Trim the Fat on Your Grocery Spending
By Jeff from SLN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Fashionably Broke Blog Series
In 1789, Benjamin Franklin penned “…nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” As I think about those words, I’m not content. I’m sure Lazarus would have something to say about the death part, but I’d like to add a requirement: eating. No matter who you are, what you do, or where you’re from, you’re eating a nice meal here and there – preferably three per day.
But all that eating comes with a cost. Groceries cost money no matter how you slice it, and whatever money you spend on food can’t be spent on other necessities. You know, water, electric, being social. Just think about date night. How many walks in the park before she wants to go see a movie? If you can’t, she’ll find someone else to watch movies with while you spend the evening in your tear-stained snuggie. Better pinch your pennies.
Don't be afraid of generics
Despite the lack of familiar labels or advertising, generic brand food can give you the best “bang” for your buck. Each time you’re willing to look over to the side of those name brands, you could save a buck. It’s the generic side, not the dark side.
On that note, try yourself an Aldi. There’s barely a brand name in the place, but plenty of savings to be had.
Ready. Set. Look at the shelves.
Some stores – Meijer included – print more than the price on the shelves. One of those bits of small print is the cost per ounce. This, of course, takes the guess work out of finding which sized container is the better deal. Not only that, but it also tells you how much you’re saving. Neato.
Only buy what you need
“Buy One, Get One” and “Save X When You Buy Z Many” can be deceiving. While you will save money, as buying in bulk can give you a better price, any deal that encourages you to buy more than you otherwise would have isn’t helping you. Even if you consume the extra food, you will often find you could have lived without it and spared yourself that extra cost.
As my Grandfather says, “You could go broke saving money.”
That’s right. They may not be rib tips, but here they are. Savor them:
- Don't want spaghetti? Buy macaroni. Despite the fact that macaroni typically come in a box twice as large as other pastas, it’s usually cheaper per ounce than any other shaped pasta. Think about that the next time you crave some noodles.
- Buy the oats instead of instant oatmeal. Buying a canister of oatmeal is only a few dollars and will last you quite a few breakfasts, you can even heat it up in the microwave (I usually set it for 2 minutes). This is much cheaper than buying boxes of instant oatmeal or even cold cereal, and boy is it filling. Remember to have some brown sugar, raisins, or other fruit on hand to add some flavor as you see fit.
- Stick with water. Although it may not be as tasty as pop, juice, or sports drinks, it certainly is cheaper. Consider keeping a full of pitcher of water in the fridge instead of buying something else. Water is a lot better chilled than warm out the tap, really. On the plus side, the flavor certainly won’t detract from whatever dish you’re eating.
So there you have it. We all eat, and eating costs money, so be smart about it!
I guess you could provide exceptions. There are those who have to consume nutrients in less conventional methods due to disability. Then there are those who fast or go on strike, but I suppose they have their reasons.