Budgeting

Buy Groceries With These ‘Hacks’ and Save

BY Anne Johnson TIMEAugust 24, 2022 PRINT

There are excuses from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine to the rising gas costs associated with inflation, but the bottom line is that food prices are up: 10.4 percent year over year from June 2021 to June 2022.

You might feel you need to take out a second mortgage to go grocery shopping, but if you’re willing to do a little planning and compromising, you can beat those high prices. These “hacks” will help you save at the grocery store.

Beware Bulk Buying

Back in the 1950s, an A&P Grocery store manager was having trouble moving cans of beans. He was trying to sell them for 25 cents a can. When they wouldn’t sell, he put a sign up that they were four for a dollar, and he sold out. He up-sold the quantity, and people thought they had a deal.

This ploy is still used. You’ve seen the 10 cans of cat food for $10. Unless it’s marked especially, most of the time, even if they are discounted, you don’t have to buy all 10. You’ll still have the sale price if you buy one or two. Resist the urge to over-buy. If you only need two, buy two and receive the same deal.

Check Recipe and Pantry

You’re looking at a recipe and making your shopping list. But have you checked the pantry and refrigerator for ingredients? Half your grocery list may already be on your shelves. Take a quick look. If you don’t have to buy it, you’ve saved.

Plan Meals and Shop Weekly

The more you go to the grocery store, the more likely you will overspend. Take the time to plan the meals for the week and make one trip to the store. Don’t just plan one meal a night; think leftovers.

Buy a whole chicken instead of expensive individual breasts, cut it up, and cook it as you usually would. Then you can use leftover chicken on a salad the next night. Variations can be done with different ingredients. Use your imagination. By combining meals, you can stretch your dollar.

Keep Inexpensive Frozen Vegetables on Hand

Make it a point to bypass the expensive produce section and head for the frozen food aisle. Contrary to popular belief, frozen vegetables don’t lose nutrients through freezing.

Fresh vegetables and fruit are often transported anywhere from three days to a year. As a result, they must be picked before they are ripe. As a result, they don’t achieve their full nutritional value.

On the other hand, frozen vegetables and fruits are picked when they are ripe and full of nutrients. They are then prepared and frozen within a few hours. They keep their nutrients. Usually, chemicals are not added to frozen vegetables or fruit.

A bag of frozen vegetables can be added to stir fry or soups, and you have a nutritious meal without the expense.

Watch Out for Outdated Promotions

Watch for signs designating sales, but make sure they’re really on sale. If you see a sign that a sale is going on and it’s not marked on the product, take a picture of the sign. Then keep an eye on the running total at the register.

Mistakes are made. And it might not be on sale any longer, but the sign is still up. There’s less confusion if you have a photo showing the sale price. They’ll probably go ahead and give you the discounted price if you’re at a reputable store.

Stay on the Perimeter

Some people go up and down every aisle just in case they see something they want. This is the perfect way to blow your budget. Grocery stores place the most expensive processed foods on the interior of the store where they’re convenient for you to find.

Stick to your list and stick to the perimeter and the frozen vegetable section. By staying on the perimeter, you’ll be less likely to see that jar of expensive pesto you suddenly have the urge to buy.

If you must cut through the middle of the store, use an aisle that doesn’t have products that will tempt you. Go down the paper goods aisle or the pet aisle. That way, you’ll have safe passage to the back of the store.

Pay Attention to Store’s Sales Patterns

A grocery store usually has patterns to how they discount food. For example, they might take a dollar off a product one week, and then the next they always do the buy one get one free sale. This is usually true for all their merchandise.

But remember, just because they have a buy one get one free sale doesn’t usually mean you have to take them both. You can also purchase just one for 50 percent off.

Go Back to Cooking Basics

Cooking from scratch doesn’t necessarily mean taking up valuable time. For instance, it’s easy and inexpensive to make spaghetti sauce. A jar of sauce can cost anywhere from $3 to $5. Just buy a can of tomatoes for less than a $1.

Pour the tomatoes into the skillet and add some ingredients that are probably already in your pantry. And in minutes, you’ll have an inexpensive sauce that is seasoned to your taste.

Imagination with Grocery Shopping

Think outside the box when it comes to grocery shopping. Don’t give up your favorites, but think of ways to make them stretch.

Stick to your list and the perimeter of the store. Don’t forget the frozen vegetable section.

With some planning and imagination, you can save money and still eat healthily.

The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.

Anne Johnson
Anne Johnson was a commercial property & casualty insurance agent for nine years. She was also licensed in health and life insurance. Anne went on to own an advertising agency where she worked with businesses. She has been writing about personal finance for ten years.
You May Also Like