Good Food, Cheap
It’s not always what you buy but how you shop that makes the biggest difference at the register. As you prepare for the big feast and food shop throughout the year, follow these money-saving strategies:
1. Never shop when you’re hungry.
If only you could shop immediately following Thanksgiving dinner! How many times have you wandered the aisles in a low blood-sugar haze, tossing stuff from every aisle into the cart (oooh, toaster strudel!)? Have a healthy snack or a full meal before you make a run to the market so your stomach doesn't out-rule your head.
2. Stick to your list.
You did make a list, right? How else are you supposed to remember whole-wheat pasta AND toilet paper? Besides leaving the kids at home, this is the most obvious way to keep impulse purchases out of your cart. You can also stick to the outside perimiter of the store, where the staple items (which also happen to be healthier) are. Middle aisles have all the sugary, salty, treat-tastic temptations. Steer clear!
3. Check unit prices.
That jumbo jug of name-brand OJ costs more per ounce than the smaller one. Bigger doesn’t always mean cheaper. If your math skills are rivaled by that of the average junior high student, bring a calculator (there's probably one on your cell phone.) A few seconds of addition and subtraction could save you a nice amount week to week.
4. Stock up on sale items.
You're not shopping for the apocalypse, but if it makes sense to buy certain things in bulk when they're on sale, do it! A 6-week supply of non-perishable items should do the trick. By then, they’ll be on sale again.
5. Shop more than one store.
No store is cheapest for everything, with the possible exception of the dollar store (and if you're buying food there, we've got other things to talk about.) Look closely, and you’ll find inflated prices on items you’d least expect. Find a great general grocery for go-to items, and then shop around for the best meats and produce at good prices. A little effort will go a long way!