4 Tips For How To Grocery Shop
Okay, here I go again. I had all but completed this post, when I magically erased everything I had written. I wasn’t able to ‘undo’. Talk about a bummer. So, here I go again, writing this post for the second time. Hopefully this second draft is even better than the first!
With the start of school right around the corner, some of you will be off food shopping for yourself for the first time. The quick trips to the store to pick up a snack, or something mom or dad needs to make dinner don’t really qualify as a full on food shop. Regardless, food shopping for yourself can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s easy to get lost in the bright lights, colorful packaging and clever advertising.
Now, some of you may be living on campus and have a meal plan, which means you don’t really need to cook for yourself. However, some of you will be living off campus and need to prep some meals for yourself. Heck, even if you live on campus, chances are you will have a shared kitchen in your dorm that you may feel inclined to use occasionally. In either case, you need to know how to shop for food. When I was in college, I wasted so much money because I didn’t know these 4 tips that I’m going to share with you. If I would have had these tips back then, I would have been able to spend less money on food and more money on experiences with mu friends.
1. Don't blow your budget on snacks.
Snacks, though delicious, are the fastest way to blow thru your food budget. They taste great and serve a purpose, but if you’re trying to stretch your dollar on food so you can do other, more fun things with your money, you may want to ease up on the snack food purchases. Instead, start your shopping on the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you’ll find all of the fresh, more perishable items like produce, meats and dairy. Though these items may not be as tempting, stock up here before you start walking through the snack isles. Things like protein and produce will keep you fuller, longer. Not to mention the fact that it's really hard to eat a lot of protein in one sitting, whereas you can plow through a bag of chips without even realizing it.
2. Switch to store brands.
If you are going to buy snack foods, instead of buying the name brand you know, buy the SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper store brand. Just buying the store brand snacks instead of the name brand snacks will save you 50-60% on food, which means you’ll have that money to put towards other things. Most store brands are made and packaged in the same facilities as your name brand products. They simply travel down a different conveyor belt to be placed in different packaging. This is especially true for things like cheese!
3. Check out the supermarket ads (circulars).
Each week, grocery stores put out fresh ads with the items that are on sale for the week. I NEVER go shopping with out checking what’s on sale. I actually use the sale items to plan my menu for the week. This way I know I’m getting the most for my money. If you're interested in a more deep dive of how I use my circulars to find the best deals, check back next week!
4. Don’t be fooled by clever advertising.
Though the weekly circulars contain some great deals, don't be fooled by clever advertising. Just because something is advertised as being 'on sale' doesn't automatically mean it's the best deal. I hardly ever shop B1G1 sales because most of the time buying the store brand is still cheaper than buying the item on B1G1 deal (if you look a few shelves up or down, you will likely find a cheaper alternative, probably even the store brand of whatever item you’re looking for! )! There are people that get paid a lot of money to design clever advertising, packaging and product placement. A good rule of thumb to remember is that the products that sit at eye-level are generally going to be more expensive because brands will pay a premium to have their products featured there. Instead, look up or down a couple of shelves and you'll likely find a comparable item at a lower price.
There they are! My 4 tips for how to grocery shop! Do you have any grocery shopping tips for saving money? I'd love to hear them! Share in the comments below. If you want me to dive deeper into any of these areas, please let me know. As I said, check back next week for deep dive into how I scan the circulars to find the best deals.