The other day I was watching one of the morning news when I saw an interesting discussion of grocery shopping tips for the budget-minded. Given that there were a number of good tips embedded in that discussion, I thought I’d distill it down into five bite-sized chunks for your reading pleasure.
1. Buy store brands. You have nothing to lose. Not only do you avoid paying for the marketing efforts of the national brands, but most stores also offer a money back guarantee. So go ahead and try out their brands. On the off chance that you don’t like them, you can alway bring them back.
2. Size matters. Keep an eye on unit pricing (e.g., price per ounce) and don’t pay extra for convenience packaging. If you need small bags of chips, buy a big bag and then parse it out into baggies.
3. Don’t automatically assume that bigger is better. Following on from #2, don’t assume that you’re getting a better by just grabbing the biggest package on the shelves. Here again, pay close attention to unit price. I’ve written about this previously in the context of a battery “deal” that I ran across at Sam’s Club. Also keep in mind that bigger is only better when you actually need that much. A 5 gallon pail of mayonnaise isn’t a bargain if you only need 8 ounces.
4. Beware the end caps. Those big displays at the end of each aisle are where they keep the really good deals, right? Well… Not necessarily. Because sales typically increase when a product is placed on the end cap, stores often use them as a “dumping ground” for items that are selling well.
5. Beware the store circular. Believe it or not, items featured in the store circular aren’t always the best deal. While there are often a number of great deals featured in the circular, there are often a number of not-so-great deals, as well.