Grocery Shopping

Ask Sara

Savings through coupons might look small at the check-out counter on a weekly basis, but add it up on a yearly basis and you've saved a lot. Below are some tips.


  • Organize coupons to be redeemed around the meals you plan to serve. You will not be spending your money wisely if you buy a food that is on sale, but do not know exactly what you are going to do with it.
  • Sort coupons according to the layout of your supermarket; for instance, gather together all the cleaning supply coupons and those for frozen and canned foods.
  • Using coupons for staples such as coffee, prepared foods, cereals and pet foods can save at least 10 percent on your grocery bill. But when you are clipping coupons, save those only for the products you normally use (unless you are really tempted to try something new).


  • Remember that you will pay more for convenience. The more steps you are willing to take for yourself, the lower your grocery bill will be.
  • Buying pre-packaged vegetables is a lot more costly than selecting them from a bin.
  • The cost of shredded cheese may be more than double the amount you pay for a wedge.
  • The cost of a package of plain frozen vegetables is much lower than one that has butter sauce added. If you have the time, add your own butter and save your money.
  • You get more meat per pound when you buy a turkey weighing 12 pounds or more. A 15-pound turkey, for example, will feed 18 to 20 people, while a 10-pounder will feed only 6 to 8. You will save about a dollar per serving by buying a larger bird. You also end up saving time cooking the larger turkey and using the leftovers.
  • Look at prices carefully. Convenience has a cost. Pancakes made from a dry mix are a quarter of the cost of frozen pancakes and a third of the price of ready-to-pour batter. You will save money if you are prepared to stir together your own ingredients. It also is much less costly to cut your own fresh lettuce than buying it pre-cut and pre-washed.

Itemization Organization

As you put items in your cart, try to keep smaller things together. At the checkout counter, put them in bags the same way. Frozen and refrigerated foods go in one bag, canned goods in another, and cleaning supplies and pet foods in separate bags. You will dramatically cut down on the dreaded task of putting groceries away.

Impulsive Buying

Impulse buying can cost you money. Don't shop when you are hungry. Be aware that shopping with children results ina 30 percent increase in spending. Leave the children at home, if possible. It will save time, money and hassle.

Try to impose a time limit on your shopping. If you wander through the aisles and are unsure of what to buy, you are more likely to make expensive impulse purchases.

Article courtesy of FamilyTime. Familytime PC software will help families save time and money because it is six applications in one (Family Calendars, Menu Planner, Recipes, Shopping Lists, Coupon Organizer, & Home Records).

Take the Next Step

  • Once you trim the grocery budget, don't waste that extra money! Consider opening a savings account to start an emergency fund or save for some other financial goal.
  • Continue to look for new ways to trim food costs. Visit our food & groceries section each week to get tips for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.
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