When you go the grocery store it can be difficult to stay focused and get what you need without spending much more money than you planned.

If you’re up to it, the first step you should take is to analyze your grocery store receipts.  Keep all of your receipts for a month and at the end of the period you can add up the amount of all staples that you purchased.  When you know how much milk, how many pounds of meat, and other items you get you can start to budget and plan for your household’s food consumption.

When you know how much you require, you can plan to purchase some items in bulk which can dramatically reduce your food expenses. 

In addition to knowing the food staples that you consume most – it is also good to plan your meals ahead.  Make a short list of what you want to make for a week and then get those ingredients from the grocery store.  Having a list will prevent you from buying what you do not need. 

After you have figured out what items you can purchase in bulk your next step is to determine which stores in your area have the most competitive prices for the items that you purchase regularly.

Get smart when you are comparison shopping and pay attention to the price per pound of items.  Remember that a little bit of flexibility can save you a lot of money.  If one type of meat is less per pound than another – perhaps you can adjust your recipe for the week.  For meat, look for local butcher shops which often have better prices than grocery stores in the same areas.

Another way to save money on groceries is to take advantage of sales.  When you do this, you buy a large amount of the item on sale and then store it in a way that will keep it fresh.  One worthwhile investment to do this may be a second freezer.  This way, whenever you receive a good deal on an item that needs to be preserved you can fit it in your freezer.  It will also let you buy a lot while products are in season and then save them for later.

Learning to cook and buying less processed food can also save a lot of money.  Homemade pizza is not hard, and nor are most of the foods that people often eat everyday.

A final area where people can often save money while grocery shopping is in the alcohol aisle.  Pay special attention to prices on these items, they are an area where a lot of grocery stores have the highest mark up.  Remember the prices of the items that you like at different stores to make sure you are getting the best prices.  It is not unusual to find the same items for 50% less at different stores – shop around!