How to Save Money at the Supermarket


We all like to save money.  I came across a story in the Reader’s Digest, “40 Supermarket Secrets You Need to Know.”  I thought it had some great suggestions.  But when I went to share it, I couldn’t find a link.  Apparently, Reader’s Digest doesn’t share current articles; they want you to buy the magazine.

So, let me share the ideas that I thought were most important and then link you to other resources that will help you save money.

  1. Eat what’s in season.

Yes, seasonal fruits and vegetables tend to be the best buy.  But I like them because they are fresher, better.

My mother canned or froze seasonal fruit and vegetables from our own garden and from orchards nearby.  We saved money and had first quality produce.  But there was a lot of satisfaction in putting our own food by.  And gardening, picking fruit, and canning were family activities that brought us closer together.

  1. Make fewer trips to the grocery store.

The more trips you make to the grocery store, the more money you’re likely to spend.

If you make fewer trips, you can justify buying larger sizes and buying more of sales items.  Your mindset changes: “Get what you need now” because you’re not going to take time Saturday morning to make a trip to the store.

  1. Plan your meals.

This is a corollary to fewer trips.  You’ll spend less money than if you run to the store to buy another cut of meat because you just saw a recipe that you like.

Planning meals gives you an opportunity to work from a budget.

  1. Make a shopping list.

This is still another corollary.  If you plan your meals and make fewer trips to the grocery store, you’ll need a shopping list.

I’m guilty to shopping without a list.  I find myself guilty to buying things that I might like to make.  (Ah, I like to cook.) And then I don’t get around to preparing and cooking that fish that seemed like such a good idea in the store.

  1. Quit wasting food.

These all seem to tie to together. Proper planning reduces waste.

Okay, Reader’s Digest didn’t come up with this one.  They had a rule, “Don’t buy so much!”  I think you should buy fewer perishable items and more staples.  And plan what perishables you do buy.  (Ah, consider the stale fish I have stuck in the corner of my freezer.)

The Reader’s Digest did point out that most of us throw away a fourth of what we buy, $2,000 worth a year.   Ouch!

  1. Don’t fall for fake sales.

The example the Reader’s Digest used was ten cans of tuna for $10 when the regular price was 89 cents a can.  Do the math. Check the shelves. See what the other brands sell for.

  1. Cut the crap.

According to the Reader’s Digest, 25% of our spending is for sweets and processed foods with soda pop being the largest item.  Hmm, that’s a lot!

Other Resources

When I hit the internet, I found lots of other sources and other suggestions.  Here are the more notable ones:

20 Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries

This is a sensible list.  “Never go to the grocery store hungry.”

How to Save Money on Groceries by The Penny Hoarder

Where do they come up with these? If you’re into coupons and apps and want to try sometimes gimmicky ways to save money, this list is for you.  An example: Send Betty Crocker your email address and they’ll send you $250 of deeply discounted coupons.

How to Save Money on Groceries without Coupons

If you are a Dave Ramsey fan, check this list on his site.

This is a sensible list, though not all original ideas.  They are down-to-earth sensible ideas, the other end of the universe from The Penny Hoarder.  Check them both out.

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