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Cut Your Grocery Expenses In Half
by Gena Everhart

If you’re like me, you constantly look for ways to cut your grocery expenses. I’m going to give you some ideas which will cut your grocery expenses in half.

B1G1F – This stands for buy one get one free and it’s the hottest thing going in the lure of advertising for grocery stores at the moment. You should take advantage of these special offers by doing the following homework before buying one of these ‘specials’. Make sure it’s really a good deal – some grocery store chains hike the price up to recover their money on the ‘free’ item. Keep a price comparison book with good sale prices for common items that you buy all the time – this way, you’ll know before you ever set foot in the store if the sale prices are good ones or not. Use your coupons on the B1G1F items. Even if the price has been increased for this ‘sale’, you still may be able to come out ahead by using your cents off coupons. Remember – if you have two coupons for 50 cents off each box of Cheerios and the store is having a B1G1F on Cheerios, you can use BOTH coupons. This reduces the price you pay even more.

The Best Coupons – Did you know that the best coupons with the best expiration dates or even no expiration dates come directly from manufacturers? I’m here to tell you – they do. How do you get these coupons? Pick up a bottle of shampoo in your home. Not a generic brand but a name brand. Look at the bottom of the back label. You will find a distributor or manufacturer’s name, address and/or 1-800 number. Do you like the shampoo? What do you like about it? (or dislike?) Call the manufacturer at the 1-800 number and ask for customer service. Offer your comments. Most of the time, the manufacturer will thank you and will ask you for your name and address. They will then send you – coupons! Often, these coupons have no expiration date and are even for FREE product. I used a name brand hair color because they stopped making the color I had been using. I was VERY dissatisfied with the color results. The color product itself produced wonderful body and beautiful color results – it was just the wrong color for me! I called the company and explained my situation. They offered some suggestions on what to do to correct the color then got my name and address. They followed up by sending me $10 worth of coupons for ANY type of product they make completely FREE. That’s worth the time it took to call. This is not just for personal care or beauty products either. You can offer comments on foods your family likes/dislikes, etc.

The Dollar Store – Dollar stores have popped up everywhere. It takes a bit of shopping around to find one you like but it’s well worth the time it takes. I don’t use these stores for everything but have found that they are splendid places to shop for housewares, household cleansers, notepads, pens and pencils, candles and even candy for the occasional treats for your children. Investigate these stores and use your price books to compare for yourself.

Bakery Thrift Stores – These stores have also appeared in most towns and cities. Some small cities even have more than one. My local bakery thrift store sells short loaves of day old bread for 39 cents and long loaves for 3 for $1.49. That beats the grocery store prices by a long shot. I usually make a trip to the bread store once every two weeks to buy bread, rolls, and even donuts for my family for a two week period. I bring them home and pop them into the freezer to be used as needed. Great savings are at these stores – try it.

Dilute Cleansers and Personal Care Items – This does not work for every product in your home. You must experiment and decide which products can be diluted. I have found that some shampoos, hand soaps, facial cleansers, shower and bath gels as well as cleansers are just as effective if diluted up to one-third with water – but some are not. The thicker products usually produce the best results using this dilution method because they are so concentrated. If I don’t make my own cleansers, I usually buy two types of liquid cleanser in it’s concentrated form – a good de-greaser product and a sanitizing cleanser. I dilute them according to directions and use in a spray bottle. It’s much cheaper than buying already diluted products.

Make Your Own – I have made it a personal goal to learn to make or re-use items this year. So far, I have made my own mouthwash using vodka, water, peppermint oil or flavoring and a little food coloring; my own hand soap for all types of uses (see my other articles for further instructions); my own household cleansers; new bars of soap from small leftover slivers of soap; mixed my own shampoo and conditioner combination and my own aromatherapy items. The library and the internet are great places to look for ways to make your own everything. Take a look at some of my other articles for instructions for some of these make your own items.

Office and Computer Supplies – Don’t necessarily think of the local office supply store as your first stop for these items. Consider your local supercenter instead. Many times you can combine your trips for groceries with picking up items you need in the office supply area to save money on running all over the place.

Laundry Products – Again, make your own laundry detergent. It works just as well as all that perfume, water and coloring you pay for along with the fancy packaging. If you use dryer sheets, tear them in half. They work just as well.

Paper Goods – Consider locating an industrial or janitorial supply outlet to buy your paper goods from. You may have to travel a little to do this so make your trips count. Stock up and store these wherever you have room – under the bed, in the attic, in a closet.

Overstock and Scratch and Dent Shopping – Follow the same advice here as given above in the dollar store section. Sometimes you can get some really good deals at these stores but be careful, sometimes you can get just what you pay for! Refer to your price book often and examine the quality of the item you are considering. I have personally found our local overstock store a great place to buy kid’s toys and games, some household cleansers and pet products, housewares and even socks.

I hope you will try these ideas to cut your grocery expenses in half. You really can do it! I know this method isn’t for everyone because it does take time to investigate these resources and shop them regularly, but if you do, I believe you will find that you will be rewarded by keeping more money in your pocketbook.

For more money-saving ideas and organizing tips, please visit my web site at http://genaeverhart.homestead.com


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