10 Ways to Save on Your Grocery Bill

Start your shopping in the center of the store

The first place you walk into in a supermarket is the produce section and that’s exactly what marketers want you to do. “Think of it like aromatherapy,” says “The Supermarket Guru,” Phil Lempert. “Smelling the aroma of fresh produce puts us in a better mood. If we’re in a better mood, we’re gonna be in the store longer and we’re gonna spend more money. You want to head right to the center of the store where there’s all those unemotional boxes and cans.

Avoid going food shopping if you’re too happy, or sad

Think about it, if you go to the grocery store after getting a raise, you’re going to splurge. The same if you go when you’ve just been fired, except it will be on things that aren’t good for you. Lempert’s advise? Go when you’re in a “normal” mood.

Buy groceries before you need them

The idea behind buying ahead is not to hoard food, but to “invest,” says Teri Gault, founder of “The Grocery Game.” If you have a pantry or a large enough fridge or freezer, then consider buying items like meat, tuna and peanut butter before you need them. “Every week supermarkets have one or two meat items on sale,” she says. “One week you’re gonna buy chicken, the next week it might be steaks. Over the course of a month, you’ll have a variety of meats in your freezer.” The same goes for cheese, which you can buy on sale, grate it and freeze it for later use.

Clips coupons, and wait for the right time to use them

“Know when to play a coupon,” says Gault, whose site has a coupon tracker. A lot of people will clip a couple of coupons and go to the grocery store where they might find items on sale and cheaper than if they used the coupon so they just throw them away. “Coupons are usually good for three months, which means that with the 12-week categorical sales trends usually the thing that you have a coupon for will go on sale sometime during the life of that coupon.” Coupon use has significantly risen in the last 20 months, perhaps because of the recession, adds Lempert. “Coupons now have a value of over a dollar so it’s silly not to use them.” Most adults dread the idea of clipping coupons, so ask you children to go online to coupon sites like redplum.com and coupons.com for great deals.

Buy local

Many supermarkets stock local produce, you just have to ask. These are often less money than the items that had to travel across the country to get to your supermarket.

Be more attentive of how supermarket shelves are arranged

There’s a reason why staples in the cereal aisle (like Corn Flakes and Raisin Bran) are sometimes placed at the bottom of the shelf, while the fruity ones are placed at your children’s eye levels (to entice) and healthier one at the top, says Lempert. Be aware of this trick and do your best to look for the brands you want instead of the ones laid out for you.

Bring your own bags

This is a purely psychological move on your part. Because we often buy groceries we won’t use (an average of 14% of groceries are tossed from the home), bringing your own limited amount of bags and having less room to store unnecessary items will help get you in a frame of mind of stocking what you need, and spending less.

Keep a price book

Most people shop for the same items every time they go to the grocery store. Keep a journal of frequently bought items and the prices you usually pay. You’ll know when there’s a really good sale and that’s the time to stock up on your favorite items.

Look for healthy products that can save you money

You can go healthier while saving more money, says Lempert who suggests buying a product like whole wheat pasts which might be 20 cents more, but will be denser and more nutritious than regular pasta, which means you’re going to end up eating less.

Be adventurous with brands and places you shop

Discounters like Save-A-Lot and other grocery outlets have great discounts (some up to 25% off) on products but they come and go depending on the pricing the store is able to secure. “These are perfect places to go if you’re less brand-specific and adventurous enough to try new brands.”

10 Ways To Save On Your Grocery Bill

With most of us having to deal with tighter budgets these days there’s no better time to learn how to save money in every sector of our lives. Why not the grocery store, where most Americans spend an average of $10, 692 a year on food and household supplies, according to recent report by ABC News. Here are smart ways to save a buck or 50 at the supermarket without having to become a total coupon junkie.

Get more tips from Phil Lempert at The Supermarket Guru and Teri Gault of The Grocery Game. Read more: