Groceries make up one of the largest portions of our monthly budgets, and shopping for groceries can become such a habit, that we don’t look for ways as often as we should to spend less on food and household.
Here are few tips for minimizing your “sticker shock” at the grocery store checkout stand.
1. When deciding upon which package to buy (whether boxed cereal, tissue paper, toothpaste, or other such consumable product), don’t just compare the total price. Look for, or figure out, the cost per ounce or the unit cost.
For example, a 6-ounce tube of toothpaste costing $2.50 has a per ounce cost of 41.7¢ (250¢ ÷ 6 ounces). An 8-ounce tube with a price of $3.40 has a per ounce cost of 42.5¢ (340¢ ÷ 8 ounces). In this example, the 6 ounce tube is actually the better deal.
2. Consider purchasing the store brand or generic brand rather than the name brand. Often, the products are identical and may even be manufactured or processed at the same facility. Even if they are not, you can still spend far less on boxed cereals, crackers, milk, cheeses, and many other such items if you purchase the off-brand.
3. Beware of warehouse shopping. Buying twice as much soup, cereal, or cheese as you need, just because you get a “better deal” at the warehouse store, tends to lead us towards consuming those items faster. This is particularly the case for prepackaged foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure you have a menu for the week and are purchasing only what you need.
4. Make sure to include in your grocery budget any household items that you purchase at the grocery store. These might include toiletries, cleaning supplies, and over-the-counter medicines.
By focusing our attention on our grocery spending and exerting a little more effort in planning ahead, we can spend a lot less money on food and household expenses that would be better applied towards some of our short and long term financial goals.
If you have any questions, would like to discuss any financial challenges you may have, or are just looking for advice, please contact us at your convenience. As always, we are here to help and look forward to hearing from you.