Does it seem like every time you go grocery shopping your bill gets higher and higher? Does it seem like every time you go shopping, dutifully with budgeted list in hand, that you still come out spending more than you expected? Well, it's really not all in your head. Food prices are increasing and budgeting may not be enough to cut down your grocery bill.
The fact is that food manufacturers and retailers are corporations looking to make money, and they have developed quite a few tricks to get consumers to spend more. Here are 5 tips you can use to be a truly savvy shopper and save some of your hard earned cash:
1. Scrutinize On-Sale Items
Grocery stores are highly organized with the purpose of getting consumers to spend the most money. Large displays of foods "on sale" at the front of the store are often not what they seem. Typically, it's the manufacturer of the displayed foods that has paid the retailer to showcase their product. Go to the isle the display food is on and compare it to other sizes and brands – 9 times out of 10 there is a much better deal to be won.
2. Beware of Bulk
It used to be that buying in bulk (or even just any larger quantity) saved you money. Well, manufacturers figured out that consumers took advantage of this and decided to sometimes quietly price the food in bulk quantities higher than those in smaller quantities. Most consumers grab the bigger box of cereal assuming it's a better deal and the manufacturer wins again. Take your calculator with you shopping. Figure out the price per ounce for those two boxes of cereal – You'd be surprised at how often the smaller boxes are priced less per ounce.
3. Look Above and Below
Most consumers buy products that are placed at eye level on the shelves. As a result of this, most grocery stores place their highest priced items at eye level. Scan the entire shelf, high and low, for better bargains.
4. Shop the Perimeter First
Again, grocery stores are organized in such a way to get you to spend the most money. Costlier, prepackaged foods usually sit in the middle of the store, while staple foods, such as milk, eggs and bread line the perimeter. If you buy your staple items first, your cart will already be filled with food and you'll be less likely to indulge in prepackaged goodies on your way out of the store.
5. Don't Fall for the Marketing
Food manufacturers spend millions of dollars each year studying you – and what prompts you to buy one brand over another. As a result of all this research, they've created some pretty tempting products that are hard to walk away from. However, you have to simply think about what you need versus what you want. Sure those diet snack packs look fun and convenient, but they're also expensive – incredibly expensive when you consider the amount of calories and nutrients you're getting for the price. Also, it really does not take that much longer to peel or wash a piece of fruit than it does to open that snack pack. Plus, the piece of fruit is probably even healthier for you anyways!