10 Tips That You Know, But Don't Do, That Will Save You Money When Grocery Shopping
Posted on September 02 2020
Ah. The grocery store. Remember when trips to the grocery store were fun? Back when you were kid free and had no worries? You’d suddenly get the craving for ice cream at 10 pm and drive to the store to buy a carton, throw in a pair of socks and a “Lean Cusine” for lunch tomorrow. $12.83! You pull out a $20 and keep the cash for the vending machines at work. Sweet!
But now that you’re a parent? Trips to the grocery store should be classified as missions. Everyone inside is an enemy. Trust no one. Price check everything. Make sure you have your list before entering. And now, with all the COVID-19 restrictions, you have to remember not to touch your face and to wipe down every single thing. It can be exhausting. And you are no longer pulling out $20, you are handing over your ATM card and hoping the total doesn’t have a 3 in front of it for your family of 4!
And while we don’t have many tips that’ll help you navigate the wild west aisles of the grocery store, we do have some tips and tricks on how to save a little money while you’re inside.
- MAKE A LIST AND STICK TO IT!
Sorry for yelling, but this truly is so important. Forget the “don’t shop while hungry” warnings. Don’t shop without a list! That’s the true warning. Before you enter the battlefield, go through your kitchen and find out what you need. Write it down, and when you’re going down those aisles, try your best to stick to the list. Sure, maybe that wacky new Oreo flavor is calling your name, but you don’t need it!
- DON’T BE AFRAID OF FROZEN FOOD!
We all want to be the type to jog down to the farmers market with our reusable bags and pick up just enough fresh, organic produce to get us through the week, but that’s not always feasible. Not only can it be expensive, but sometimes fresh produce can go to waste if you don’t plan accordingly, or if minor emergencies happen and you don’t have time to cook. And let’s be honest, with small children running around, minor emergencies are going to happen.
So don’t be afraid of frozen vegetables and fruits. They are flash-frozen at peak ripeness to ensure the flavor and nutrients remain intact. As long as you don’t boil the nutrients away, frozen veggies are just as good (if not better!) than fresh. Plus, they’re usually cheaper.
- BUY IN BULK WHEN IT MAKES SENSE!
Some people go a little bulk crazy. They take one trip to Costco and all the sudden they have 37 tilapia fillets. But sometimes, buying in bulk makes a lot of sense. Buying pasta and rice in bulk? Smart moves. Buying olive oil in bulk? Smart move. Spices? Smart move. Laundry detergent? Smart move. Cereal? Smart move. TILAPIA? NO!
- FOCUS ON CHEAP RECIPES!
Look. We get it. You watch one episode of MasterChef and think you need to step your cooking game up. You start looking up creative ways to use truffle oil and saffron. Stop doing that! Your kids should only know one truffle, and that’s the truffle shuffle. We’re not saying to never spoil yourself in the kitchen, but if you’re trying to save money, you need to keep the recipes simple.
Chili, pasta, soups, stews, casseroles, roasted vegetables, and the list goes on and on. Also, if you’re trying to increase the amount of spices you have in your pantry, do it little by little. Buy one new spice every shopping trip. It takes time to build great things.
- LOOK FOR SALES AND PLAN YOUR MEALS AROUND THEM!
Yes. Sales still happen. Heck, every week most local grocery stores still send out ads. Instead of throwing them in the trash, study them and plan your meals around the items on sale. Sign up for their rewards program as well. It might seem like an unnecessary step, but it does save you money.
- MAKE YOUR OWN SWEETS!
We all need something sweet occasionally, but that cookie aisle can empty your pockets. Instead of buying a package of cookies, buy the ingredients you need to bake your own cookies! The ingredients might add up to be more expensive than the package of cookies, but those ingredients will last you much longer! You’ll be able to bake multiple batches of cookies.
Homemade cookies taste better anyway.
- DON’T SHOP WHILE TALKING ON YOUR CELL PHONE
You try to multi-task but this can get you caught up. The supermarket is hoping that you are not playing close attention. One supermarket employee explained that sales signs are positioned to be deceptive.
“For example, it would offer 50 percent off a ten-ounce package of deli ham and put the sign right between the ten-ounce packages and the 16-ounce ones. Shoppers would wind up grabbing the wrong one and paying full price.”
- DON’T GO WHEN THE STORE IS CROWDED AND AVOID THE WEEKENDS!!
Studies show that most consumers buy more when the store is crowded because they subconsciously want to be part of the group. Mondays and Tuesdays are the best days to shop. Whatever you do, avoid weekends.
- LISTEN TO YOUR OWN MUSIC & SHOP FAST – GET IN & GET OUT
Supermarket music is purposely selected to give you a calm, peaceful comforting feeling so you can stroll. If you notice, they target 30 – 50 year olds, and play the top pop songs from your early teens to early 20’s. That hits you in the feels. You slow down, because “this is your jam”. They know the longer you shop the worse your decision making ability becomes.
There is actually an official study out of Bangor University that shows that after 23 minutes, shoppers transfer from logical thinking to emotional thinking. After which you begin to think with the emotional part of your brain which can only guess at the value for money.
They also indicate that after 40 minutes - the time taken for a typical weekly shop - the brain becomes tired and effectively shuts down, ceasing to form rational thoughts altogether.
Get in & Get Out!!
- LEAVE THE KIDDOS AT HOME!
Besides getting a much needed break, you need to get what you came to get, without the temper tantrums, the requests for food and cereal that you know they won’t eat and chances are with the distraction, you will forget something and have to come back. Not to mention the time that you sit in the car, in the parking lot, and eat grapes from the bag, or drink a soda in peace is classified as much needed Self-Care!