Actually going to the store is probably the hardest part of keeping my grocery bill under $175. Even with a well organized meal plan and grocery list, it can be tempting to throw in 'just a few' extras. Before you know it, you've got a bag of chips, some frozen waffles, a tub of ice cream and a $250 grocery bill. Here's what I do to keep my grocery bill down while at the store.
First, choosing which day to go shopping makes a big difference. The store that I shop at starts a new flyer every Friday and they start marking things down around Tuesday. I found that if I go on Wednesday, I will find a ton of fruit, milk, bread and yogurt, usually about 4 days away from the best before date, for 50% off. I love those big pink 50% off stickers. However, if I wait until Thursday, there isn't as much left.
Next, there are certain things that I always bring to the store that help me stay organized and save money. First, my own shopping bags. I have quite a few reusable ones and then I grab a handful of plastic ones. This saves me from buying bags and it's good for the environment. Also, I have my grocery list, a pen to check off what I have already grabbed, my ipad so I can double check the cashback items, any flyers from other stores that I plan to price match and, of course, a ziplock full of coupons.
The first thing I do when I get to the store is make a mad dash for the clearance rack. I go here first so that I can grab anything that's on my list for 50% off before grabbing it at regular price. Also, the sooner I get there, the more stuff that will be left. Then I make a quick trip to the dairy aisle to snag any yogurt, milk or juice that's marked down, but only if it's on my list.
After I mark off any clearance items from my shopping list, I start at the front of the store and go around like normal. I avoid going down any aisle that I don't need stuff from, and I don't stop to look at items that aren't on my list.
Before I check out, I separate all the items that require coupons or price matching. If I have time, I also double check the coupons/cashback deals to make sure I didn't grab the wrong item since I won't have time to go back once I'm in line. I put all of those items up last. I do all the pricematching at once and then I have the coupon items scanned last and give the cashier my coupons with each item so that she doesn't have to pull them back out to double check. Then I always hand over my PC Plus Points card, even if I don't think I'm getting any points that week... sometimes I am pleasantly surprised.
The last major "must do" before leaving the store is making sure that I have my receipt safely in my wallet and not just in a bag or box where it could fly away. Without that receipt, I can't get any cashback!
Check back to hear what I do at home that saves me money on groceries.