Musings: Grocery Savings

Today’s topic is: “How do you save money on your grocery bill?”


You’ve probably heard lots of advice: “don’t shop hungry” or “only shop off your list” or “you’ll save hundreds with coupons.” While that’s good advice, and I’ve used them all at one time or another, I find this tip even more helpful…


My grocery store, like nearly every store in the country, has a large open produce section on one end, a deli and butcher counter along one wall, and rows and rows of frozen and/or processed food in the middle.

Since my husband is very particular about the types and quality of food that come into the old farmhouse, I generally fill up my cart with fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese, peanut butter, and oatmeal. (Our beef and pork comes from local farmers and/or extended family members. We raise chickens to provide both meat and eggs. We buy flour in bulk and bake much of our own bread.) That means that (with only a couple of exceptions like tea, spices, and baking supplies) I can completely ignore all of the aisles in the middle of the store!

And if I don’t walk past hundreds of those shiny, colorful bags of chips and cookies or boxes of sugary cereal and Hamburger Helper, I’m less likely to put them into my cart (thereby saving us tons of money).

Now that I think about it, I honestly can’t remember the last time I went down the artificially-colored-carbonated-sugar-water aisle. Whenever I get near it, I hear my husband’s voice saying “These are not the sodas you’re looking for.” Actually, he’s not a Star Wars fan, but I am, which is why I quote Obi-Wan Kenobi in my head while wandering through the grocery store. I’m guessing it’s not the weirdest thing someone has done while shopping. (And at least I don’t say these things out loud!)

So believe me. It’s much easier to resist these unhealthy and expensive (yet so appealing) temptations if you simply avoid them. I’ve even gone part-way down an aisle, found my item and turned around so I wouldn’t have to walk pass all the other goodies to get to the other end. This is especially helpful in the frozen section, where I’m convinced that the ice cream cartons have been magnetically charged to leap into my cart of their own accord. It’s no wonder that once I get home, my husband doesn’t understand how ice cream made it into the bag next to the frozen green beans. After all, my reusable grocery bags aren’t made of metal.

**Bonus Tip: Most stores off a 5 cent discount if you bring your own bags (even if you bring plastic ones to reuse). Our family saves more than $12 a year.**

If you have a tip for saving money at the store, please share it in the comments below.

~ Phoebe DeCook

(P.S. If you missed my introduction to these “Musings”, you can read from the beginning here.)

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2 thoughts on “Musings: Grocery Savings

  1. Mary Eastvold says:

    I try to go with a list and skip the isles where I don’t need anything, as much to save time as money. But sometimes, it pays to hit every isle just to browse and try some new things. I bought a different dishwasher drying agent because it was on sale. My 20 year old glasses are looking better than they did years ago. Just need to avoid the things I really don’t need, like mint crispy Oreos.


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