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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Five Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Grocery Bill

Five Simple Ways To Save Money On Your Grocery Bills
Groceries don't have to be expensive
Have you noticed that the price of food is rising as fast as the housing prices in Vancouver? Well, okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you have to admit, food is not cheap.  When at the grocery store, I have to stop myself from gasping at the cashier when told my total and stop myself from accusing them of overcharging me. I typically smile (a fake smile), pay, and discreetly check the bill while walking away.  It is never wrong. 

We have to eat. And if we eat well this means lots of fresh whole foods and not much junk food (such as the high fat, high sugar yummy food that we shouldn’t, but do, eat).  Our bodies will work better, we will have more energy and think smarter…. in other words, we will be “healthier.”  However, the not-so-good for us food is typically cheaper (think fast food take-out) than the good-for-us food (think fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and cheese).   So what is the solution to this eat-healthy/eat-affordable food dilemma? 

We have to shop smarter.  We have to strategize and think of grocery shopping as a competitive sport where the goal is to eat and live well...without going into debt.

Here are 5 simple ways to help you save money on your grocery bill:

1.  Be ruthless in the produce department 

Choose what looks like the freshest fruit or vegetable in the pile.   It may require rearranging the food displays the produce folks work so hard to build.  You will have to be discreet.   Dig around, move things and find the best looking fruit or vegetable. Often they are at the back of the pile.  The produce staff  like to move the older stock to the front because we tend to grab the first ones we see. This is how they rotate their stock. 

When you find what looks like the ‘one,’ pick it up and inspect it carefully before you put it in your basket.  Avoid bruises, blemishes and signs of spoiling.  Take charge. If it looks slightly old, then keep hunting.  This way, you will purchase the freshest produce and it will keep longer, eliminate food waste and save you money. 

2.  Know your prices

If you know what you should pay for your food, then you will not be tricked into buying products that claim to be ‘on sale.’ For instance, I buy a type of coffee that always goes on sale. However, the ‘on sale’ price varies between stores. The one-pound bag can go as low as $13.00 a pound. So when I see it ‘on sale’ for $16.00 I know I’m being duped. If you know your prices (roughly, we can’t all be perfect) you can avoid being ripped off. This requires paying attention to prices when grocery shopping.

3.  Look for sale signs 

If you have the space in your home (and the extra money) it’s worth stocking up on the deals.  Sale items are often at the storefronts, at the end of the aisles or at the checkout counters.  However, you may have to hunt for them because they aren’t always obvious. Don’t be fooled by signs.  Some stores advertise certain food items with signs that are camouflaged as sale signs.  However, if you look closely, the signs are only advertising the product but not a sale.  Shopping can be as intriguing as a detective novel.

4.  Search for the discount bins

Stores typically have them tucked away in a corner.  You can find decent deals on hard goods, such as soaps, tea, cleaning solutions, etc. 

5.  Bring your magnifying glass

Read the ‘best before dates’ before you buy, especially on perishable items such as bread, milk and boxed lettuce.  Pick the package with the longest ‘best before date,’ which is usually at the back of the pile (you are at an advantage if you are tall or have long arms).  This way, your food will last longer and you will not be throwing out as much. You’ll save money in the long run and have more flexibility about when you eat your food.

There are many great ways to save money your on the grocery bill and these are just a few simple ideas.  It really boils down to shopping smarter. And remember, the cashiers do not purposely charge you too much for your groceries. Fresh whole food is not cheap.

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