Low Hanging Fruit at the Grocery Store

photo credit: Deb Roby

Based on a very unscientific study of the people I’ve had meetings with this week–most people who are still bothering to show up at work at all, are spending as much time shopping and looking for recipes as they are doing their actual jobs.  So since you are thinking about food anyway, I’ll share tips of a more domestic nature.

You can save a lot of money on groceries using coupons.  With practice you could pay less than 1/2 of retail for your groceries.  But that’s another blog*.  That level of couponing takes a lot of work and dedication to clipping, organizing, and paying attention to what’s on sale when.  It does not qualify as low hanging fruit.  However, by just becoming familiar with your grocery store’s website and a couple of internet coupon sites, you can start to take advantage of sales and coupons, without making it a part-time job.

The first thing to do is visit your grocery store on the web.  (The address is probably http://www.nameofstore.com) but if that doesn’t work, Google it.)  Each site is a little different but somewhere near the top of the page  there is a link to the the weekly ad.  The benefit of shopping  with this ad is when you click on items you can add them to a grocery list (If you click on items in the regular ad, you just tear the ad.) When you are done, print the list (you can add must-haves that aren’t on sale manually.)  The benefit of this list is you get all the information about exactly which items are on sale–greatly increasing the chances that you actually buy what you meant to buy.  Additionally, by choosing what you are going to buy based on what’s on sale rather than what looks good when you get to the store, you are already on the path to saving money.

You can still buy a newspaper and clip coupons old-school–and if you want to become a coupon genius* you will need to do that.  For the rest of us mere mortals, on-line coupons are the way to go.  The big three sites are Coupons.com, smartsource.com and redplum.com.  Before you go shopping, visit these sites and print out the coupons for the items you want.  If you find a coupon for something that is also on sale, do the happy dance.  By printing only the coupons you need right before you use them, you avoid having to organize your coupons, discarding expired coupons, and most of the clipping.  You also won’t save as much money, but for me it’s a good trade.

*There are more famous coupon sites on the internet, but Bargain Briana is my favorite because her writing is good, she lays out the latest deals in to the point ways, and she avoids most of the flashy, crazy ads of other sites.  If you decide to get more deeply involved in couponing, use her as your starting resource.

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