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There was a time in my life I was able to grocery shop without thinking too much.  We weren’t loaded, and I probably should have been more budget minded, but no excuses, I wasn’t.  Now that I stay home with my children and live in a slightly higher cost of living area- budget is at the forefront of my mind EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

I’m not a couponer.  I want to be, but every time I try, I get frustrated at the quality of coupon products.  We eat from scratch most of the time.  I don’t see a lot of coupons for staples.  The few I see don’t warrant the work it seems couponing requires.  So, I want to share with you some ways to crunch numbers wisely at the Grocery Store without coupons.

  1. Meal Plan– I set up my meals for the week(s) first.  Keep in mind what you already have and try to use it.
  2. Lists– I keep a running list of staples on the refrigerator.  After I make my meal plan, I build my list by zones in the grocery store just as I will walk through.  In my store: Dairy, Meats, Aisles, Produce, Frozen
  3. Cruise the Perimeter– The good, crunchy-mama friendly stuff is along the walls.  Staying off the aisles saves money and keeps you focused on your list.
  4. Make it, don’t buy it– I try to buy single-ingredient products.  Making multi-ingredient items at home is less expensive (and as a bonus, typically healthier).  Examples: Pancake mix, spaghetti sauce, crackers, cookies, taco seasoning, apple pie spice, flavored yogurt… I could go on!
  5. Seasonal Shopping– Buy fruits and veggies in season.  If produce is in season, it’s growing cost and/or shipping cost is down to the store, therefore reducing your overall total!
  6. Shop Local– Cut out the middle man and support your local farmers by looking into a farm box, co-op, or farmer’s market.
  7. GardenYou can’t get more local than your back yard or porch.   Also, look into having hens if it’s permitted.
  8. Freezer Friendly– Cut your fruits and veggies, seal, and freeze.
  9. Meat Sales– Meat is statistically the most expensive ticket item I buy.  Keep an eye out for sales on meat, especially organics, stock up and freeze what you won’t use in the next few days.
  10. Have a Cow, Man! Go in with some friends on the meat from a whole cow.  It is costly upfront, but will save you in the long run.
  11. Flyers and Sale Ads–  No clipping required, you don’t have to remember to take anything with you, and you will save!
  12. BOGO– My favorite grocer has a set of BOGO bins right as you walk in the store!  I just look as I pass by and stock up on anything I would normally buy.
  13. Keep a running tally– I carry my list and I write the price, rounded up, out to the side. I tally as I go, and if needed, I put things back.
  14. Set a budget and stick to it– The best plan is to shop with only cold, hard CASH.
  15. The Family Factor– Most, myself included, prefer to shop alone, but I am more budget friendly when I shop with my kids!  They are a ticking time-bomb, so I keep focused, keeping me on budget.  The husband on the other hand makes me have total GSADD (Grocery Store Attention Deficit Disorder) Do what works for you.

Some of these are just goals for us.  Don’t stress over doing it all.  Do you have any tips or tricks you would add to this list?