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Getting Smart at the Grocery Store


If you are a consumer at the average American grocery store, there is a good chance that you are being sold things that you don’t actually need. Grocers use clever tactics like spraying water on produce to make it look fresh, keeping the bread in hearth like conditions, and making the meat section look sterile in order to get you to purchase more than you need at the store. Fortunately for you, there are some methods you can employ in order to equalize the battlefield that is known as the grocery sales floor.

Double Coupons

When you are sitting at home on a Sunday morning, idly watching football and shoving your face full of nachos, you should look through the paper for coupons. After you finish looking through the paper, go talk to your neighbor and see if they are finished with theirs. You can clip out the exact same coupons and get double the savings at any grocery store that honors the double coupon system. If you can’t get your neighbor’s paper, you can use prepaid cell phones to bring up scannable bar codes while at the register.

Ten Dollars Off of a $50 Purchase

I have recently been frequenting a grocery store chain that offers ten dollars off of $50 dollar purchases every Thursday. The only kicker here is that you can only receive the $10 discount on $50 and nothing more. My solution to save money is to visit several different locations in order to pick up all of my necessities. At the first stop I pick up canned and dry goods, then I like to purchase frozen foods at the next, after those two stops I pick up produce, meat, dairy, and all other things that need to be cold. It’s not officially cheating the system, but it feels so satisfying doing it.

Discount Stores

Large grocery stores are great for picking up all of the rare ingredients you may need for cooking dishes such as Paella and Dim Sum. If you are going to eat oatmeal for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch, and meatloaf for dinner, you might as well purchase the raw materials at a place know for savings. Stores like Save-A-Lot and Aldi’s have lower prices because they do not carry as many things as other stores. Instead of doing all of your shopping at expensive stores, pick up your basics at these locations.

Buying in Bulk

If you know you are going to go through a certain product very quickly, you might as well purchase a lot of it in order to save trips to the store. Better yet, you might as well purchase an oversized container so you can save cash by buying in bulk. Outlet stores like Sam’s and Costco specialize in providing excellent deals because they purchase bulk items in bulk. You should follow their lead and do the same with your grocery list.

Purchasing Store Brand Goods

Oreos, Sara Lee, and Chef Boyardee have excellent marketing campaigns and packaging design. Most store brands lack decent packages and commercials, but overcompensate for it with their low prices and near identical quality. Instead of memorizing ad campaigns and jingles, use your common sense and budgetary sensibilities when buying food.

The grocery store is a like a minefield for your wallet. Most retailers want you to spend as much money as possible when you are at their location. Learn how to see through their strategies and optimize your dollars in order to purchase the most food and get the most nutrition out of your dollars.

Save Money


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Although this requires us to be more organized, we buy groceries at 2 stores. We buy fruits and vegetables at the farmer’s market. Household goods at Costco or Target. Many of these do not require weekly shopping.

    • I like your shopping plan krantcents. It allows you to purchase your fruits and veggies locally, and most likely at a lower cost! We’ll have to work on doing the same.

  2. Great ideas, Derek – thank you for sharing them! One caveat though–if folks are driving around to several different stores to gain the maximum savings on their grocery bill; they also need to be mindful that their fuel costs don’t exceed their savings! 🙂

    • Yep! You have to account for gas! Especially today since it’s so high!

  3. I’m a big fan of trying to stay out of the middle aisles as much as possible as a way to save money. All of the junk foods and temptations that end up being budget busters are down there. It is better to stay on the edge and away from the end caps too. But, the outside loop is the best for your money and waistline.

    • Haha. Yep, you’re right, avoid the end-caps.

  4. I shop at Aldi’s for frozen goods. It’s surprising how good their frozen foods are! The other store I frequesnt is a local grocery chain who uses an old-school geo-thermal system to cut down on costs. I can get everything there for much less than other stores, and their sales are unbeatable.

    • I really have to get to Aldi and save a few bucks. I just have to convince my wife that it won’t kill her….

  5. Where is the store that does the $10 off a $50 purchase? The husband and I have really shopped around and found that Target has the best prices on most lunch items, as well as bread and cereal. WalMart seems like it would be the cheapest, but they often are not, and a lot of our foods were not fresh. Will try the double coupon idea! We save lots with coupon clipping and only buying items that are on sale. My piece of advice….even though it may be a little extra gas, the meat at your local butcher is probably less money than the on sale meat at your supermarket and is freshly packaged! We love shopping at Earl’s Meats!

    *Shopping at Aldi won’t kill Mrs. LAMF 🙂

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