As the recession shows little sign of releasing its grip on the worlds economy, the popularity of the frugal lifestyle continues to grow. And while there are certainly many ways that one can be more frugal, few techniques are as effective as simply watching what you spend in the supermarket each week.
Should you be looking to spend less on your weekly shop, the good news is that doing so is far from difficult. It’s all about being a little more savvy when it comes to the purchases that you do and don’t make. Here are ten simple ways to save on groceries.
Study the Shelves
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Supermarket designers aren’t stupid. They know that many consumers will automatically choose products that are positioned between waist and shoulder height. Because of this, the middle shelves are typically where you will find the products with the highest mark ups. To get the best deals, take your time when walking around the aisles. Always examine the top and bottom shelves.
Many consumers avoid generic products as they automatically assume that they are inferior. Contrary to popular belief however, this isn’t always the case. While some generic products should be avoided, others taste identical to their branded counterparts. Experiment with a few generic versions of your favourite products, lower prices don’t always mean lower quality.
Time Your Visits
Hungry shoppers tend to buy more food. The same applies to those who are tired or cranky. Going shopping with children is also not to be recommended. Provided your schedule allows, time your visits for maximum frugality. This means shopping alone, when you’re in a relaxed mood and of course, when you’ve recently eaten.
Bigger Isn’t Always Cheaper
Most people assume that when they purchase something in bulk, they’ll automatically get a lower unit price. While this is usually the case, there are exceptions. When purchasing something that comes in multiple sizes, always take the time to do the math. You might be surprised to learn how often the smaller size is better value.
Write a List and Stick to It
Never hit the supermarket without a clear plan about what you want to buy. Always shop with both a list and the discipline to stick to it. Make no mistake, supermarkets are designed to encourage you to make impulse purchases. Keep this one simple rule in mind: if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t go in the trolley.
Supermarket loyalty doesn’t pay. In fact, it can be incredibly expensive. Get into the habit of comparing prices the day before you do your weekly shop. As prices go up and down, and promotions come and go, last weeks bargain supermarket might be this weeks most expensive. Of course, if you’ve got the time/patience, some serious savings can be made by dividing your weekly shop across two different supermarket chains.
Find Expiring Products
Most supermarkets reserve a shelf or two for products that are about to expire. Such products are typically available for less than fifty percent of their retail price. To benefit from such discounts, try to establish when such shelves are usually stocked. Most supermarkets mark down meat and bread on a particular day of the week. Provided you freeze what you purchase, the expiry dates are irrelevant.
Many consumers don’t use coupons as they think they don’t have the time. The reality however is that you don’t need to obsess over coupons to benefit from them. Simply spend a few minutes each weekend looking both online and in your local newspaper. Keep what you find organised and just throw them into your pocket every time you head to the supermarket.
Don’t Purchase Everything in One Place
Purchasing everything in the same store might be convenient, but it’s rarely the cheapest choice. The cheapest vegetables are usually found at farmers markets, toiletries are typically cheapest in thrift stores, and the best value meat is typically found in the butchers. Sometimes, if you want the lowest prices, you need to be willing to travel a little out of your way.
Avoid Junk Food
Finally, saving money on your groceries makes sense but harming your families health in the process certainly doesn’t. Don’t switch to junk food just to save a few dollars. It might be cheaper but in the long run, you’re getting a raw deal. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more for something that you know is healthier i.e. wholegrain bread and lean meats. Such products aren’t always cheap but then again, neither are medical bills.
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- License: Creative Commons image source
- License: Creative Commons image source
Joseph Allen is a finance student and is planning to become a financial advisor. He says that Lost Super is really good at handling your superannuation accounts.