Grocery Shopping Secrets the Stores Don't Want You to Know!
Grocery Shopping vs. Meal Shopping
If you shop by your taste buds instead of shopping to stock your freezer and pantry --- you're just the type of customer that grocery store owners love. You'll be in the store on Wednesday for spaghetti fixins and back in the store by Friday for some catfish. And store owners know that the more often you shop --- the more you'll spend. Make it a habit to go grocery shopping versus meal shopping. Plan a weekly menu and shop on days when you can double-up on coupon savings and specials.
Do You Really Need a shopping cart?
How many times have you gone to the store to "just pick up a few things," but you grab a big old shopping cart anyway? Before you know it, you've picked up way more than what you came to the store you get, and spent more money than you intended. Stick with your plan. If you're only there to get a few items --- go for the mini-basket. Or don't even get a basket! Grab what you need and carry it in your hands. That way you won't be tempted to buy more than you came to the store to purchase.
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The Cost of Convenience.
There's no doubt that bags of cut-up lettuce and individual bags of snack foods are certainly convenient. But really, how long does it take to chop lettuce? Why not get the big economy bag of potato chips. Take two minutes and portion off snack-size servings in a zip-lock baggies? Buy multiple types of lettuce, if you wish, and make up your own blend. You can even give it a name, like "Sarah's Secret Salad" and write it on your baggies. Ounce-for-ounce you pay much more for foods that are packaged for convenience.
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Always Confirm Your Loyalty Card Savings.
If you keep your grocery store loyalty card on a key chain, make sure your card is scanned. Mistakes can happen, and the clerk might ring up a card next to it. Check the register tally. Most registers have a reading that will say something like --- "you saved X dollars." Double-check to see that your loyalty savings registered. This is really important if you shop at a store where you get deeper discounts the more you shop, and at stores where your points also earn savings on buying gasoline. Every penny counts, honey!
Keep Your Eyes On Your Buys!
While you certainly don't want to be disrespectful, let's face it --- you've got big money on the line when you reach that checkout register. Save the small talk with the cashier until after you pay your grocery tab. Keep your eyes on the register tally at all times. Make sure it's pointed so you can see every dime you're spending. Scanner technology is accurate, most of the time. But sometimes markdowns and specials get missed. Speak up. Tell the cashier that the washing detergent is supposed to be $2.99, not $3.99. And if he needs to send someone for a price check --- tell him it's no problem at all, you'll wait. Why pay more than you should? And don't be bashful about putting things back that take you over your budget, even if there are people in line behind you. People understand how things are these days.
Be Your Own Secret Shopper and Price Watcher!
Keep a list of items you buy frequently in a little dollar store notebook, like bread, butter, milk and eggs. Write the price down for each item every time you shop for a month. You'll be surprised what you'll learn. The price may be different on Saturdays versus Wednesdays, and so on. You'll start to notice what time of the month big brands get marked down and also when store brands get a deep price cut. Before you know it, you'll be like a poker player --- you'll know when to hold and when to fold and wait on the best price. You'll also learn when to stock up on items because the price has hit its low point. This tip will really pay-off for high-ticket items like chicken, beef, pork and seafood.
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