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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to save money on the groceries

 How to Save Money on your grocery bill

 Your grocery bill is likely one of the largest parts of your living expenses. If you were to rank them from largest to smallest, it would probably fall just after mortgage (or rent), energy and car payments. You can’t do much to lower a mortgage payment or car payment, so trimming as much as you can from your weekly food bill makes a lot of sense.

The problem is that we have seen food prices skyrocket, about as much as fuel prices over the past year, and it’s taking an ever bigger bite out of our budgets. Here are some supermarket savings tips I’ve collected over the years of raising a family of four on a single income. Don’t fret, they should work regardless of the number of mouths you feed or the income you have.
 Click here to see the Supermarkets price war with Wal-Mart and Target

Know the numbers: Much of our supermarket spending is influenced by sneaky marketing tactics. But you most likely already knew that. The good news is that if you arm yourself with the facts, you can shield yourself and nullify these tactics. Comparison shop, so you know you’re getting the best price. Don’t buy everything at one store. Most locations have at least 2 or 3 supermarkets clustered within half a mile of each other. Pick the 2 that most constantly have low prices or the best sales on the items you buy. Once you have your target destinations, make sure you make heavy use of coupons and buy expensive items when they’re on sale.
Speaking of sales, make sure it really is a sale. Do the math. If you need to buy 2 items to get 1 free, it’s only a sale if you can use all 3. Another marketing trick is the incredible shrinking portion size. This is a relatively new phenomenon, caused by the recent return of inflation. Food producers are facing a dilemma: do they pass along the increased cost of production, or cut costs? Many companies are opting for the latter. The result is you pay the same price for that half gallon of ice-cream, only now it’s not quite a half gallon anymore.

Buy right: The cheapest price isn’t always the lowest. You read right. Sometimes you think you’re doing the right thing by comparing 2 similar items, and buying the one with the lowest price. But it’s not the price that matters for some items – it’s the price per unit. This is usually displayed on the shelf above or below the item, right next to the total price. The unit price is like a price per volume, and it’s helpful in deciphering the best price for items from cereal to potato salad. Unit price is particularly obvious when comparing the brand name product to the store brand (generic) product. Buy generic when you can for most items. Substituting store brand antacids for Tums, probably won’t make a difference but you’ll spend a lot less. Some things however just don’t work as generic.Embrace the Power of Play!

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Shop for the best price-per-ounce Maybe you're shopping for a box of cereal. The small box is $2.99 (for 12 ounces) and the large box is $3.99 (for 19.5 ounces). Your instinct would tell you to buy the small box and save $1.00. But the small box of cereal is 25 cents per ounce while the large box is 20.5 cents per ounce. You don't need to be a whiz at math to find the best deal. The price per ounce or price per unit is listed on every price tag. You end up paying 33% more ($1.00) more for the cereal, but you get 62.5% (7.5 ounces) more cereal. Don't just buy it, get it onSale!

Do your homework: Another great way to save on groceries is to plan a menu of meals for the week based on the items on sale that week. For example, if chicken breasts are on sale, plan a meal around chicken breasts. This is especially effective when you can apply coupons toward the sale items. But your homework goes beyond menu planning. Keep a price book. A price book is simply a list of common items you buy and the average price of those items at 2 -3 grocery stores you frequent. This way, if you are tempted to buy something that is not on sale, you can do quick look-up in your price book to see if it’s still a good price or if you can get it cheaper at another store.Designer scarves from Burberry, Prada, Fendi, Loro Piana, Pucci and more - shop at Designers Imports

If an item you use a lot is really at the best price (using the above tips) purchase a bit more than usual. Grocery prices go through price cycles that last about 3 months. So, your lowest price will keep showing up about every 3 months.Don't just buy it, get it onSale!
 Buy enough of the product at it's lowest price for 3 months and you've just saved some money!
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