know where I bought them, and they never know the difference. The quality has always been great, and so are the savings.

    Reply

    • Avatar
      February 04, 2013

      Sharri,

      You are so right about Aldi. I’ve also noticed that in the past couple of months their selection has gotten much better. They have a lot more organic and local choices which has made their produce section especially nice. Have you seen that sort of change at your store?

      Reply

    • Avatar

      Have you tried the Roseanne method of buying “name brand” foods yet? :D

      Reply

      • Avatar
        May 02, 2013

        Hah. Thanks for sharing Kevin! What a good way to fool your kids.

        Reply

  2. Avatar
    February 09, 2013

    Aldi has been around the Chicago suburbs for years. It’s a great store. I save $100 per year just by buying milk there. We go through 4 to 5 gallans a week, and theyy are so much cheaper. I ususally stop there for flowers too. They’re $3.99 for a small arrangement of flowers. Great place and I love the people that work there – very friendly!

    Reply

    • Avatar
      February 11, 2013

      Nancy,

      I totally agree. I wasn’t sure if it was just my Aldi or if all their stores are like that but the folks that work there are incredibly helpful and hard working. It is so nice to enjoy the customer service as well as the great prices!

      And that is a lot of milk to go through in a week! Must be a growing family.

      Reply

  3. Avatar
    February 16, 2013

    The closest Aldi’s to us is about 30 minutes away. I try to make it there every two weeks and stock up. It’s definitely worth the trip.

    I’ve noticed some of the sales at bigger stores tempt me to buy more than I need because it’s such a good deal. Often these are the items that either expire or I give to the food bank before they expire. It’s only a good deal if it’s a product I use freqently.

    Great post!

    Reply

    • Avatar
      February 19, 2013

      I concur Jackie. My wife and I have actually tried to make one or two trips a week and buy less each time. It forces us to eat what we have and waste less. If our local Aldi was 30 minutes away I would definitely try to plan my meals better and go less often. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

  4. Avatar

    Aldi opened here a few years ago. i make my menu/grocery list for the week and always hit Aldi first. If I can’t get what i need there, I’ll get it at Publix. I find Aldis dairy prices very low and so far have not been disappointed with anything i ‘ve gotten there.Even though you can’t hand pick the produce, broccoli, lettuce onions etc all a decent price and fresh chicken tenders!!!!…I could go on. :) My husband likes the Thin Wheats better than Wheat Thins!I I am glad they are so close. It makes a big difference in the amount spent!

    Reply

  5. Avatar
    April 02, 2013

    Well done Karen. Some folks just purchase the name brand and never even try the store brand option. I agree with your husband, oftentimes the store brand is just as good or better! My buddy Len Penzo did multiple taste tests that you can read about on his website. http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id771-my-store-brand-vs-name-brand-blind-taste-test-experiment.html

    Reply

  6. Avatar

    I learned the myth of the name brand product as a child, and I almost always buy generics. There’s not an Aldi anywhere near me, but if there were I likely wouldn’t shop it. Unfortunately in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Aldi stores that I shopped at carried nothing but dinted cans, reject and damaged products from other stores, and horrible looking vegetables and meats. Hard to get that stigma out of my mind. I went into one several months ago when I was in another town, and I’m glad to see that the quality of the products hve increased, but the prices didn’t seem to be any different from WalMart.

    I do all of my thrifty shopping first at Save-A-Lot, and then after that I’ll catch sales at Kroger or WalMart, and get them to price match any sales that are happening at the Target, Meijer or Food Lion stores in another town.

    Reply

  7. Avatar
    May 02, 2013

    Sounds like you do your homework and save on your groceries Kevin. That is what matters most. I didn’t set foot in an Aldi until about 3 or 4 years ago. Even since then they’ve really stepped up their game. Plus, their customer service is awesome, which I always appreciate.

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