Tricks for Frugal Shopping

Are you looking to cut back on your grocery bill and make your food last longer? Use this guide to make the most of your money.

1. Don’t fall for shortage limits

Stores like to use signs like “Limit 4 per customer” because they know customers are likely to stockpile an item if they believe there’s a shortage – but in many cases there isn’t. Buy only as much as you need to avoid overspending and be wary of supermarket signs.

2. Shop less often

Try as much as possible to stretch out the time between each shopping trip; like if you buy your groceries every week, try going once every two weeks. This will force you to make the food last longer, and in turn, it will save you a lot of money. People usually don’t realize how much food they have in the freezer and pantry, or how far it can go.

3. Make friends with your butcher

You know that tender meats are more expensive than rough cuts, but did you know that your butcher can run those rough cuts into the tenderizer if you ask? They will turn your meats into tender bites at no cost.

4. Keep an eye on the register

Supermarket scanners are not the most accurate gadgets – and in fact this has been documented in numerous investigative shows. One way to make sure you’re not spending more than you should is to add up your numbers as you shop (and you can do this quite easily on your phone), and the other option is to watch the display as the cashier scans the products. If there are any discounts on the products, make sure they are applied.

Also, make a habit of keeping the receipts in case the items don’t ring up with the prices, or you need to return a damaged item.

5. Get coupons online

Before you shop for groceries, go online and search for coupons for specific products so you can save money on your most common purchases. Just enter the product name on a search engine plus the word “coupon” and you should get a bunch of websites offering them at reasonable prices. One thing to note here is that some of these coupon websites ask for a lot of personal information in exchange for discounts on coupons; so be sure to read the fine print and only work with reputable sites. In addition, you may want to start ordering your groceries online from companies like mercato.com.

6. Take time to study your store’s selling patterns

Most grocery stores follow specific patterns when doing sales. For example, there’s a store that puts ice cream on a “buy one get one free” sale on the last week of every month. That same ice cream is only a dollar off on the first week. Keep an eye on these patterns and you will discover a whole new way to save cash on your favorite products.

7. Don’t fall for the “special sale” trick

When a store advertises a special sale – say, buy 10 packets of yogurt for $5 – this doesn’t mean you have to buy all of them. Unless they state otherwise, you should still be able to buy one or two packets if you want to. And in this case you will spend only 50 cents for one packet.

8. Avoid aisles that are tempting for you

Instead, walk through aisles that you don’t normally use. Every shopper has aisles they don’t use (it could be paper goods, pet food, cosmetics, etc.). Pass through these aisles as you make your way to the departments you need at the other side of the store. Studies show that people are likely to spend less through this simple tactic.

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