I've been wanting to share some of the ways I save money but haven't been sure where to start. I'm just naturally cheap, so it's in my nature. I will start with some of my grocery shopping tips (since a friend of mine asked me to share about a year ago) and in the future posts I'll move onto other subjects.
Over the years I have tried many different things and right now I have a system that works for our family.
My first word of advice is: Take others advice, try it out, but be willing to try different things and see what works for your family. Experiment. Just because one thing works for someone, doesn't mean it's going to work for you.
I have tried many different stores but what I found works best for me is to stick with 2 stores (sometimes 3) that I rotate and I don't even look at the sale papers for the other stores.
I live in an area where I have a lot of stores close to me. I have a local grocery store that I do most of my shopping at that is only 2 blocks away. I have another larger chain grocery store that I generally only buy extremely good sale items at. Then I also have an Aldi about 3 miles from my house that I go to once every month or two to stock up on certain items.
After trying many different stores I've found that this combo is the best for our family. I think I get pretty good prices and I don't spend too much time running from place to place.
Here are a few things that I've learned over the years:
1) Experiment with brands. Some are worth splurging on and others aren't. It's not worth buying the off brand if no one will eat it and it's not worth splurging if there is a cheaper brand that is just as good.
2) Shop the sale papers. I make my list strictly from the sale paper, then I add the few items that we absolutely need and any items that I might need for specific recipes.
3) Clip coupons but don't use them just to use them. The off brands might actually be cheaper than a brand name item with a coupon. I also will only buy certain items if they are on sale AND I have a coupon. I subscribe to 2 different newspapers for my coupons.
4) Try to stick with a budget. You can get a million good deals but you need to limit yourself to actually save money. I found when I actually gave myself a budget, I had to look harder for the deals.
5) Know your prices. The more you watch sale papers, the more you will know. Just because it's on sale doesn't make it a good price. I try not to pay more than $1 for a loaf of bread, $2 for a gallon of milk, $2 for brand name chips.
6) Stock up. When you see something on sale and you know you use it a lot, buy a lot of them when they are cheap.
I could probably go into a lot more detail on all of these but I'm trying to keep it simple. If you have any questions please feel free to email me or post a comment.