This is a previous post from April 20, 2015, but I thought it was appropriate to share this again.
We used to do “extreme” couponing in our household, but after moving to Texas, we stopped. It wasn’t as convenient to coupon because many of the stores we frequented either weren’t there (Rite-Aid), or they were too far of a drive to make it worthwhile (Target).
We had to adapt to our new city and over the course of living in a more rural area, we have since become “smarter” shoppers. Although I miss the thrill of getting the absolute best deal on things, by following the tips I’m sharing below feels like it’s “good enough.”
In fact, now that we’re in “civilization,” I continue to follow the same steps I’m going to share with you today.
In grocery stores, shop the perimeter.
Grocery stores like HEB, Kroger, Food Lion, Martin’s, insert your local grocery store name. Typically the perimeter of the grocery store includes produce, meats, and dairy. I don’t have a price limit on fruits and vegetables, but if it’s on sale, then I buy a little more. For meats, I stock up, like if the whole chicken is $.99/lb.
Read the label on your meat.
I’ve noticed some of the larger, national grocery stores have been stocking meats that usually say something like “contains up to 15% solution” or something along those lines. I’m not going to comment about the plumping controversies, but I will say that I don’t like to pay extra for water. If you do the math, you end up paying more the the meat that’s been plumped than the one that hasn’t. Check the labels to make sure!
In discount stores, shop the aisles.
Discount stores include Target or Wal-Mart. I stick with buying baby food, home products, flour, pasta, and non-perishables from here. Prices are usually lower than the grocery store. (Unless the grocery store is having a sale then stock up!)
Check the expiration date.
This is one I’m usually forgetting to do, because, you know, taking a 2 year old and a 4 year old to the store is so thrilling (ha!) and in my rush I don’t always check to see the expiration date on products. This has backfired on me a few times, most recently on salad dressing.
Watch for product placement on shelves.
I noticed this more since having kids, but they put everything with cartoon characters at children’s level. My darling kids will shout, “Look Mommy! FROZEN!!! ELSA! ANNA! BUY IT!!!”
The less expensive options are usually at the bottom or at the top, where it’s not as convenient to reach.
Visit different food stores.
This is going to depend a lot on location, and what’s available to you in your area. Houston has a large Chinatown and this is where I buy all our seafood now. Their prices are almost always better than the regular grocery store, and there is more variety than just salmon and tilapia. And if you like salmon and tilapia, then you will like the prices at the Asian grocery store!
When we lived in Virginia, we used to get our seafood at the smaller Asian grocery store, so if you have one in your area, check out their pricing and let me know if it’s better than the grocery store.
As I mentioned earlier this week, we also buy our wine and pantry items from Trader Joe’s.
Recently I’ve discovered an Aldi in our area, so I’m planning on buying some of our produce and snacks from here in the future.
Stock up when it’s on sale.
I will buy at least 4 or more of a product if it’s a really good deal. Our local grocery store had a sale on organic pizza sauce for $1. It was awesome that it was organic, but what made it even better was that the prices were even lower than regular pizza sauce. We’ll be good for a while until the next sale comes along. I love stocking up when I can because it saves me an extra trip or three to the store.
It never hurts to see what stores are available to you in the area to help save some money!
This is how I’ve shopped without couponing. I’ve let go of the expectations to get the best deal ever, especially when it comes to food. Do you have any good rules or tips that help you save when you shop? Please share!