We all need to buy groceries and we all have to eat. But there are ways to save money when you buy groceries without compromising on quality or nutritional value when you are trying to lose weight or just live a healthier lifestyle. If you look hard enough, you will always find the best deals. It may take a little bit of investment in time and money to get the full benefit of the best prices that are out there waiting for you. It is not about being cheap; it is about being sensible.
How to Get the Best Grocery Prices
We all know that the grocery store bill can be one of the biggest expenses, but it is incredibly easy to shrink that bill. Do not forget the useful points already discussed:
Discipline: Use your willpower in the store – stick to your list and do not get tempted or impulse buy.
Planning: Plan your meals ahead and make a list.
Coupons: Sort out those coupons and take them along.
Wise sales buys: If a sale is on and it is one of your staples, buy as much as you can afford.
Bulk buying: Sometimes buy in bulk, but remember it only works if it is non-perishable, frozen or for a large family or event.
Accurate comparisons: When comparing, price everything per ounce or gram rather than per unit.
Wise brand buys: Compromise on brand names.
Rewards: Use your loyalty card.
Less stress: Shop on a weekday morning if you can.
Do not tempt the tummy: Never shop when you are hungry.
Solo shop: Try to shop alone.
Brand Names vs Store Labels
Manufacturers and stores have spent billions on convincing us that brand names are best. What we are buying is the most expensive version of a grocery item. If you are buying a premium brand, then downshift to a manufacturer’s brand. If you are buying that brand already, then you could downshift to the store’s own brand. If you are already buying the store’s own brand, then consider downshifting to a no-frills or value brand. Do not assume that the value brand is inferior. The packaging may look more basic but in a lot of cases it is made in exactly the same factory as the gourmet version.
Save Yourself at Least 15 Per Cent a Year
By downshifting, an average household could save themselves hundreds of pounds/dollars a year. Try it. The next time you go to a store, downshift by one brand level. There are even websites to help you make the comparison before you go to the store. You can compare prices across levels and down levels. If you dropped one brand level on everything, then you could stand to cut your grocery bill by a third. In some cases, this could mean as much as over $100 aweek for an average family.
Testing With Your Mouth, Not Your Eyes
Trust us, it is all psychological. The manufacturers and stores have hypnotized us. We assume that because the packaging is nicer and the price is higher that it tastes better. It doesn’t always. In experiments, professional chefs have cooked three-course meals, one using regular ingredients and the other using downshifted ingredients. In blind taste tests, people preferred the downshifted versions. You can really make enormous savings without noticing the difference in your mouth but seeing the difference in your bank balance.
I Deserve Better!
It may come as a surprise, but some lower-cost alternatives can actually be better for you. They will have fewer expensive additives like colorings and flavorings or thickeners. So there is no real fear that downshifting means compromising on nutrition. Do not forget that, when you cook, the taste comes from how you cook that food and what you might add to it. We will look at some great cooking tips and techniques in our ‘Basic Techniques’ section. You can make up any loss of taste with your own time and cooking skills.
Tasty Own Brands
Is there any real difference between heavily promoted brand names and store own brands? Most of them are nutritionally identical. There are small differences that are deliberately added so that they do not taste exactly the same. Many of them taste so similar that most people will never notice the difference. Taste for yourself. Try downshifting and you will find that most of the own brands are just like the brand names, except they are in disguise.