Grocery bills can be a scary expense, but saving money on groceries can help you manage your budget.  Between actual needs and all of the choices you have by just walking around, it can really add up fast.  Feel free to use the following tips to save money on your next trip to the grocery store.

Grocery Store Discount Programs

Some grocery stores have discount programs that enable you to save money. Signing up is usually quick and free.  By signing up with your name, address, and phone number, you receive discount pricing that is not available to non-participants.

My husband and I spend about $350 a month on groceries and at least half of that is at Kroger.  I love the Kroger card program because it allows me to take advantage of their best deals and to donate to my favorite charity by joining it to my card.

Grocery Coupons

Coupons are a very straight-forward way to save money on groceries. You can clip them from your local paper or you can print them from a million online sites.  If you keep your eyes open for deals on the newspaper, you can make your money back for the subscription every week by using a single coupon!

I found a New Year’s Special on the Houston Chronicle that made me the happiest coupon clipper ever – $26 for one year of delivered Sunday papers.  I saved that $26 in my first two grocery trips.  The only trick is to ONLY use coupons on something you were going to buy anyway.  It’s just wasteful to save $1 on a $3 item you wouldn’t usually pick up anyway.  Please keep that in mind when deciding if coupons are a good idea for you or not.

Membership Clubs

The big discount membership clubs now sell as many groceries as traditional grocery stores. You can save a ton of money by buying in bulk at stores like Sam’s Club and Costco if you crave certain name brands that they stock.  I love being able to buy enough Honey Nut Cheerios to feed myself 3 weeks of breakfasts for $7-$8.  Again, since there is usually an annual fee to join, this will only save you money if you were going to want large quantities of what you buy from the clubs anyway.

Buy Online

Amazon.com has a whole section of its website devoted to groceries alone. Breads, beverages, pasta, noodles, breakfast foods, beans, and snacks can all be purchased online. Amazon even sells frozen meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Many of these items are cheaper than buying them in store and can save you from driving to the store.  Plus, you can save even more if you sign up to automatically receive certain groceries on a regular basis.  I haven’t yet tried this service but I’ll be pulling that trigger soon since Total Raisin Bran has just gotten way too expensive around here.

Farmer’s Markets and Produce Stands

As many of you probably already know, farmer’s markets are great for buying fresh produce.  Many times, you can also get tastier, fresher goods at a lower price!  I personally cannot get enough of the local peaches and strawberries.  During their actual seasons, I can pick them up at local grocery stands way cheaper than usual too.

What other great grocery tips do you take advantage of?  What can help us all save a little more on our food?