The following is a guest post by Erin Larkin-Rohrer. She is an intern on the Mom’s Talk Network resources page. She worked for years in the corporate world before becoming a full-time mom to two mostly wonderful kids, and a freelance writer/consultant. As an intern, she is learning all about mom blogs, blogging, Twitter, and the amazing assortment of information available on the Moms Talk Network website. Technically she was supposed to return to work full-time when her youngest turned 5 (she’s now 12!), but finds being a WAHM and community volunteer more rewarding.

With the cost of groceries running an average of $208 weekly for a family of four, here are 10 quick ways to save money on food and other expenses next time you go shopping.

  1. Download Hillbilly Housewife’s free PDF on how to cut your grocery costs in half. This smart mom walks you through the grocery store and shows you how to shop and what to buy for a week’s worth of meals. With her tips, you’ll pay half of what the average family now spends. Excellent information and it’s all free!
  2. Plant a garden. Even if you start out with containers on an apartment balcony or with an indoor growing kit, you can still grow lettuce, herbs, or a surprising number of veggies in a small space. Living on a Dime has beginning gardening tips, as well as smart ways to buy the seeds and containers inexpensively too.
  3. Go with a menu plan and a list. Impulse buys add up, but sticking to the list cuts costs. Eat before you go to lessen the chance of impulse shopping and the allure of freshly baked bread.
  4. Stock up on sale items. Grocery stores discount popular items, including cereal, in 10-12 week sale cycles, so when the cereal is on sale, stock up.
  5. Get to know your grocery store. Items in the deli counter, such as Feta cheese, may be more expensive than the Feta found in the dairy. Don’t just look at things at eye level, but scan the shelves high and low for the best prices. Avoid the attractive displays at the end of the aisles: these are what the grocery store would love you to buy, but often not at the best prices.
  6. If you want convenience, you’ll pay more. Chips, snacks for kids, frozen pizza, and prewashed salad mixes add on costs.
  7. If you are a coupon user, consider using sites such as The Grocery Game. This site tracks advertised and unadvertised specials, coupons, and manufacturers’ discounts, and gives you weekly updates on what to buy and when. According to the website, if you play The Grocery Game, your costs will drop by 60%. Another favorite for coupon users is to follow the smart advice at Refund Cents.
  8. Out of 24,000 shoppers surveyed, these stores ranked highest on getting the biggest bang for your buck: Aldi, WinCo, Trader Joe’s, Market Basket, Cost­co, Shoppers Food Warehouse, Wal-Mart, and Stater Bros.
  9. Buy store brands or generic. While some generic foods don’t seem to taste as great as a name brand–I’m thinking peanut butter–there just isn’t that much difference in generic vs. name brand for tomato sauce, frozen vegetables, and crackers. The store brands do tend to be quite a bit cheaper though.
  10. Check the list for what you should buy organic–the dirty dozen–and which foods you can skip. While we want to reduce our food expenses, we still want our families to be healthy too.

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  1. Thanks for the tips. You know this grocery shopping stuff is harder than I thought. It’s probably because I’m not use to it. I bet it gets easier.

  2. Dear Felicia,

    It does get easier. When I first started using coupons when I grocery shopped, I use to get so frustrated. Now, it comes easy to me. Be looking out for a new feature on my blog that will make shopping easier for you. 😉

    Take care,

  3. Great post!!! Hillbilly housewife is in my favorites.

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