There's really no getting around it, grocery shopping can get expensive. At first, you think it's not going to be so bad, but then you load up the cart with all kinds of delightful treats, and next thing you know the woman at the check out counter is asking you for $80. WHAT?! How does this even happen? I'm my case, probably because my eyes are bigger than my stomach and I love to try new things. But, if those new things are going to go bad, it's a waste of money anyways. So here is how I save a few dollars at the store; none of this information is anything new or Earth shattering, but it's helped me.
1. Know what's in your fridge
There are weird and creepy things lurking in the back of your fridge and/or pantry. Maybe you haven't smelled them yet, but I promise, unless you are super neurotically clean, they are there (as an aside, if you're super neurotically clean and want to help a sister out....let me know, I'll give you the address). Once you go through everything and toss anything that looks more like your 4th grade science fair experiment than actual food, you'll know what you have and can start building meals from there. Also, lessening the creep-out factor of your own home is always a positive.
2. Be a (wo)man with a plan
I've already covered this, so I'll just say again, make some kind of outline of what you're going to eat that week. Shop accordingly.
3. Make a list
My love of listing things knows no bounds. I once actually made a master list of all my lists and it was amazing. But, there is really no need to be that intense about it. However, before entering the store, you definitely need to have a plan. If not, you're probably going to end up with a lot of impulse junk food and nothing to make dinner out of. Here are a few websites that have printable lists, either with check boxes or to fill out yourself. You can also use your smart phone and go with an app.
4. Shop the Circular
Those kind of annoying fliers you get in the mail once a week? You should definitely be looking at those; they show all the sales at your local stores. The link above also has them, or you can try the website of your local stores. Either way, check this out and you're going to save money. I try to only get things that are on sale (it's not always possible, but I try). Unless it's a staple, like milk or eggs, you can probably wait to get it for another week.
5. Clip a few coupons
It is easy to think that in order to do coupons, you have to be an extreme couponer. I personally believe that is a straight up lie. Money Saving Mom is an amazing resource for coupons. She has great tips on where to find them and how to best use them. The ideal is to pair the coupons with a sale, but doing one or the other is also helpful.
Hopefully some of these tips will save you a few dollars to spend on things you love. Like handbags and tank tops. There are some really good resources out there to help if you want/need to be a little more intense with this. The aforementioned Money Saving Mom is a great start, as is And Then We Saved. Happy saving, and be sure to send me a picture of the fabulous new shoes you got with all the cash you've saved on groceries! Also, my best tip...don't go to the store hungry. Just don't. No good will come of this, I promise.