Coupons are a terrific way to cut the costs of various products—and they can especially save you a lot of money on your grocery shopping. But coupon clipping can be a time consuming process, and many people don’t have the time needed to find coupons for their favorite products. This doesn’t mean you have to pay retail all the time, either. There are other ways you can save a lot of money when you go grocery shopping, and without coupons.
If you want to save money at the grocery store, be sure to:
Check the unit price
It’s a common misconception that purchasing the larger box, container, or package will save you more in the end, even if the cost is higher than the smaller packages. While this is the case sometimes, it’s not always cheaper to buy the larger packages. Instead of looking at the sale prices, look at the unit prices, which are usually included along with the sale prices. For example, say you’re buying garbage bags and you’re comparing the prices for a 20 pack and a 50 pack. The unit prices on each item will tell you just how much you’ll be paying for each individual garbage bag. You can always do this math yourself, but simply looking at the unit price makes it easier to see right away which option is the cheapest. It can get a little trickier if you’re comparing something like paper towels, because those will also come in varying sizes. In cases like this, the unit price will tell you how much you’d be paying per square foot. Just by taking this small extra step, it’s very simple to know when you’re getting the best deal.
Compare prices from different grocery stores
If there are several different grocery stores within driving distance of your home, compare the different prices for products that you frequently buy. You might be shopping at a particular grocery store because it’s closest to you, but driving an extra few minutes might save you a lot of money if the prices for your favorite products are lower. Comparing product prices can also be useful when one of the stores is having a sale. You may think a particular item is being sold at an amazing sale price, but a nearby store might be selling the same thing at even lower everyday price.
Stock up when prices are low
If your grocery store is having a good sale on products you use a lot or items that don’t expire, take advantage of the low prices and stock up. If the items are perishable, you don’t want to purchase more than you’ll be able to use before they expire. For other items, use the opportunity to stock up, even if you already have plenty at home. Otherwise, you’ll run out eventually and likely need to pay regular price when it’s time to make another purchase. By stocking up on what you can whenever there’s a great sale, you not only cut costs, but you save time by eliminating extra shopping trips.
Purchase in bulk
Bulk purchases can be another good way to save money on your groceries, but if you aren’t careful, they can sometimes have the opposite effect. If you’re purchasing a perishable food item in large quantities, and you won’t be able to use it all before it goes bad, you can end up wasting a lot of money. But if you’re throwing a party or you have a large family and you know that it won’t go to waste, buying perishables in bulk can help you save money. You usually can’t go wrong with bulk purchases when it comes to household essentials that will never go bad—think along the lines of toilet paper, garbage bags, and so on. If you find that purchasing in bulk at your local grocery store has been saving you a lot of money, you can maximize your savings by joining a local wholesale club and making your bulk purchases there.
Request a rain check
When a product that’s in high demand goes on sale, it’s not unusual for that item to sell out completely. If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store to stock up on sale items, only to find out that they are completely out, that doesn’t mean you still can’t take advantage of the great deals. Many grocery stores will offer rain checks in these situations, which allow customers to purchase the sold out items at the sale prices once they get more in stock, even if the sale has already ended.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.