|Written by Thomas Conroy|
Introduction: One of the areas of consumerism that generally applies to everyone is food shopping, and the ability to save money in this endeavor is critical to stabilizing overall personal finance. While many people typically browse a few advertisements and head off on a grocery shopping trip the more prudent among us take their time, realizing that an hour spent in preparation can translate into considerable savings at the checkout. There are no real secrets to consistently save money on food shopping, all that is required is just a common sense plan to incorporate on every trip to the store.
Step 1: The first of these money saving tips is to prepare at home by researching which stores offer the best deals on products that are of interest. This can be accomplished by making comparisons of local grocery store websites, taking note of special offers and making use of online coupons. Following this, perform the same task by looking at bulk mailings you may have received. The reasoning for this is that sometimes the store websites are a bit slow to post special offers that may be short in duration. Lastly, don't limit your potential savings to just grocery store type vendors - another excellent way to save money on food shopping is to examine the inventory of local drug and dollar stores, as they frequently post reduced prices to move inventory.
Step 2: Once these actions are completed a shopper should have a general "feel" for where the deals are located, and the time has arrived to prepare a shopping list before heading out to make purchases. It is important to understand that your shopping list should include specific brand names of sale items, but it is equally important to remember to comparison shop right there in the store before placing an item into your shopping cart. On items in which generic versions are of nearly equal quality to national brands, a sale or price reduction on the more popular product may not represent the greatest savings. In essence, when quality is not of the utmost importance always compare the sales items to the generics.
Step 3: A wonderful way to save money on food shopping is to plan your upcoming meals in conjunction with the best grocery offers currently available. By putting a small amount of time and thought into this area of food shopping a wise consumer can incorporate the deals they obtain into making bulk meals that can be frozen, consumed at a later time when ingredient prices may be much higher.