Earlier today in the Synergy Merchant Services offices, two of our team members were having a conversation about their grocery buying habits. Both individuals, who each live on their own, discovered that they each had vastly different methods of trying to save on their grocery bills.
One of them mentioned that she shopped about every two weeks spending approximately $70 per trip to the grocery store. Her counterpart indicated that he waited until he had next to no food at home before shopping and therefore only travelled to the supermarket every other month. His grocery bill usually hits the $300 mark.
A $70 grocery bill every two weeks comes to $280, remarked the gentleman who shops once every two months. “Not much of difference,” he said, “except that I inconvenience myself a lot less by shopping so rarely.” “But I’m spending less money than you are,” replied his female co-worker.
What method actually does save more money? Does it even make a difference? How can one truly save on groceries when food is an everyday necessity? Earlier this month, Sharon Aschaiek, in a special to QMI Agency, wrote about the many ways people can save money on grocery shopping in the wake of the recent recession.
Quoting budgeting expert, Amy Fontinelle, Aschaiek writes that there are some creative and common sense ways to stretch your dollar at the supermarket. The first key is to not be tricked by the alluring ways in which stores promote their food.
Says Fontinelle: “The recession has shown people new ways of looking at their finances and at the way they shop for things like food. People are more interested in spending wisely (however) chain grocery stores are designed to get you to spend as much as possible and to pick up things you were not planning to buy.”
Fontinelle notes that most often when something is on “special” at a corporate supermarket, it really isn’t a deal after all. Since these stores tend to price their items higher in order to cover their overhead and advertising costs, their regular prices may be higher than those at smaller chains or independent stores.
In addition to being “chain smart”, Fontinelle encourages shoppers to “explore alternatives”. Look into both independent and ethnic food markets that may offer more competitive food prices due to lower overhead costs. The most cost effective place to shop, however, is at farmers’ markets which provide food right from the source.
According to Fontinelle: “It’s a great way to save money, because there’s no middle man to make money on the transaction. Also, if you go in the last 30 minutes or hour before it closes, farmers might be eager to unload their stock, and you can get better deals.”
Fontinelle also recommends that you go “coupon crazy”. Making use of your money-saving coupons is important, especially since many forget to use them. She advises that you keep coupons in a kit that includes a number of food categories and bring it to the supermarket with you. Some people end up saving upwards of 50% on their grocery bills through coupons.
There certainly are a number of methods to making the most of your grocery money. Evidently, saving your much-needed cash has nothing to do with how often you shop but more importantly, where you shop and what you buy. Keep these tips in mind, and keep more of your money the next time you go to the grocery store.