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How to Save Money at the Grocery Store (Beyond Coupons)

By Guest Contributor

By Dana Loesch of Mamalogues
1. Do Not Shop Hungry
Otherwise the supermarket looks like a giant smörgåsbord and it’s harder to maintain your focus. I once walked off with two giant canisters of beef jerky for this reason.
2. Plan in Advance
It’s a chore, but if you can, sit down and make a list of the entire week’s menu (including snacks) and the ingredients required – and stick to the list. You save money by avoiding spontaneous purchases (beef jerky again) and you won’t have to waste time later wondering what to make for dinner.
3. Reuse Grocery Lists
This sounds utterly anal-retentive, but you’ll benefit, believe me. I store all of my grocery lists in a binder and rotate them week after week. Doing this keeps me from relying too much on redundant standbys. It also enables me to make notes by each item, like the best store at which to buy a product along with the most inexpensive and best brand.
4. Don’t Be a Brand Snob
There is no shame in buying Fruity-Ohs. You will not die if you have to drink Mountain Holler instead of Mountain Dew.
5. Spice it Up
Vary where you shop. For instance, organic dry goods are cheaper at Target than Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and most supermarkets. You can visit your local farmer’s market and usually get local, organic produce at a fraction of the supermarkets’ cost.


Guest Contributor
About the Author

Guest Contributor

We often publish pieces by guest contributors. If you’re interested in being one, please drop us a line at contact[at]alphamom[dot]com.


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  • Trysha

    October 6, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I always try to fill the cart with kids, that way I have to be very selective about what else goes in. It’s not very scientific, but it seems to work. 🙂
    Oh, it does not have to be your kids, any children that will stay in the cart will do.

  • CindyC

    October 6, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I’m all about the Mountain Holler if it saves a dollar. Oh and usually when there is a sale on my favorite foods I load up! Love the 2Fers.

  • Angie

    October 6, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I usually plan the menu ahead of time but never though to copy it; Thanks for the suggestion! I also keep a “shopping” list on the fridge that way when we run out or run low I can write it down immediately. Also never let the husband shop. Mine spent $70 for a one-night camp out!

  • amy

    October 6, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    I am with you on these! and also second the never let my husband shop alone! He spends too much! Great post!

  • Marnie

    October 6, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Each week, my husband reviews the grocery fliers to see what’s on sale (yes, he rocks), then we make our weekly menu based on what’s on sale and what we already have in the freezer. We all (DH, DD and me) go shopping together, which helps prevent too much impulse spending, and teaches our daughter about spending/saving by discussing which things we’re going to buy and why (this one’s on sale, or that one is cheaper per ounce).

  • LeAnn

    October 6, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    When I make my grocery lists, I try to have that weeks flyers with me. That way I can plan my meals with what is on sale.
    Also, I shop at Walgreens. Every year around school supplies time they have packs of 10 papermate pens for 10 cents with their coupons.
    I love Walgreens coupons, the ones you cut out from their ad. I scan those every week. There might be a coupon for Lady Speedstick might be on sale for 99 cents. That combined with my 1.00 off 2 manufacturers coupon allows me a free deodorant. Walgreens coupons and manufacturers coupons are two different things and you can use more than one coupon on an item.
    Also they have their easysaver booklet with more coupons. My mom omce paid $1.25 for a bottle of haircolor because she had a manufacturers coupon, an easysaver coupon and it was on sale.
    I also love Aldis to stock up. Plus they have awesome German chocolate!

  • Chely

    October 6, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Hey Dana~
    Thanks for the heads up for this site…great post.
    My secret is…Aldi’s.
    Go ahead and laugh.
    They used to suck…badly. But now they rock, and for pennies. It seems that they are owned by the same company that owns…are you ready?
    Trader Joe’s.
    They share SEVERAL product lines, just without the Trader Jose stamp.
    Bring your TJ’s canvas bags and a quarter for the shopping cart.
    Shhh. Don’t tell the snobs. Ahh, go ahead. They won’t be caught dead in an Aldi’s anyway!

  • thatgirlkelly

    October 7, 2008 at 11:51 am

    I’m with you all when it comes to shopping by the sale. I do prefer to buy meat from certain places over others due to quality issues. My biggest money saving tip is toI avoid buying anything premade or prepackaged. I’m not sure why, but people seem to think it takes too much time to make dinner from scratch. Granted I’m not making Lasagne and beef burgandy every night, but your standard protein, starch and vege takes about 30 minutes to pull together and costs very little.

  • katie ~ motherbumper

    October 8, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Number four is the one that really helps me cut my food bill. Warning tho’ – their beef jerky sucks. Also I buy mega jumbo sizes for things I use en masse (tomato sauce, peanut butter, jelly, paper towel, etc) – most of the time I find that the largest regular size item is only a dollar less than the club-size but club-size is almost twice in volume).

  • Bryna

    October 14, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Do any of you have tips on how to organize your coupons so you can use them more effectivly? I went to and she has a coupon database that seems to work.