I've had some requests to talk about how Eric and I save money at the grocery store so I've compiled some tips.
1) Sign up for discount cards
Sign up for the discount cards available at the places you shop. Target has a debit card that saves you 5% and goes to an existing bank account, Hy-vee has a fuel saver card where the groceries you buy save you cents off per gallon of gas. Fair warning: don't buy something you don't need because there's a coupon for it or because you'll get something on your discount card.
2) Plan what you will buy before you buy it
Looking at your pantry and refrigerator and see what you NEED for the next week, 2 weeks or whatever about of time. Have a list, and buy from that list. Stores are set up to get you to buy more stuff, don't do it.
3) Use coupons
After making your list, look at the coupons that are available to you. Look on manufacturer's websites, store ads, and the Sunday paper. Keep in mind that coupons are good for longer than a week.
4) If able to in your state, RETURN YOUR CANS
In Iowa, any time you buy soda or alcohol you pay 5 cents per container. A lot of people pay this and then just throw away the cans and bottles. While it is a disgustingly arduous task to return your cans, if you are gazelle intense about getting out of debt and saving money, this is where that intensity comes in.
5) Sign up for Upromise and Savingstar.com
If student loan debt is one of your debts, or you have children who you want to start a college fund for I encourage you to sign up for Upromise.com. They have a lot of popular retailers that if you go through the Upromise website to the retailer's website you get 5% back and sometimes there's a deal on top of that.
If you buy some name brand stuff, Savingstar.com is a great website. You register a store card that you already signed up for in step 1 and then look at their site for coupons that you can download to the card. I generally download them all and then if I use them, I use them. Then when you use the coupons you get so many cents back that you can then just load into your bank account. So your price will be the same at the register however, you can use these in addition to other coupons.
6) Avoid name brands
This is a huge one for us. This does limit the amount of coupons we use, but our overall price is often way cheaper. For example this week I had to buy some bread Sara Lee bread was 2.69 for a loaf of bread, Hy-vee was about 1.58 and Midwest Country Fare was 99 cents. To me, the bread is the same, I don't get anything more out of Sara Lee bread than Midwest Country Fare so there's no reason to pay over twice as much.
7) If it's something you use a lot, buy it in bulk
We have a Sam's club near us, so we go there (but we're switching to Costco at the end of the year because it's cheaper for membership) If you have a Sam's club or Costco near you I would encourage you to buy items there when you can. For example, we eat a pasta dish about 3 or 4 times a week, so we get mac and cheese and hamburger helper there. Sometimes those places have awesome deals on random things. For example, we got 8 energy saver light bulbs for about $5. However, the stock on these things changes from month to month so I would check the saver ads they send out as part of a membership before making a trip over.