Saving money at the grocery store
In my last blog post, we discussed how developing a meal plan and creating a grocery list helps save money. Let’s continue our conversation by looking at some more money-saving tips while grocery shopping.
If you’re like me, then you are a creature of habit. Pulling items that I always purchase off of the shelves and never taking time to look at new food items. This behavior can save me time but it is important to scan the food shelves from top to bottom. Stores will place the more expensive brands at our eye level so if you are searching for the store brand you most likely will find those either above or below eye level.
As for the cereal aisle? Well, stores generally place the sugary, flavored cereals at our children’s eye level. The healthier cereals usually take up real-estate at the very bottom shelf.
And when you are pulling those items from the shelves, take a look at the “unit pricing,” not just the total package price. Stores do a great job informing us the price per ounce or price per pound, the “unit pricing.” They have done the math for us. So, pay attention to that math and not the size of the package. Remember, too, that “featured” items are not necessarily discounted.
Another saving tip can be with fresh produce. Remember to buy in-season, and buy local to support your local farmers. Think about purchasing a vegetable as whole and not pre-cut. You will save money, packaging, the environment and also nutrients. Once a vegetable is chopped or pre-cut, it will begin to lose its freshness sooner and will begin to lose its nutrient content. Also, the heavier the head of lettuce or cauliflower, the more dense and the better value.
To keep fruits and vegetables from spoiling quickly, store in the correct compartment in the refrigerator without washing.
And lastly, compare. That is, compare the price of fresh, frozen and canned products for the best value.
While we’re talking about canned items, let’s look at seafood and meats. Many times, canned seafood, chicken and other meats are better values. But, don’t limit your protein choices to just meat and fish. Re-think meat alternatives for protein, like dried beans. They are inexpensive and pack a lot of protein and fiber. Better, they can be delicious served as a soup, which is another economical meal.
In my next blog, we are going to talk about more money-saving tips. Until then, if you find yourself at the store, remember this one last thought: beware of the checkout lane. There, you might be tempted by the array of last-minute, impulse buys. If you are hungry, thirsty for something cold, or have an appointment later in the day, then one of those candy bars, sodas or magazines might end up in your cart, adding substantially to your grocery bill. Pay attention and try to limit the amount of extras you purchase.