Give your Grocery Dollars More Power
Wouldn’t we all love to buy more with less? When it comes to your grocery budget, you really can stretch your dollars to have more purchasing power, simply by making a few adjustments to how you shop and what you fill your cart with.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Like many budgetary items, the secret to success lies in well-laid plans. By eliminating the element of surprise and impulse purchasing, you can avoid spending more than you have to on food. Make a shopping list- and stick to it to the letter.
Have a Regular Shopping Day and Time
Further to having a list, it makes sense for both time and money management to compile a list over a set period of time (i.e. weekly, bi-weekly). This keeps your budgeting on track as well as preventing you from spending extra time and extra money on gas travelling back and forth to the store.
Always plan shopping times post-meals, when you are not usually hungry. Grocery stores are laid out to support impulse purchases, and when you are hungry you are even more vulnerable.
Don’t be a Name Dropper
Name brands are notoriously more expensive than no-name brands. Generally speaking, the quality of the product is comparable for a fraction of the price. This applies to everything, from cleaning supplies to canned goods to snacks. A number of no-name brands even offer specialty options like name brands, like low-cal or low sodium.
Have a Mental Map
The layout of a grocery store is not an accident. They are set up in a specific manner, to try to entice shoppers to spend, spend, spend. Typically, it is advisable to stay on the peripheries of the store (that is to shop around the store, rather in the heart of the aisles), because that is where essentials like produce, meat and dairy are located. Center aisles are populated with yummy snacks in glitzy packaging.
Also, be aware of product placement on the shelves. Stores tend to place the product they want you to buy (i.e. the most expensive one) at eye level. Chances are, if you are willing to reach up or crouch down, there is a similar product available at a lower cost.
Use Price Match
While it would be ideal to be able to zip around to multiple stores to get the best prices on all of your essentials, that requires unreasonable amounts of time as well as extra travel costs. A number of stores offer “price match” guarantees. Arm yourself with sale information, and save yourself time and money by creating a one-stop-shop that offers the best prices in town, just for you.
Less Meat, More Money
One major centre of grocery cost is meat. By swapping out meat even a few times a week for meatless options can mean significant cost savings. Items like legumes, for instance are a fraction of the cost of meat, but offer a number of the same nutritional benefits. Not only are you helping your grocery bill bottom line, but a number of health advocates suggest that reducing meat consumption has health benefits as well.