The biggest expense in the course of a lifetime is groceries. You can always trade in your car or sell your house, but the money you spend on food is never coming back. You can’t build equity with groceries, and you can’t invest with canned peas. Therefore, learning how to lower your grocery bill just might be the most important financial decision you can make in your lifetime. The good news is that it is very easy to lower your grocery bill, and best of all, you don’t even have to clip coupons to do it. Here are five easy ways you can save money at the grocery store:
1. Club cards. Just about every grocery store has them: those plastic tags that attach to your keychain which the cashier swipes at the cash register. It may seem like a nuisance to sign up for a shopper’s club card, but if you tend to shop at the same grocery store all the time, they will save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. Best of all, they’re usually free. Simply go to the customer service window and fill out an application.
2. Make a list. Meandering aimlessly through the aisles tossing random objects into the cart is a great way to bust your budget. Those who shop with lists are less inclined to make impulse purchases. You will also find that it saves time as well.
3. Stock up on non-perishables. When things like paper towels, toilet paper, and shaving razors go on sale, stock up! These items don’t go bad, and they will eventually be used. Other items that you can stock up on are light bulbs, cleaners and detergents, paper goods, trash bags, and canned goods.
4. Go generic. There used to be a time when generic brands meant inferior quality, but thanks to consolidation and conglomeration most of the generic items today are made in the same exact factories which produce the name-brand items. Why pay more for fancy packaging?
5. Damaged goods. Just about every decent-sized town and city has a grocery outlet which specializes in selling groceries which have been deemed “damaged”. Most of the time, these are simply dented cans, crushed boxes, or items missing a label. There’s no difference in quality between a can of Campbell’s soup in a regular can or a can of Campbell’s soup in a dented can. The only difference is in your grocery bill- you can buy the dented can for about half the price.