I grew up in a family of coupon clippers. My parents always had a coupon caddy they'd take to the grocery store. If you're organized you can save some serious money, but it takes time. So here are some of my favorite coupon sites and some other tricks to help you save at the grocery store.
Don’t assume the end caps have the best prices. It’s important to compare products in the middle of the aisles. There you can really see how one product’s price compares to another.
The middle of the shelf is prime real estate. You will often find lower priced items higher and lower.
Just because something says “limit so many items per customer” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good deal either. Many consumers fall for this almost with a fear that they’re going to miss out on something. Make sure the advertised price is a deal worth stocking up on.
Buy local. Local produce is often cheaper because stores don’t have to pay exorbitant shipping costs. So either look for locally grown foods in your grocery store or hit the local farmers markets.
This also means buy what’s in season. Strawberries are ripe right now in Texas, so now is the time to buy them.
Keep track of prices like I did. In fact, one of my favorite money saving moms Kim Danger, suggests you get a team of friends to shop stores in your area. If each of you tracks prices on items, you’ll have a great master list and you may even be able to track the trends of when things go on sale. Or better yet, know enough about pricing to be able to tell when something is a good deal.
Loss leaders. Ronnie Taylor of Randalls told me they do often put items on sale just for the weekend. So pay attention to those fliers. Stores count on those key items luring you into the store to buy other items. But be sure to pay attention to the price per ounce. Not all stores do the math for you, so bring a calculator and make sure the product you’re buying really is the cheapest price per ounce.
Convenience costs. Buying ready-made meals can be a lot more expensive than making them on your own. However, I know how important time is for families these days. So you’ll just have to weigh the cost yourself and see if the time savings is worth the added expense.
Value cuts of meat like roasts can take longer to cook, but they cost significantly less than things like ribeyes and pork loin.
If you prefer fish try tilapia or cod instead of halibut or sea bass.
And keep in mind grocery stores really don’t make as much money as you may think. In fact on average, we’re talking a one to three percent profit.
Great coupon sites
If you’re a coupon clipper check out some of these great sites. Remember both HEB and Randalls have coupons on their sites. It’s always good to check out these before you go shopping.
- HEB -- You will need to install the coupon printer application in order to print them out.
- Randalls lets you upload coupons to your cell phone or print them out. Again if you want to print them you’ll need to install the coupon printer application. Randall's also offers triple coupons up to 39 cents, double coupons up to 50 cents.
- Coupon mom -- you’ll find lots of coupons but again you’ll need to install the coupon printer application in order to get them printed.
- Smart source
- Cool savings
- Every day saver
- The Grocery Game -- Many couponers match up coupons with the specials. If you don’t want to do the work you can pay a fee and this site will do it for you. HEB and Randalls are on their list. They are offering a four week free trial, but typically you’ll pay $10 for the first list, $5 for any other list after that. So if you wanted HEB and Randalls you’d pay $15 for 8 weeks worth of lists. And they do make it each list for your specific zip code.
Other things to note