Real Simple Tips: 11 Ways to Save On Groceries

I am always looking for tricks to save some coin.  Real Simple always provides great tips, so let’s head to the market:

  1. Pick products on the top and bottom shelves.  Bigger sizes of items, which tend to offer a lower price per unit, are usually placed on the highest and lowest shelves.  Smaller sizes, with a higher price per unit, are often given prime placement at eye level.
  2. Purchase oranges, onions, and potatoes in bags rather than individually.  You’ll pay roughly half the price.
  3. Buy store brands instead of name brands.  Store brands are usually close to the market leader in quality yet less costly.  In fact, the same manufacturer that makes the branded product often manufactures the house brand.
  4. Buy ground beef and chicken breasts in bulk or family sized packages and you’ll save big: 20 percent on ground beef and 50 percent on chicken.
  5. Opt for frozen seafood over fresh.  Vacuum-packaged salmon, flounder, tilapia fillets and bags of frozen shrimp cost 20 to 40 percent less than their counterparts at the fish counter.
  6. Avoid buying prepared and packaged goods.  You’ll pay a premium for convenience.  Consumer Reports once found that two pounds of carrots cost $1.29, compared with $7.16 for the same amount of precut sticks.
  7. Don’t buy non-grocery items at the supermarket.  Health and beauty goods are usually cheaper at mass-market retailers like Target.  And you’ll find the best deals on paper products at warehouse clubs.
  8. Find out an item’s cost per unit (CPU). It’s listed on the shelf sticker next to the price. It will tell you what an item’s cost per pound or ounce is, which can keep you from getting hoodwinked by packaging.
  9. Join grocery savings clubs at local supermarkets.  These free programs entitle cardholders to members-only savings on selected products, a benefit that could shave about 18 percent off your total grocery bill.
  10. Download coupons.  Check couponcart.com or coolsavings.com for deals on frequently purchased items and shop on double-coupon days if your grocer has them.
  11. Join a warehouse club.  Bulk retailers, such as BJ’s Wholesale Club and Costco, can be 20 to 50 percent cheaper than regular grocery stores when it comes to products like condiments, coffee, bottled water, and canned beans and vegetables.  Visit the websites of clubs like BJ’s ($45 annual fee), Costco ($50 annual fee) and Sam’s Club ($40 annual fee) to determine which has the best location and product mix for you and join online.
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