There’s little doubt that grocery stores make their greatest profits from our many impulse buys. Studies show that anywhere between 30%-80% of all grocery store purchases are unplanned – and marketers couldn’t be more thrilled about this. Busy, rushed shoppers are generally the least efficient – grabbing everything they need (and don’t need) in an attempt to have a dinner ready for the evening hours. Sadly, for us busy moms and dads, this can become the norm, and our multiple trips to the store can end up costing us way more time and money by the end of the month.
With time as a precious commodity, here are five tips that will end up saving you plenty of it – along with a great deal of money. With the average family of four spending more than $700 a month, some simple changes can easily mean an extra couple thousands of dollars saved by the end of each year.
1. Plan your meals in advance. I know you’ve probably heard this advice before – and it’s frequently shared for one reason: it works. A meal plan for the week along with one thought-out trip to the store can easily eliminate three or more need-based runs to the store. Plus, statistics show that moms and dads who plan out meals end up providing healthier food and getting better prices on their products. It’s helpful if your meals follow the best grocery deals for the week. This is why each week, we share the SavingsAngel Meal of the Week with our weekly money-saving column. We find great deals and incorporate them into great meals for your family. There are also dozens of meal planning websites and apps – which don’t necessarily take into account local sales and coupons – but can certainly help you save some time in the long run.
2. Use coupons – but don’t bother clipping them ahead of time. I started sharing this advice many years ago when storing coupons in their whole-insert form wasn’t as conventional. Many people new to couponing think they need to go through and clip all the coupons they would possibly use and store them in some sort of organizer. This is a great system for enthusiasts – but if your time is very limited, I would rather you put your scissors away and move on to tip #3.
3. Use a sale-coupon matching service. I’ve been helping tens of thousands of families over the past five and a half years cut their grocery bill in half by locating all the best deals at local stores when matched with our database of more than 4,000 coupons at SavingsAngel.com. This way, you can quickly find what you want online and only clip the coupons you’ll need. One hour invested in planning your purchases each week can save you $80 or more.
Last week, we officially launched our Price Watcher service – which is the first of its kind on the planet. Now, instead of having to search for deals or coupons each week, busy moms and dads can just tell us any type products they want (e.g. organic, gluten-free, diapers) – or choose a specific product and tell us how much money they want to save on those products. Our service gets to work – searching around the clock – alerting them as soon as we find a match. This is a huge time saver – and eliminates so much work that any other service requires.
4. Leave the kids at home, if possible. If you have a list in hand, with coupons attached, you’ll find your trip through the store will go lightning quick – particularly if your list is arranged in order based on the store layout. The only other variable is kids. Retailers and marketers know this variable very well. Results vary wildly on the increased expense of bringing kids with you to the store because every shopper is different – but some shoppers who are impulse-driven to begin with can spend as much as 50% more by having the extra influence of children with them.
Kids are little impulse machines – responding to all the colorful and exciting products which have been marketed to them on tv – particularly through the cereal aisle where ‘kid’ cereal just happens to be at their eye level. In addition to an increased number of unplanned purchases, kids have the uncanny effect of causing more time to be spent in the store. Time equals money in retailing. The Food Marketing Institute estimates that shoppers spend $2.17 for each minute they spend in the store.
Swap babysitting, shop at odd hours when you can leave your kids at home, or at least get your kids involved in the time-saving aspect of getting in and out of the grocery store quickly. It will save you precious dollars.
5. Manage your pantry. Having to throw out food due to spoilage means more time needed to replace the item. Get very good at marking purchase dates on products, rotating, and better displaying your inventory. It’s worth investing an extra few minutes each week if you can avoid a costly trip to the store to buy a can of something that you already have, or at the least several minutes hunting for something you ‘know’ you have. This summer, take an hour or two with the kids and re-organize your pantry and freezer. You’ll probably be surprised at what you have – and may inspire a few healthy meals for this week!
The easiest way to cut your grocery bill in half is through using manufacturers coupons combined with the best sales at local stores. Normally, this takes a lot of work to create a winning shopping list for your family. Each week, SavingsAngel.com combines over 2,000 products on sale at local grocery and drug stores with their enormous database of manufacturer coupons – which are found in Sunday’s newspaper and throughout the Internet. This combination results in access to over 300 products each week for 50% off or better. Here are a few examples of deals that are available until Saturday at midnight. Please look read our blog each week for tips on how you can easily start cutting your grocery bill!