Do dollar stores really offer a good price?
My mom always told me to steer clear of the dollar stores, and that was back when there weren’t many of them and they were not really a player in the grocery business. Wow, has that changed in the 21st century! In the past several years alone, the number of shoppers in these stores has grown by 500%. Dollar stores have added plenty of food items from milk to eggs, cereals to brand-named package goods, and the chains have grown to be household names in every neighborhood.
More shoppers mean manufacturers are now selling directly to dollar stores, including companies like General Mills and trendy start-up companies like Hampton Creek. They’re even becoming suppliers to the stores’ own “private label” (store brand) products. Continue reading
Planning healthy meals in advance makes your shopping easier
Shopping for healthy choices can be a real challenge. The supermarket’s goal is to get you to spend more and the selections of glamour packaging and promotion often makes finding healthy choices difficult on a budget. Factor in your time and energy to inspect labels and contents and you will see that it can lead to “easy” choices which may be poor ones. In the long run, it costs more money if your health is impacted and your spending on medical care increases.
A few months ago, my wife and I began making changes to our diet to improve our health without making a dent in our budget. Buying fewer processed foods, more whole grains, leaner proteins and more fresh produce has helped us to lose weight and feel better. Do you have the right ingredients for a healthy diet on a healthy budget? Continue reading
Buying fruit in season saves money and provides better quality
Buying fruit in season, even more so than vegetables, allows you to save money based on the increased supply as well as obtain better taste. The selection of fruit in the supermarket has changed over the past few years and in most cases this has lead to a better variety, selection and freshness factor. The fruit is available from places around the world and now caters to the diverse nature of our population featuring items that weren’t available locally just a short time ago. Local produce is featured in season at your supermarket, and that insures top freshness and lower prices if you take advantage. Here are some hints that can save you money and make your fruit selections top notch.
Buy vegetables in season for the best value and taste
Selecting the right produce is a challenging shopping endeavor that can mean great value and health for you and your family. Buying your fruits and vegetables in season is an important way to save money, eliminate waste, and obtain the best flavor. The keys are knowing when are the best times to buy a particular item and what qualities to look for.
In this day and age, most fruits and vegetables are available all year long now that produce is available from various parts of the world. However, there are peak seasons that insure the best quality and value. Here are a few tips that can insure your satisfaction:
How much does your ice cream really cost?
About 24 months ago, the first manufacturers began to reduce the size of a half gallon of ice cream from its historical 64 oz. package to just 56 oz., without reducing the price, and barely anyone even noticed it! With retail pricing being kept at the same level, it didn’t seem like much of a hardship for anyone to have to pay for less ice cream, and manufacturers saw this opportunity to fight cost overruns and maintain or even increase their profit margin. This minor change in size can actually produce an additional 12.5% profit (and expense for you and your family). The prices of some brands and packages have continued to climb, and many are now selling their “half gallons” as 48 or even 45 oz. packages. Another loss for consumers of 11-14% from even the 56 oz. shrinkage.
Shop smarter with your grocery list
Creating a grocery list will save you money, but what you really want to do is slash your food bill and save thousands every year! How can you do that?
Pick a time of day to create your list when it’s quiet and you’re not hungry. In fact, make sure you’re not hungry when you shop. Studies show that when we are thinking “hungry” we tend to stray from our list and buy impulse items, which can add considerable expense to your bottom line.
The most important step to creating a smart list is to shop the sales. Let the supermarket weekly circular serve as your guide. Each week, go online or check your Sunday ads or weekly mailed flyers to see what items you should build your week’s menu and shopping list around.
Check the price per weight for easy comparisons
To compare supermarket prices, it’s important to look at the “per unit pricing” on every item you are buying. By law, every supermarket must have a comparable price on its shelf so that you can literally compare the “apples to apples” price. For example, let’s say you are comparing two brands of granola bars and one box has 8 bars and the other has 10. By comparing the “per ounce” prices on the shelf tag, you can easily see which one is the better value.
You probably know that in general, larger packages are sold at lower per unit prices, but it isn’t always true! The most obvious exceptions are items that are “on sale”, where literally a smaller package can be 10-80% less than the larger package of that product on a per ounce or per pound basis. When you stop and look at items, some may have 4, 5 or even 6 different sizes available! When you add coupon or discount savings to the offered price it can increase savings dramatically.
Save money by picking the best sales
The term “cherry picking” refers to the concept that every week a grocery store will feature several sale items with extreme value pricing, so low it may be worth buying and even stocking up on them for rare dramatic savings. There may be a qualifying purchase attached such as “save $3.00 on a 12-pack of cola when you spend an additional $25.00” on your groceries that day (with reward card and coupon)! If you normally pay $3.99, this is a 75% savings on your purchase! If you can find several others like this kind of savings, it may be worth it to purchase some of your regular staples to get these deals.
There are numerous chains around trying to persuade you to shop with them. If you go to each store and “cherry pick” their best advertised sales, you will save many dollars more than using only one market that week. As long as you’re not buying things you don’t need or don’t use, or traveling outrageous distances wasting your valuable time and gas, I recommend you at least check out markets near your home and/or workplace to cherry pick.
Save more with certain cuts of meat
Meat is plentiful and often is a lead item in supermarket advertising. It always has a per pound price and is somewhat descriptive in its cut, sometimes even pinpointing fat content. When you shop, there are many aspects to be considered:
- What minimum weight, if any, needs to be purchased to obtain the lowest price? Markets typically impose a 3-pound weight purchase to get the best deal. However, sometimes packages are made that may actually have less weight and still offer the better per pound price. Examine as many as are displayed if you don’t require a large amount. If you buy a large amount, consider freezing some to use at a later date.
Use the self-checkout to save time
Supermarkets are always trying to improve the speed of your shopping trip as well as keep the labor costs down and still provide you with a complete savings-filled trip each week. The self-checkout saves them money and it allows them to pass that on to the consumer in the highly competitive, low profit food industry.
The self-checkout has come to be a basic in most supermarkets after 15 years of growth. In most stores, a good 4 to 8 checkouts are now functioning for those tech-savvy shoppers who are in need of a quicker shopping experience for their very busy lives while still being able to offer all the discounts, coupon usage / distribution, and other perks.