Deliberate Tips to Grocery Shop in a Cost Effective Way
Develop a Frugal Lifestyle
Grocery shopping can easily become one of those routines that we just go into auto-pilot mode and complete without much thought.However, by allowing that to be our weekly modus operandi, it can end up costing us much more than is necessary over the course of time.Periodically, it behooves us to re-think how we do this weekly task.
So many of our monthly costs we cannot control, or we have limited ability to control.Our grocery shopping budget is one that we do have influence and choices upon how much we spend and our habits that contribute to that bottom line.
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Planning Your Shopping List
This might seem like a ‘no-brainer’ tip, but it’s something many of us know, but don’t actually do, and obviously we won’t get the benefit of it, if we don’t put it into practice.
Make a habit to have an ongoing list on your refrigerator or wherever, to write down household items as you run out.
Plan your week’s menu, and then make your shopping list based on your upcoming meals for the week.You’ll also benefit from simply becoming more organized in this manner and not run out of ideas of what to fix for dinner later in the week.
Some people gather their favorite store’s sales flyer, and construct a menu based upon the weekly specials.Pay attention also to what’s in season, and do some meal planning in that area as well.Not only will you typically get better pricing on those items, they’ll likely be fresher as well.
This is the time also to see if you have any coupons, especially on items that are on sale.Beware however, if it’s not an item you regularly use it could end up costing more in the long run by the purchase of unnecessary items.No unnecessary item is a good deal!
If you choose to shop 2 or more stores in this method, shopping by their sales and based upon your coupons, consider also your time involved to do so as well as gas expenditures.With high fuel costs, it’s not always in your overall best interest to drive all over town to save a few pennies here and there.
Do some fore planning to help you gain the best bottom line cost savings to your food budget.Here are a few tips to consider on your actual shopping trip:
Do not shop hungry!You will be more tempted to buy ‘munchies’ and junk food and anything else that seems to call your name as you are headed down the food isles.This is probably one of the worst mistakes one can make when trying to reduce food costs.
Instead, right before shopping, eat a big, healthy meal filled with high quality protein and make sure you are fully satisfied.Be sure to drink plenty of fresh water as well.Sometimes people can actually mistake thirst for hunger pangs.If you take children with you shopping (or anyone else), be sure to do the same for them as well.
If you have children, try to get someone to watch them for you while you shop.There are a couple of reasons for this.First, it is difficult to comparison shop and gives the children the attention they need at the same time.Secondly, you’ll be dealing with their, “I wants” which can also greatly increase your bottom line food bill.This principal is true if anyone accompanies you food shopping, so go alone if at all possible.
Sometimes grocery shopping at night may work best, it might be easier to have other family members watch the kids then, and sometimes the stores are less busy then.
Grocery Shopping Tips
Be Aware of Grocery Store Merchandising Tactics
A grocery store’s main goal is to try to get consumers to spend more in their stores than they originally intended.There are some specific tactics they use to help accomplish their goals.
Do you main shopping on the outside perimeters of the store first.Typically this will be where the mainstay food staples will be located anyways, produce, meats, dairy.The inside of the stores will be processed foods.Watch out for end of isle displays as well, they are usually highly targeted sales areas.
Usually the highest priced foods are located at eye level on shelves.Look up and below to find better pricing.Many off-brand or store brand foods are just of good quality as the name brand.If you don’t know for sure, try one item of the off-brand, to see if you like it, before stocking up.
Bring a calculator and figure actual cost per ounce or other unit, to help find the lowest cost brand and size.The biggest size isn’t always the cheapest, ounce for ounce.Figure it out and make note for future purchases.
Stick to your shopping list!Put on your imaginary blinders, get in, and get out.Determine if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t go in your cart.Exercise that discipline muscle.If it’s something you had forgotten on your list, write it down for next week’s list.Chances are when next week rolls around, you might not even need it anyways.It will also help you not make too much room for those ‘exceptions’.
Try going for items that are less prepared, and have less packaging.Instead of cut up produce, prepare it yourself at home.Take advantage of bulk food, many times you’ll gain savings because you’re not buying packaging.
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