If it feels like you are wracking up a national debt every time you shop for food, you may find that you begin avoiding going to the store. This might work for awhile, but you have to eat, so it's a good idea to learn how to save money while shopping for groceries.
Make a budget. Determining how much you can afford to spend on groceries before you get to the store will help you avoid impulse shopping. Buying food items on impulse can add dollars to the bottom line, and many times you will discover after spending that money that you forgot several things you needed to get. Once you have the budget designed, make a list of items you want to purchase, then stick to your list.
Eat before shopping. Going to the grocery store hungry will sabotage your efforts to save money. When you are hungry, everything looks good and you will spend much more money than if you had eaten prior to shopping. A small snack and a glass of water should stave off the hunger purchases.
Clip out coupons. Watch local publications for money-saving coupons and cut them out. Keeping a coupon file that is filed by expiration date will help you get the most bang for your buck. Check with your local supermarkets to find out when they have double coupon days. On these days, the coupons are worth twice their face value and can save you even more money.
Shop at several stores. Though it is easy and convenient to do all your grocery shopping at one store, shopping at several centrally located markets can be a money saver, especially if you list what's on sale at each store. Before going shopping, plot your route. Gather together coupons, check your list, and plan to hit the dairy and meat stores last to prevent those items from having to sit in your car for long.
Send in rebates. It is easy to forget about the rebates that come with some food items, however, taking the time to fill them out and send them in can add pennies to your piggy bank. If you make it a habit and do it once a week, it will only take a few minutes of your time.
Buy non-grocery items at another store. Shampoos, deodorants and toothpaste typically have a high mark-up at the grocery store. These items are better purchased at a discount shop.
Candace Webb has been writing professionally since 1989. She has worked as a full-time journalist as well as contributed to metropolitan newspapers including the "Tennessean." She has also worked on staff as an associate editor at the "Nashville Parent" magazine. Webb holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in business from San Jose State University.