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Spending Less at the Grocery Store
All those trips to the grocery store can add up. The website Cheapism.com explains how some common shopping behaviors can drive up your bill:
- Buying more than you need in order to get a deal. If you are tempted to buy 10 of something to get a discount, ask yourself whether you will use 10. If you end up throwing some of the items out, you are wasting money and food.
- Shopping too often. The most cost-effective way to shop for groceries is infrequently and with a list. If you get into the habit of popping in often for an item or two, you may find yourself picking up a few (expensive) extras.
- Not looking up and down. The most expensive items are at eye level on the shelf -- because manufacturers pay for this placement. If you look at higher or lower shelves, you may find much better prices.
- Buying everything at the supermarket. It is easier to buy cosmetics, laundry detergent and even socks at the supermarket. After all, you are already there. But it usually is more expensive than buying those things elsewhere, such as a warehouse store or even the dollar store.
- Paying more for fresh seafood. Frozen seafood is less expensive, and it also usually is fresher because it is frozen very soon after being caught.
- Letting the store prep your meat. Meat that is already marinated, seasoned, etc., is substantially more costly. Also, try less-expensive cuts. For example, substitute chicken thighs for breasts, especially in chilis and stews.
- Not using a loyalty card. Most larger supermarkets offer some sort of reward – often fuel savings – for customers. Always sign up for the loyalty reward card and present it at checkout. It can pay off significantly.
- Taking the kids. Every parent knows that if you take your kids to the grocery store they are likely to wear you down until you buy that box of sugary cereal or muffins. Leave the kids home. Or if you can’t leave them home, order online and get curbside pickup, so they never set foot in the store.
- Not checking what you have before you shop. Make a list after you have looked in your cabinets and refrigerator, so that you don’t end up buying something you already have plenty of at home.
- Automatically rejecting the store brand. Often the store brand is just as nutritious and tasty as the national brand. In fact, often the store brand is made by the national brand and then put in different packaging.
- Not checking your receipt. According to ABC News, Americans overpay by as much as $2.5 billion a year because of items that did not scan properly. Check to make sure that sale items were scanned properly and that no items were scanned twice. Then turn your receipt over and see if there are any special offers or coupons.