How Do You save Money at the Store?

Updated on September 12, 2008
K.S. asks from Littleton, CO
7 answers

I'm so over spending a small fortune at the grocery store. I do clip coupons, compare brands, and try to buy what's on sale. But my question is this- I know some of you ladies are very savvy about planning ahead and saving a lot of money, as well as being very efficient and stretching money as well as food. I need to know how you do it! I think I'm fairly organized, but I have this imagine in my head of running to 3 different stores every day and entering the price of bread into a spreadsheet. From reading these entries every day, I know you all don't have time for that either, so you must have a better strategy. Please share!

A few caveats- as I said, I do clip coupons. What I can't seem to figure out is how to use the weekly store ads. Do I look at what's on sale for the week and plan a weekly menu around that or what? And I thought I was supposed to use coupons and the sales at the same time? I'm so confused.

Tell me what you do in a typical week to plan a week of meals and save money at the store. And in case it matters, we are vegetarians. So obviously the sales on meat mean nothing to me. So wherever you say sale on "meat", I'll substitute sale on "tofu". :-)

Thanks in advance!!

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answers from Denver on

I've started buying more "Store Brands". Most of the time they're made by the same comppanies and they're less expensive than the name-brand items even when you deduct the price of a coupon.

Keep an eye on how many non-food items your buying at the grocery store. I'm sometimes surprised how much all those extra cleaners and stuff add to my bill.

Also plan meals around what's on sale. I'll make a double batch and freeze half. (It's nice to have a couple of meals in the freezer when I don't have time to cook)

Don't forget to balance the cost of food with the cost of travel and your time. If it takes 4 gallons of gas and and extra hour of travel time to drive across town to save a couple of bucks, it's probably not worth it. I figure my time is worth at least $10 an hour. :)

Most grocery store will give you a 15 cent credit for every bag you bring from home. (think of those 100's of plastic bags that end up in the back of your pantry or in the garbage).



answers from Denver on

I want to say beware of coupons. Often, newspaper coupons are for things we don't need...junk food items, etc. Also, often the coupon does not take the price down low enough (even if it's doubled) to beat the price of a store sale or store brand. When I plan a trip to the store, I list the coupon items on my grocery list and how much they are for...this way I can quickly figure out which deal is, or store brand/sale? I've found out that I can spend much more money using coupons than not. Also, pay attention to the bulk stores...they often really aren't a very good deal but only seem to be just because of they type of store. Such as toilet paper...the only toilet paper offered at Sam's that I would buy is far more expensive than the toilet paper I prefer at our regular grocery store. Bulk stores can be very limiting when it comes to brands, so even though you might be getting a great deal on a particular brand, it doesn't mean you are neccessarily spending less.



answers from Denver on

I do plan meals for the week, and I plan them on Sunday when I clip my coupons, so I am actually using them. I also go to cosco with my sister and if I don't need as much of the bulk I buy, we split it. I'm not sure where you live, but Mexican supermarkets have VERY cheap produce. There is also a Korean supermarket off of Parker and Havana that has very cheap produce. I also go to coupon printing websites like I have a great lentil stew recipe that only costs 4.00 to make, and it makes so much you are guaranteed to eat if for 2 days. Let me know if you are interested.

I hope you find this helpful, and good luck. Shopping for food is such a downer lately.



answers from Denver on



I LOVE my coupons, actually! I subscribe to this online thing called The Grocery Game ( It's fabulous because it helps you organize your coupons each week so you can use them to get the best deals possible. There is a monthly fee, but it totally pays for itself. Worst case, you can always "split" the cost with a friend or two and just rotate it every couple months.

I buy alot of stuff at Costco...paper products, etc. I am also a Quixtar distributor, so I do buy alot of things on line through them. It saves me time and money on things we use alot of during the month.

Hope this helps!



answers from Denver on

I don't necessarily plan my meals around the sales per se, but I do look for items on sale that we use, and stock up. I get especially excited when I have a coupon AND it's on sale! Places like Costco and Sam's can be fabulous for some bulk items. I have found really great prices on produce at Sunflower Market (I bought peaches there yesterday for 77 cents a pound!), and they have a lot organic stuff at a good price, too. I know that can sound like a lot of running around, but I try to really plan my shopping trips. I only go to Costco once a month, for instance, and generally go to Sunflower right after my regular grocery store when I'm already out, maybe once a week. Good luck!



answers from Denver on

This will change your life...
My husband heard about this last December on Dave Ramsey's podcast and I've used it every week since. You sign up ($1.25 a week that you are billed for every 3 months at $15) and log on once a week for a 7 day menu list. The first page you print out gives you the recipes (side dishes included) and the second page breaks down the items you need, what meals they are for, what section of the grocery store you can find them and the approximate cost. It usually totals between $75-80 a week, plus your staples.
I am not passionate about cooking but have averaged 4-5 nights a week for the last 9 months of cooking diverse meals at home because of this incredible site. Everything you spend money on at the store is for something specific, when you get ready to cook, you know you have everything you need for it, it is easier than wandering up and down the aisles at the grocery store or flipping through cook books for ideas. You can pick from a variety of stores that they base their price lists from, vegetarian, weight watchers, family or couple menus, etc.
Then you can use any coupons you may have for the items you really need.



answers from Denver on

Check out It helped me a lot. I love it when I get stuff for free, or better yet, when the company pays me to "buy" their product. Teri's great!

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