You can shop smarter to save money. By following these innovative ideas, you’ll be able to use some basic tips in the grocery store to stretch your dollar further and make the most of the items you’re purchasing, while still keeping the same quality and flavor.
Buy Basic Ingredients Instead of Prepared Items or Kits. You’ve heard this before with beverages, why pay for the “added” water in beverages, especially when you can add it and mix yourself? But think about spices and sauces as well. Instead of buying the pasta kit, could you buy the spice packet in the store? Or better yet, consider using the spices in your kitchen to save yourself money. You can find spice recipes online at places like allrecipes.com or food.com, easy and delicious! When we first got married, we would regularly purchase a $6 chicken fajita kit for two that included the peppers, onions, spices, chicken and tortillas. A few years ago, I realized I could make it myself for considerably less. Now for $6, we can have this meal for a family of four twice–so much cheaper!
Your Prep Work Saves You Money. You know this for fruits and vegetables, if you chop or slice it yourself, you’ll save tons of money. But what about meats, cheeses and breads? By cutting, shredding or baking (in the bread machine, of course), you’ll be able to stretch your dollar farther. Consider prepping on the weekends for the week ahead by cutting, shredding, baking, chopping and slicing yourself. Plan one hour each weekend, you’ll be surprised what you can get done! You can use your Bonus Minutes and watch your favorite show as you prep these items, making the task more enjoyable!
Learn to Read Labels. You have unlimited choices in a grocery store, but what does this variety mean? Sometimes you pay more for the specialty. Do you really need the Big-size crackers or will the normal-size crackers do? If you look at the box, the Big-size crackers offer less per box than the regular =-size and they’re the same price–get more for your money and stick with the non-specialty item. Always consider buying bagged fruits and vegetables, traditionally cheaper than selecting individual items yourself. And weigh the bags! 10lbs of potatoes rarely weigh exactly 10lbs–if it’s a little heavier, great–you just got extra food for “free!”
Check Unexpected Places. When we visited Mexico on our Honeymoon, we went to a local market and I was amazed by the vast selection of new, delicious items–especially breads and desserts! Since then, I’ve made it a point to shop in the Ethnic Food Aisles of our Super Markets. Most offer products at much better prices for similar items–you just have to know what you’re looking for. One of my favorites is a Stir Fry Sauce, I’ve never found anything better.
Try New Things. Many manufacturers will provide deep discounts on new products just to get you to try them. I’ve gotten many cheap and free items by testing new products. My latest was a box of cereal for $.75, because I used my great coupon and the in-store sale to maximize my savings. Be on the lookout for new products and save special deal coupons as you see them.
Don’t Always Buy In Bulk. We’ve been trained to think the bigger it is the cheaper it is per unit. However, this isn’t always correct. Use your Smart Phone or bring a calculator with you to discount stores to check the Bulk pricing of items per ounce, pound or relevant unit. You’ll find that sometimes it’s cheaper to buy the smaller package.
Always Check Receipt For Correct Pricing. I’ve been checking every item on every receipt for correct pricing ever since I started Price Matching. After all, with all the work for Price Matching Preparation and Price Matching in the Store, I want to make sure when I’m calculating my savings, I really did get every price scanned correctly, down to the penny. And yes, I’ve gone back to the store for an adjustment as little as $.31 (on my next trip–so I didn’t waste gas). It may sound like just a little, but if every receipt was incorrect by $.31, over the last year, I would have lost about $16–a night at the movies! Take the extra time to check each receipt to make sure you’ve got correct pricing for every item–whether you Price Match or not.