When it comes to funding your lifestyle, whatever form it takes, there are lots of ways you can proceed. But the best and most effective involve making smarter use of the money you have to spend on necessities, without cramping your style. This means cutting down on your grocery bill.

One of the biggest components of your monthly budget is likely your grocery bill.  Even if you’re a semi-regular coupon clipper, you’re probably not saving nearly as much as you could.  Here are some simple tricks you can use, starting today, that will cut your grocery bill in half, or more.

Understand The Sales Cycle

All the major chain grocery stores tend to follow the same 12-week cycle when it comes to sale items.  One week, they’ll offer paper products on sale (paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, and the like).  The next week, they’ll offer detergents and other cleaning products.  Then they’ll switch to canned goods, and so on.  On top of that, all the chains usually have a sale day for certain meat products.  Sometimes, they’ll break these down by type, so Saturday might be chicken, Sunday they switch to pork, and Monday is beef.  Smaller chains tend to bundle, and put everything in the meat counter on sale on the same day.

Mostly, this comes down to just paying close attention to the sales your preferred grocery store is running. And on which days, and plan your shopping accordingly.

Buy In Bulk

trolleyMost people shop for the week, buying everything they’ll need for that week.  This approach actually minimizes you savings though.  Once you’ve identified the sales cycle, you can buy in bulk. Load up on the items that your store is offering the best deal on that week.  Note that when you’re first starting out switching to this method, you’ll still need to buy a regular week’s worth of some things until the big sale for that item rolls around, but once you’ve spent a couple months buying in bulk, you won’t have that problem.

Doubling Up On Coupons

couponYou’ve probably seen, or at least heard about the TV show where “Extreme Couponers” walk into a store and buy a thousand dollars worth of food for almost nothing.

The show actually employs cheats to make that possible, but you can very nearly replicate the experience without cheats.

Stores allow you to use both a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on the same item. So, you can double your savings.  You can actually more than double your savings if your store has “double coupon days.”  In fact, you may wind up getting the item in question for free on those days, and it’s not unheard of to have the store wind up paying YOU for a few of the items in your shopping cart, which comes off your bill at the end.

Manufacturer’s coupons are typically good for three months. So, when you get those weekly sales circulars that are filled with coupons, just use a Sharpie to mark the date on the first page.  You can cycle through them and clip coupons for the items that are going to be on sale on any given week, and save even more.  That’s essentially triple your savings.  The store is putting a given category of items on sale, you’ve got a manufacturer’s coupon, and you can likely get a store coupon too!

Buying in bulk and making better, smarter use of coupons can save you huge amounts of money. And that means more money for you. More money to go out and have fun with, save for vacation, or anything else you want!  The only real drawback is that you may have to invest in some extra shelving to keep all your goodies!