How to Stretch Your Grocery Dollar – A Philosophical Approach

by Jenn Fowler | November 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm | comments

Before you can enjoy all the emotional and health benefits of eating a meal with your family, you have to get a meal to the table! Food prices continue to rise, and savvy families have to be mindful of their grocery budgets. Now, I could tell you to save money by using coupons, shopping the sales, stocking your pantry, comparing unit prices or by shopping at alternative locations, such as farmers or ethnic markets…but you’ve probably heard all of those ideas before! Today I’m taking a slightly different tactic– helping you save at the store by changing the way you look at your shopping list.

When it comes to saving money, there are really only three methods:

  • You can simply not buy the item: Go into the grocery store with a specific list of items your family needs, and try not to veer from this list (even if the freshly baked cakes smell delicious)
  • You can buy something similar (but different): What on your list can you make less expensive substitutions for? Can you buy chicken thighs instead of boneless chicken breasts or even substitute that pork that’s on sale this week? 
  • You can buy the actual item for less: You can use coupons, ad match or buying items on sale.

Take a look at your shopping list with these strategies in mind. First, eliminate the items you don’t truly need. Next consider which items you are willing to make substitutions on-when you get to the store check your unit prices and buy an alternate. Finally take the items you can’t live without and won’t accept substitutions on and keep your eyes peeled for sales or coupons and stock up!

So what do you think?  Have you ever used any of these strategies to save?

*note: this philosophy holds true for ANY type of purchase

Jenn Fowler is a blogger, speaker, social media consultant and ex-Army Officer. She lives in a quaint village in Upstate New York with her husband Yankee Bill and their two wild and creative children—Princess (10) and Buddy (8). When she isn’t blogging about living a good life on a budget at Frugal Upstate, she is gardening, reading, acting, crafting, cooking and knitting—although not necessarily in that order.