You can save more at the grocery store with these 10 secrets of frugal grocery shoppers.
Grocery shopping is one area most of us wish we could save money on. There is the obvious coupon clipping to save money but what if you don’t have time to do this? Is it still possible to save money on groceries without them and without watching for every sale that may pop up? Below are some secrets of frugal grocery shoppers.
Secrets of Frugal Grocery Shoppers
1. Shop mid-week. Most stores run sales from Wednesday to Tuesday as well as 2-day sales that do not take place on busy shopping days such as weekends. The 12 hour or 24 hour sales can mean mega savings on anything from meat to cereal to produce.
2. Check the ‘Scratch and Dent” section. This is usually in the back of the store near the employee doors. It is often day-old bread, sweets and out of season goods that are still fine and not close to expiring but are on clearances as much as 90%. You can still use coupons on these items as well, so if you have some to match, look here first to see if you can get items for free.
3. Don’t buy convenience or fancy packaging. Those pre-cut vegetables, fruits, and meats are so much more than just doing the work yourself. Plus, items like sugar, flour, cornmeal, and spices really are half the price or less if bought in a bulk foods store.
4. Know when markdowns happen. Many stores such as Walmart will mark down meat that is less than 2 days from expiring (the sell-by date) in the mornings of the time window. Head there early enough and you can snag these low priced meats. If you know the markdown policy for the store, and see an item that should be marked down and isn’t, make sure to ask for the discount from the department it is in.
5. Be willing to take the time to ask for a rain check. It might take some time to do it, but if something was a really good deal and there is not a restriction on getting rain checks for it and it is out, request a rain check for the next time you go in the store. There is no sense in paying more for something that was just on sale last week but out of stock.
6. Take “stock” of what you already have at home before you go. This way you will not buy duplicates of things you haven’t used yet. Also, keep a running list of staples you always have on hand.
7. Be “late to the party”. Come at the end of the day to get bakery products that are being discounted. Loaves of bread can go in your freezer and stay fresh for a while.
8. Be ready to take advantage of discounted items the store is trying to clear out. Make them part of your meal plan. This could include buying from a grocery outlet as well as finding items on the shelves that are “manager’s specials”. Just because the store is wanting to get rid of it, doesn’t mean it is bad or expired, it just means it may not have sold as well as they thought it would or it has been discontinued by the manufacturer.
9. Look for imperfect produce. Produce that is bruised, discolored (but not outright moldy) or otherwise not perfect is still usable! Ask your produce manager if your store marks down slightly damaged produce.
10. Use your smartphone. Use the Favado App to find the best sales on the items you need. You can use the Saving Star app to load offers directly to your store's rewards card. Many grocery stores will allow you to load their eCoupons to your rewards card from your phone. Search the Ibotta phone app and the Checkout 51 app to find cashback offers on the items on your grocery list.