Beat the Stores: Tips to Save Money and Avoid Paying Extra on Your Food Shop

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Of all the types of marketing and stores that exist, grocery stores have developed some of the best marketing strategies and psychological tricks to get you to spend more money when you’re in them. From wafting the scent of freshly baked bread around to having essentials right at the back of the store to make you walk past as many enticing options as possible, they have thought of everything to make you stay and spend just a bit more. The best way to get around this is to beat them at their own game.

Shop for sales.

The first thing to do to minimize your weekly food shop spending is to always be on the lookout for what stores have sales. As you’re making your weekly list for groceries, take a look at the deals that are on and plan your meals around this. After the festive season is a great time to buy large hams, for example, as the shops need to get rid of them before their due date. Other foods that are a bit more of luxury may be avoided until there’s a sale on. If you find a great deal on a more expensive item that you regularly use, then make sure to stock up.

Compare all the different stores.

As you’re shopping, don’t limit yourself to one store. Most of modern America now has multiple stores where you can buy a variety of food from only a short drive away. Take the time to learn which stores have the best meat and the best veggies at the lowest prices. Then, divide up your food shop and conquer, taking to different shops for each part of your list. Some good places to try are the local Asian supermarket, which will have a great selection of rice and sauces at very low prices. Get your meat in bulk from a local butcher, and then look to Costco for anything that goes in the cupboard like tinned and dry food.

Buy your dry items in bulk.

As well as buying your meat in bulk, dried foods and baking ingredients are best bought in larger quantities. Get a large 20 kg bag of rice and pasta as a starting point, and you’ll never run out of carbs for your meals again. Also, things like grains and nuts can be bought in bulk at a far lower cost and stored for a long time.

Head to the supplier.

One way to get your food for much lower prices is to cut out the middleman. When we buy a pizza or cake from, we’re paying for everything to be done for us, from sourcing ingredients to making the food and delivering it to your door. Each of these steps adds a premium to what you need to pay.

To reduce this in your day to day grocery shopping, find your local restaurant food supplier and get in touch. Most of the time, they will be happy to sell to you without a membership card. You can get tubs of mayonnaise or butter that are huge for very reasonable prices. Asian supermarkets, as mentioned, are also a great choice for goods like rice and noodles, but check out other specialized stores for things like spices and noodles. 

If you’re shopping in your regular supermarket, make sure to check the sections that sell goods from specific countries. You may find that the rice and beans in these sections are actually of better value than on the standard aisle as they use different brands. You may also find smaller packs of sauce or spices on these aisles that are specially made for cooking for a family. These may be cheaper than buying a huge bottle that you won’t use, as well as helping you to waste less. 

Costco is your friend.

For buying items in bulk, there’s no better place than Costco. Focus on getting all of your non-perishables there in one go. You might only need to visit once per month. Costco also does good deals on packs of meat, such as steak and full rotisserie chickens. These are surprisingly good quality as well as being good value. In general, the more you can buy in bulk, and the less you go to the grocery store, the better your wallet will feel. Every time you go to the store for one thing, you’ll most likely leave with a dozen, so make an effort to get everything in bulk from Costco and reduce the number of trips to get more food. 

Do your shopping on a Wednesday.

Wednesday is when grocery stores start most of their weekly deals, meaning that if you choose to shop on this day, you’ll get double the amount of deals. You’ll be able to get food that’s still on sale from the previous week, as well as take advantage of all the new deals starting that week.

Avoid buying your food on impulse.

One of the most simple but easily fixed habits that people get into that makes them spend more money on food is buying on impulse. This happens in a few different ways. The first is when someone doesn’t plan what they are going to cook through the week, and end up going to the grocery store three or four times over the week to keep stocking up on additional ingredients. What this does is it gives you three times as many opportunities to buy extra food you don’t need. If each time you go to the store, you go with the mind to buy two items, but come back with ten, you’re multiplying how much you’re spending. 

The second way that things go awry is when you go to the grocery store while hungry. We’ve all done this at some point, when impulse control is at a minimum, and you end up leaving with bags of chips and donuts to eat for your dinner rather than something healthy. Give yourself a fighting chance by making a plan before you go to the store. This will allow you to stay focused and only buy what you need. This is why you need to make sure to have a meal before you go! This will ensure that you don’t let your hunger get the better of you.

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