How to Save Money on Food and Other Groceries - A List

Saving Money on Food Is Easier Than One Thinks

Also a note about food government benefits during hard times. And also a math note.


Coupons and Websites

  • Yes, do use those coupons; the Sunday paper and your junk mail will give you all you need. Also drop by your main grocery store’s website and see what they have to say for themselves; more often than not, they will have additional digital coupons you can use where you simply enter your phone number at the checkout register to collect.

Generic Brands

  • Yes, do buy the generic store brands. It is common knowledge they cost less. What isn’t so well known is that more often than not they are made by the same manufacturer as the nationally labeled brands that cost up to twice as much.

Product Shelf Positioning

  • Make it a point to look at the top and bottom shelves. The middle shelves are where the high markup items are.

Unit Pricing

  • Do make it a habit to routinely check the unit pricing. No rocket surgeon degree required; the unit price is right below or beside the sale price. There will be at least one occasion every trip where it will affect your decision as to what to buy. Does your store not conveniently display the unit pricing? If so, then find another store. Also, you may be surprised to learn the larger sizes do not always represent the best unit pricing. Stores are sneaky that way, knowing that consumers automatically assume the larger size is the better deal.

Product Store Positioning and Impulse Buying

  • Never buy anything displayed at the register and checkout line. Those are what is known as spontaneous purchases and impulse items and always have the highest markup. Always bring a shopping list. It will cut down on your spontaneous impulse buying immensely. And while we are at it, never shop hungry.
  • The freshest items and those with the longest expiration dates are at the back of the shelf. This applies to produce, dairy, bottled and canned goods, and actually pretty much everything.

Don't Pay for Unneeded Labor

  • Never buy premade sandwiches or other items requiring extra preparation in the deli section. The prices are highway robbery and are for people who are taking their lunch break from work, etc. If the sandwich looks delicious, then just buy the same filling from that same deli instead. This assumes you are willing enough to take the contents from the container and put between two slices of bread yourself. Chicken salad and egg salad are good examples. Doing this will usually save you between $2 to $3 per sandwich. And save the containers, they can repeatedly be used for freezing and storing leftovers.

Stock Up on Non-Perishable Sale Items

  • Prices can vary by as much as 50% from week to week. Tissues are an excellent example of this. Canned goods are another excellent example. Some juices also have long expiration dates.

Check Your Receipt for Double Billing

  • It happens a lot more often than you think. It usually happens because either the cashier doesn’t like you or the scanner sensor is dirty. And checking the receipt really is easier than you think; even a long receipt takes less than a minute to quickly glance through. At minimum, at least check the higher priced items. When you find something (and you inevitably will), simply return to the same register and tell them. They will refund your money on the spot.

Never Set Your Wallet on the Counter at the Checkout

  • Sooner or later, you will inevitably forget and leave it there when you walk out of the store. It won't always still be there when you go back for it.

Fewer Trips

  • Every trip you make to the store probably costs you between $2 to $4 in gas. Try to organize to make fewer trips.


Government Food Benefits

Btw, Food Stamps aka CalFresh aka SNAP benefits are used by millions of Americans. If your financial situation is truly grim, it is worth investigating.

Government Websites to Get Started

https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/apply
https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap
https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility


And last, but not least...

It Pays to Do Basic Math - A True Story

I actually saw this happen several years ago.

A parent and teenager are in a store. The store is having a candy sale. There are two different-sized boxes of chocolate cream candies on display. There is the 12-oz. box for $4.95. There is the 1-lb, 2-oz. box for $12.95. There is some dialogue. Then the teenager selects the one-pound-plus box saying something to the effect that, "The larger box is the better buy."

The parent says something to the effect, “I am really worried about your math skills.”

I kid you not, I really saw this happen. And one can tell by the prices that it was indeed many, many years ago.

Here are what I believe their respective thought processes were.

The parent: “Hmm, $5 for 12 ounces is equal to $10 for 24 ounces. The $10 for 24 ounces is better than the $13 for 18 ounces.” Parent chooses two of the smaller boxes.

The teenager: “The larger box will have the better per-unit price.” Teenager doesn’t consider doing any calculations. Teenager chose the larger box. The equivalent of this  is probably still happening a million times a day nationwide. The retail stores are fully aware that our education system isn't what it used to be.

And while we are at it and on a separate note, there are also some small store owners who are equally aware of this education fact when is comes to charging sales tax.

Grocery Store Food Discrimination - A Commentary

Grocery store and supermarket chains discriminate against single people, divorced people, senior citizens, and anyone else who happens to live alone. Unless we are buying groceries for a family, the national chain grocery stores apparently don't want to bother with us. Or if they do, it looks like they want to charge us extra for the privilege.

Grocery store discrimination against senior citizens, singles, divorced, and anyone else who lives alone.

Having to buy four or five units of the same food item in order to get the discount sale price really does discriminate against singles, senior citizens, and other people who live alone. Only families can benefit from the use of this particular sales and marketing practice.

I’ve noticed this sales tactic is becoming more and more prevalent lately. Figured it was time to say something about it.

There really are very few people living alone who can make use of four boxes of crackers, five bottles of soda, four cans of tuna, and so forth.

And this buy-4-items and buy-5-items requirement to get various discounts is spreading to staple items. It is no longer limited to the more “frivolous” purchases.

In all fairness, it should be noted the grocery stores and supermarket chains doing this are not doing it to deliberately discriminate against singles, senior citizens, etc. They are doing this for the same reason they do all their other sales tactics; the purpose being to increase sales and maximize profits. Nothing wrong with that; that is capitalism.

The resulting discrimination against certain classes of people is simply the unintended consequence. Basically, it's called collateral damage. Oh well, such is life.

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