Sheryl Lozicki is a Registered Dietitian at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and the Director of Nutrition and Wellness. All of us like to save money when we go grocery shopping, but most of us stumble upon the savings rather than intentionally shopping based on these tips.
1. Plan your purchases. Spend 30 minutes the night before you go grocery shopping by writing out your menu plan for the week. Inventory your kitchen and determine what really needs to make the list. Complete your grocery list and source any coupons you’ve saved. Stick to your list. A random shopping trip is more apt to result in more money spent, missing items and a return trip later in the week for the missing items, plus more.
2. Access coupons and join the Club. These aren’t just limited to the mail, newspapers, or in store flyers anymore. Check out online coupon sources like Coupons.com, RedPlum.com and Smartsource.com. Like your favorite brands on Facebook to get media coupons. Choose apps like Grocery Pal, Coupon Sherpa and Yowza that have bar code coupons you can use in the checkout lane. Register for the grocery store discount card for in-store savings or money off at the pump.
3. Buy in Bulk.
· Purchase whole stalks of celery, bunches of carrots, peppers, broccoli and melon. Chopping, slicing and bagging for later use is much cheaper and ultimately fresher.
· Purchase whole heads of lettuce, romaine and greens rather than buying it already cleaned and bagged. It has a longer shelf life, and it tastes crisper.
· Whole chickens or bone in poultry and meat is cheaper than precut and trimmed.
· The same goes for snacks and treats. Buying individual bags of chips, cookies or nuts costs more. You often create a healthier portion when you measure and bag these items yourself.
4. Make It Yourself. Ready-made foods oftentimes cost up to 40 percent more than making it yourself. This includes rotisserie chickens, shish-kabob, marinades, sauces and baked goods. Preparing juice from a frozen 100 percent concentrate is 60 percent cheaper than buying it already-made, for the same nutrition.
5. Never shop hungry. This is not an old wives' tale, and it applies to non-food items, too! Shopping hungry increases your purchases of everything from groceries, to clothes and kitchen utensils.
6. Separate non-food items. Oftentimes toilet paper, beauty products, liquor and dog or cat food are cheaper at Walmart, Target and Costco.
7. Skip the snack aisle. Soda, chips, crackers and cookies add no nutritional value to your diet and cost a lot.
8. Shop high and low. Brands pay for eye level product placement. Equally nutritious, but lower cost items can be found outside of eye level.
9. Shop store brands. The store's brand program is often the cheapest and equal in quality and nutrition.
10. Freeze your excess. We often have fruit on the verge of going bad or leftovers that no one wants to eat for a second day in a row. Rather than tossing these, freeze them and enjoy later in a smoothie or as a leftover at a later date.
11. An egg is an egg, flour is flour and sugar is sugar. Raw ingredients vary little in their nutritional content, so go for value. Buy the extra large eggs and don’t worry if the sugar was brought in by stage-coach or the flour has a gold medal on the package.
12. Avoid the in-store coffee house. Enjoy your own cup of freshly brewed coffee while you put away the groceries.
We hope these tips bring you better health and at least a little wealth!