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One of the biggest budget busters in our house has to be the grocery budget. With one more child on the way our expenses are certain to increase, here are five free surefire ways to save money at the grocery store:

Create a Menu Plan

At the end of each week create a menu for the following week, or two. List out the meals you plan to make that week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Having a defined menu plan ensures you are not guessing when you make your List. You can also use the plan to maximize your use of ingredients, like Beer Butt Chicken one day, then chicken casserole with leftover chicken the next.

Bring a List

Don’t go to the store without a plan of attack. Based on the menu plan you created you should be able to build a list of all of the ingredients you need for each meal, add to that the various staples you always seem to need and you have your list. Stick to the list when you are in the store don’t venture off into the electronics department either, if it isn’t on the list don’t get it.

Shop Alone

It sounds like a strange way to save but trust me it works. I spend at least 50% more on groceries when my wife goes shopping with me. She will even tell you that if she is going with me we are not going to stay under budget. Having other people, adult or adolescent, around while shopping adds another level of potential distraction and temptation. Go it alone and you will notice a difference.

Buy Generic

There really is not that big of a difference between most store brand and name brand foods. Try various generic products where you would normally buy name brand. You will find some are not going to work but most of them will. Try discount stores like Aldi as well, they specialize in generic and I have found their quality is actually a little better than Walmarts Great Value Brand.

Price Match

I don’t like to drive all over town so I do most of my shopping at Walmart. The problem is they don’t usually have the best prices on meats because they don’t run sales like Kroger or Food City.  Walmart, however, has the low price guarantee and will match any competitors advertised price for the same product.  All I do is bring the ad that shows Tyson chicken for $1.99 lb and when I check out I tell the cashier I want to price match. After a confused look and a manager later I end up paying the sale price at Walmart. Saving on Gas and time.

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Bonus Tip

I don’t know why I didn’t make this a 6 tip post, I left off using a Price Book to track grocery store price trends. If you haven’t read my post on using a Price Book yet then check it out as the Bonus Tip.

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