We love talking tech at SellCell.com but perhaps one the subjects we like to target is money saving and money making. The SellCell services aims to make you more cash, so we wanted to highlight another area of your every day life that can put some extra money in your bank account or back pocket.
The cupboard is bare, yet buying groceries really isn’t in the budget. What should we do?
Obviously, groceries should top the list of important budget items, like shelter and electricity. But in today’s economy, even working three jobs sometimes doesn’t cut it. But there is no reason to go hungry. You simply need to know how to shop savvy and get yourself some cheap groceries.
Consider The Major Purchases
One problem with our grocery spending is our tendency to view grocery shopping as routine. Yet there is nothing routine about spending $10,000. Yes, I said $10,000. Did you know that if you spend $200 per week for groceries, your yearly total exceeds $10,000?
If you were shopping for a big ticket item, such as a computer or a flat screen television, you would do research and buy the item at the best price possible. Why don’t we do this for groceries? They are a big ticket item. So do some research and find the lowest priced groceries in your area. Often, you can find cheap groceries in places like Walmart, Aldi, Costco, Trader Joe’s, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club.
Don’t throw away your receipt until you complete a self-audit of your purchases. Circle the five most expensive items you bought. Many times, you can find a substitute for each of these items. When you learn from your mistakes, your grocery bill shrinks.
Is ground beef one of your expensive items? Try ground turkey. If you forgo the low fat, all white meat versions, ground turkey is much cheaper than ground beef, and the fat content is about the same.
Were cosmetics the culprit? Often store brand cleansers and moisturizers are just as effective as name brand versions. And maybe the grocery store is the wrong place to purchase these products anyway.
Perhaps you shopped at a big box store and picked up some cute tee shirts. After all, they were colorfully displayed with a low price of only 9.99. Seriously, though, those weren’t on your list, and you already have tee shirts.
Arm Yourself for Battle
Almost everyone goes into the grocery store with a list. However, this list is often only the items that must not be forgotten, not the entire list of what is needed.
To compensate for an incomplete list, we wander each aisle, hoping to remember what we “need.” Soon a simple 10-item list balloons until bags of groceries completely fill the trunk. To avoid this trap, make a complete list and stick to it. If you are tech savvy, try using some online grocery lists to help you stay focused.
Assess Your Supplies
Plan meals around items you already have on hand. Not only will this lighten your load at the store, it also helps you use these items before they spoil. And almost nothing is more wasteful than throwing away spoiled groceries.
Use Elbow Grease
If you want to save money, you must avoid prepared foods and do some work yourself. If you want to save time, then prepared foods may be perfect for you. But understand that buying already prepared foods, like bags of salad and pre-cut apple slices, is a luxury. That is why these items are priced like luxuries.
Know When to Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk seems like a good idea until you realize that you need to share some of those mangos that looked so enticing at the warehouse store. When you get them home, it’s obvious that you cannot eat them all. Even through you may be able to surprise a friend with some free fruit, the bottom line is that you spent too much on the mangoes.
Bulk buying works when you have room to store the items and when the items are either non-perishable or frozen. Go ahead and buy paper towels in bulk, but buy your milk and eggs at a traditional store.
Use Your Eyes
Marketing professionals expect consumers to be lazy. That’s why they place the most expensive items at eye level. Look up and look down to find cheap groceries. The items that are on the extremities are usually the least expensive.
Make a Second Trip
Buy items on your list at the proper store, the one that specializes in those items. For example, toiletries, like toothpaste, are expensive at grocery stores, but they are cheaper at pharmacies and dollar stores. In the same way, groceries are expensive at pharmacies. Therefore, plan to make more than one stop on your shopping trip.
Use Inexpensive Foods
Some staples are both healthy and inexpensive. When you plan meals around these foods, you can really save money.
Rice. For a whole grain alternative, choose brown rice.
Pasta. Pasta also comes in whole grain versions.
Frozen veggies. They have all the nutrition of fresh veggies without the time sensitivity.
Greek yogurt. Buy the large container of unsweetened yogurt and add your own fruit or honey.
Potatoes. This humble food comes in many varieties.
Bananas. Priced low and full of nutrients, this produce is a real winner.
Oatmeal. Choose old fashioned oats for a whole grain treat.
Beans. Dried beans are almost free.
Eggs. Not only are they a protein powerhouse, they are only a few cents each.
Canned tuna. You can do a lot with a can of tuna. Just ask your grandmother.
Saving money at the grocery store takes planning. Enticing items are placed in easy to reach, colorful displays. And shopping in lovely surroundings is temping. However, you will find that your dollar goes further if you stick to your list and shop in stores that specialize in low prices, not fancy perks.