You have probably heard that the cost of food is expected to rise again next year. You can do several things to reduce your current grocery expenses and hopefully prepare yourself for the expected price increase.
One of the easiest things to do is to plan ahead. That includes making a meal plan for the week and making a shopping list based on the ingredients you need to fulfill your plan. Check weekly store sale ads and product coupons in the newspaper and online to find the best prices for the items you need. However, don’t buy something you don’t have plans for just because it’s on sale. Make sure sale items ring up with the correct price at checkout.
Avoid shopping hungry, in a hurry or with your kids, as all can increase impulse spending.
Wisely choose your shopping destination. For many rural consumers, convenience stores are the most accessible places to shop; however, they typically are one of the most expensive. You might find it is more cost-effective to go to a larger store in a nearby community once a month to stock-up on commonly used non-perishable items.
Instead of increasing prices, some companies are reducing their packaging sizes. This can increase your spending, as you will need to replace these items more often. When at the grocery store, check the item’s price per unit found on the shelf tag. The price per unit allows you to easily compare the costs of the product based on size. The price may be cheaper in a different size or brand. If your grocery store does not display a product’s price per unit, you can easily calculate it by taking the cost of the product and dividing it by its packaging size. Bringing a small calculator may be helpful.
Review your grocery purchases at least monthly to determine total monthly grocery expenses and individual product prices. You may be able to further reduce spending by eliminating things that aren’t necessities. Cheaper alternatives may be available for some of the more costly items.
To many shoppers, the word “sale” is magical. They think of lots of great bargains! Sales seem to pop up anytime and anywhere. However, shoppers need to be sure they are really getting a good deal, especially in times of economic slowdown.
BE CAREFUL BEFORE BUYING
*Shop around. What’s on sale at one store might be cheaper at regular price at another store. You also can save on gas by checking around online, rather than driving to each store.
* Was the price too high to begin with and then marked down?
* There may be more than one price on the tag. Be sure the price has really been lowered from its normal selling price and not from the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
* Ask yourself, “Would I buy this if it were not on sale?” Remember, a poorly made item is no bargain, no matter how low the price is.
For more informative educational information, contact the Harlan County Cooperative Extension Service located at 519 South Main Street in Harlan or call 606-573-4464.