Saving Money on Groceries

I worked in a grocery store, and every day, someone asked me which was the best buy. I have a few tips that might help you if you're serious about saving money on groceries.

1. Buy Generic or Store Brand - Most of these products are made by national manufacturers, and have the same ingredients or are basically the same product. At least try these brands, and if you like them, great. If you don't, then there is still a way to save money on name brands.

2. Wait for Specials - I live, basically, on buy 1 get 1 specials (BOGO) and clearance items. Of course, some things never go on these kinds of sales, so you just have to wait until they are as cheap as you think they will ever be, and stock up. But be careful. A lot of higher priced stores will offer a BOGO, when their own item is still cheaper. When I first started at the store I work at, they regularly had a name brand canned vegetables on BOGO. The problem was, the store brand was still 12 cents cheaper at regular price. Recently, their price has come much, much closer to the brand name price, so they are higher for two than the name brand on BOGO.

3. Shop Dollar and End Lot Stores - Most of the dollar stores have their own brand name items cheaper than even the store brands at the grocery. For instance, even on BOGO, name brand canned veggies at my grocery are 8 cents more a can than at the Dollar General down the street. Stores like Big Lots often have great discounts on discontinued grocery items, and those with slightly damaged packaging. You might want to be careful of dented cans, though. Always check to make sure the tops and bottoms aren't bulging, and try to eat them as soon as possible.

4. Use Coupons Creatively - Most people don't want to be bothered with coupons. The stores make couponing so easy for you now, with the little dispensers right there at the product. If you want to get creative, get those little coupons, and then wait until that item goes on sale. Usually, it will go on sale at least once before the expiration date. Stacking coupons and sales will help you save even more!

You know those coupons stuck on the front of products that you don't use? Say you're buying popcorn, and there's a coupon for $2 off of three, but you only want one, and they aren't on sale. Here's a nifty trick. The vendors NEVER put those coupons on things that are already on sale, but all those items go on sale eventually, so buy one, keep the coupon, and then use it when they do go on sale. It's something you're going to buy anyway, so why not save some money?

Read those stick on coupons carefully, because sometimes they're good for items from the same manufacturer that ARE on sale. I found one once that was $4 off of 4 of a long list of General Mills products, including some cereal that was on BOGO. So I bought the item the coupon was on, bought the four cereals (on BOGO, remember), and also found a coupon for 75 cents off two right there in the little machine by the cereal, so by stacking those coupons, I ended up paying something like 85 cents apiece for each box of cereal.

5. Stockpile Deep Discount and Clearance Items - For stockpiling, you have to have space to store things, but there are ways to squeeze space out of nowhere. I've been known to buy large quantities of items on deep discount, then stockpile them. I once ran across an entire shipment of Rice-a-Roni that had been damaged, and they were selling it for 25 cents a box. There were baskets parked on the aisle with 4/$1 on each, so I dug through, making sure the inside packaging wasn't damaged, and ended up buying 36 boxes.

Once, I bought a 20 lb. turkey on sale for half price after Thanksgiving. To get it into an already full freezer, I had to cut it up into pieces, and store each piece in a ziploc bag laid out flat, and stack them up. I've done the same with large packages of chicken legs or wings. Stacking is a great way to get a lot of meat into a freezer, and you can even rearrange them after they're frozen, by standing some of them up on their sides to squeeze more in.

Stockpiling canned goods is a little more tricky. I use every spare inch of space in my house, since you don't have to put them into a cupboard. Don't forget that even in a cabinet, they stack two high at least, and smaller cans can stack on top of larger cans. Things in flat cans, like sardines can be stacked on top of a regular can and a small can. I store canned goods all over the house, but you have to have a system to remember what is where. Be sure to store the ones you're going to use first in the kitchen, then replace with the ones from outside the kitchen when you're going to be using them.

Stockpiling cleaning supplies is pretty easy, since you can store them just about anywhere; garage, attic, in a plastic container on the back porch, even.

TIP: On items like rice or other grains, you'll have to either store them in a refrigerator or freezer to keep the moths out. To save space, take the inner package out of the box, cut out the directions off the box and attach to each bag, then put them into ziploc bags, and store flat, stacked in the freezer. You can also put several like this into a plastic freezer container as well.


  1. I am loving your blog! I just read all your posts and I have found some handy hints! You have found a fan!


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