Today’s shopping trip at Kroger was a good example of how there are many different ways to save money just by shopping a little differently. I’m writing here about my trip to Kroger, but the tips are general and apply to many grocery stores.

1. Keep the kids happy!
Our first order of business when walking into the store is to go to the floral counter and ask for our free balloons to keep my boys happy. I also bring water and a snack for them, but the balloons are the main source of entertainment. I never knew they gave out free balloons, until one day I was desperate for a distraction and tried to buy them balloons – “oh no, we give out free balloons to the kids!” Great, I like FREE.
2. Stroll the Natural Foods section
Natural Foods products are booming and there are lots of free samples and coupons for new products being introduced to grocery stores. I picked up free samples of thinkThin bars and Nature’s Gate body lotion today at our store. I also picked up a “Go Organic” coupon booklet with over $18 in manufacturer’s coupons (find a store near you that has this coupon booklet).
3. Look for Manager’s Specials
I keep an eye out for those yellow & orange stickers that the manager puts on items close to the “take them off the shelf” date to sell them. Today I bought a bag of Fresh Express Complete Salad marked down to $1.29 and then I used my 50 cent manufacturer’s coupon (my store doubles it) – so I paid 29 cents for my bag of salad.
4. Buy Ripe Bananas
A great price on bananas, buy a whole bag for $1. Just pick the best looking bag – many aren’t necessarily overly ripe, but might have a bruise or just be a lone banana (they like to weed out the strays and just display bunches). My two toddlers love bananas, and so we can never have enough in our house. I love making peanut butter & banana (& honey & cinnamon) sandwiches for lunch. And of course we can make banana bread if we have too many ripe bananas.
5. Try the Store Brand
I have not found a Kroger brand product that I did not find an acceptable alternative to the name brand. And I am always surprised by how many products are selling under the Kroger brand and finding new ones all the time. I recently made the switch from Quaker Oatmeal to the Kroger brand – much more affordable. So, don’t get stuck in a rut buying the expensive name brand, try the store brand!
6. Look for Cheaper Formats
Don’t pay for that packaging! Look for cheaper formats of your foods. Juice is a good example, you can buy it in individual juice boxes, refrigerated in bottles, on the shelf in bottles, or as a frozen concentrate. I can’t usually get a better price than a 99 cent can of Kroger brand frozen 100% apple juice (no sugar added), so that’s what I’m buying now. I know it’s cheaper to completely skip the juice and drink water – but I like to drink juice with my breakfast, and I dilute it for the boys to have with their breakfast.
Of course I have more tips – and you have more tips too! I just wanted to share with you what was on my mind from today’s grocery shopping trip.