One of the things SavingsAngel.com teaches members in its free Grocery Savings eCourse is that coupons aren't the only way to save at the store. Here are seven money-saving tricks you can use this weekend ““ no coupons required.
Use a smaller cart or basket
Martin Lindstrom, a marketing consultant, reports on his website that cart size matters. When given a cart that is double the size, shoppers may buy up to 40 percent more. Avoid the trap by selecting the smallest cart available or carrying a basket.
Take your iPod and some peppy music
We all know time is money, and grocery stores are hoping you'll stick around for as long as possible. After all, data from The Food Marketing Institute indicates we spend around $2.17 per minute in the store.
Rather than let the sleepy store music slow you down, pop in some ear buds and listen to something that will have you cruising through the aisles. Just be sure your volume isn't loud enough to annoy other shoppers and turn off the tunes in the checkout lane.
Write down your usual prices
Quick: what is a good price for the ten foods you eat most often? If you're not sure, you're probably in good company. Many people can only recall, with certainty, the price of a few basics such as bread and milk.
Unfortunately, if you don't know the regular price of food, you also don't know when something is a good value. Make a point to jot down the prices of the items you purchase most often. Then keep it with your shopping list so you can double check to see if a sale is stock-up worthy.
Skip the “fresh” seafood
The fresh seafood you're buying might not be as fresh as you think. It's not uncommon for seafood to be frozen for transport, thawed upon arrival and then sold for a premium as “fresh.” Look for the fine print on the label or ask an associate in the department. If it's been previously frozen, save yourself some money and buy from the freezer case instead.
Don't buy from the deli
Deli meats and cheeses are expensive, and usually there is a cheaper version being sold just a few feet away. Before you pay extra to have your meat custom sliced, look for prepackaged meats and cheeses that may be less expensive and just as fresh.
Shop during off-times
There are several reasons to shop when the store is less busy, such as a Tuesday night. First, you can get in and out quickly. Second, you avoid all the impulse buys that may crop up as you see what your fellow shoppers are buying. Finally, slow nights may be when stores do their markdowns and that could mean you could get first pick on reduced price merchandise.
Let the store butcher save you money
Finally, hit the full-service meat counter to save time and money. Most meat departments are happy to do some free slicing or grinding upon request.
Pick up a roast and let the butcher turn it into steaks, stew meat or ground beef. Whole pork loin can be turned into chops, and a ham can be sliced into lunch meat for a fraction of the price you'd pay at the deli counter.
For more money-saving tips, head to SavingsAngel.com for our free Grocery Savings eCourse or listen to my new podcast.
Josh Elledge is chief executive “Angel” of SavingsAngel.com, a website that teaches consumers how to save money through a free grocery Savings video eCourse. SavingsAngel also provides hundreds of 50% off or better deals each week to members by matching local grocery and drug store sales with its free database of over 5,000 accessible coupons.