Coupons can be a great way to save money on a lot of things—especially at the grocery store. However, if you’re pressed for time or just simply don’t want to clip coupons for your favorite products, there are still other ways you can save money the next time you go grocery shopping:
Stock up during good sales
If a local grocery store is offering any great deals on items you frequently eat or use, stock up as much as it makes sense to. For perishables, you won’t want to buy more than you’ll be able to use before the expiration date. But for other items, take advantage of the opportunity to stock up, even if you already have the item at home. Otherwise, you’ll eventually run out and you may need to pay regular price when you do buy it. By stocking up on what you can when the prices are good, you not only save money, but you eliminate extra trips to the grocery store.
Compare prices from various grocers
If you live near multiple grocery stores, be sure to compare the prices for items you buy often. It may be easier to just pick the store that’s closest, but adding an extra few minutes to your drive can potentially save you big bucks. Comparing prices can also be helpful when one of the grocery stores is having what appears to be a good sale. You may think you’re scoring a bargain on a particular item because of its sale price, but the other store down the street might sell the exact same thing at a lower price, as part of its everyday price.
Ask for a rain check
When a popular product goes on sale, there’s always a good chance that the store will run out. The next time you head to the grocery store to pick up some items that are on sale, but the store has run out of any of the sale items, ask for a rain check. Many stores will offer rain checks to customers, which promise that they can purchase the item for the sale price once the item is back in stock, even if the sale has technically already ended.
Look at the unit price
A common misconception is that buying a larger amount of a particular item (or a box that contains more of the items) will cost more than the smaller packages, but because you’re buying more if it upfront, you pay less in the end. While this is sometimes true, it’s not always. The way you can know for sure is by looking at the unit price. If you’re buying laundry detergent, for example, you can compare two separate sizes from the same brand and see how much you’d be paying per ounce. If you’re trying to save money, always opt for the lower unit price. Although the upfront cost may be more, it will help you save overall.
Bulk purchases can be another great way to save money at the grocery store, but if you aren’t careful, they can end up costing you a lot of money. If you’re buying a large amount of a product that’s perishable, but you can’t use it all before it expires, you will have wasted your money. If you have a large family, buying perishables can help you save. But otherwise, just stick to the things that you know you will eventually use, but never expire. Trash bags, toilet paper, and other household essentials are just some examples of items that make for good bulk purchases. If you find that buying in bulk is the best way for you to cut down on your grocery bill, you may want to consider joining a wholesale club, if you haven’t already.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, legal, or tax advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.