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Grocery Savings Secrets

Mar 29, 2022

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Lifestyle

jennifer

Prepare to pick your jaw off the ground: Most Americans spend 10% of their income on groceries. Talk about a budget buster! Though feeding ourselves (and our families) is a necessary expense, there's no harm in looking for strategic ways to save money when you fill up your cart. One way to tap into genius ideas is to go straight to the source. Here are amazing (and effective) tricks for cutting back and saving money at the grocery store, according to employees who know all the insider secrets. 

PowerPoint PresentationGrocery
Savings
Secrets
Overview
Prepare to pick your jaw off the ground: Most Americans spend 10% of their income on groceries. Talk
about a budget buster! Though feeding ourselves (and our families) is a necessary expense, there's no
harm in looking for strategic ways to save money when you fill up your cart. One way to tap into genius
ideas is to go straight to the source. Here are amazing (and effective) tricks for cutting back and saving
money at the grocery store, according to employees who know all the insider secrets.
Look at the price per unit
Though you may need a magnifying glass or get
up-close-and-personal with the shelf, scour the
sales tag for the price per unit. It can help you
better understand its value. Sometimes, the
cheapest price isn't the best deal. Take, for
instance, you're looking to buy frozen
blueberries. One company charges $5 for ten
ounces, so that's 50 cents per ounce. Another
company costs $4 but has six ounces, which
comes out to 65 cents per ounce. This simple
math equation can end up putting much more
cash in your pocket!
Buy baked goods frozen
If you're not super-picky about your late-night
sugar fix, you may want to take a detour from the
bakery to the frozen food section. As one Reddit
user and former Costco employee shared, frozen
cookies, bread, bagels, and other goods are
significantly cheaper than fresh varieties by the
same company. As they put it, a 24-box of fresh
cookies is $7.99, while a box of 180 is $34.99.
(Note that these are Canadian dollars, not USD,
and you won't find the Costco bakery's frozen
cookies in U.S. warehouses.)
deli, bakery, or prepared-food sections if they
have any open containers of products you're
interested in buying. Chances are high that if they
have them, they'll give you a nibble. (Just know
that you may not be able to sample food during
the pandemic.)
Grocery stores often bring attention to the
products that aren't selling. This makes
sense because they don't want to lose out
on their investment. Sometimes, this works
in your favor; you could discover a new item
you love. But more often than not, it just
collects dust (or mold) in your kitchen.
Pay attention to sales on
frequently-bought items
Most of the time, shoppers assume that once
they buy an item at a grocery store and take it
home, it's a done deal. Surprisingly, for many
stores, this isn't true. In fact, a former manager
at Costco shared in a Reddit thread that if a
product goes on sale less than 30 days after
you've already bought it, they'll give you the
difference—no questions asked.
Shop the store brand
Whether it's Whole Foods, Trader Joe's,
Walmart, Target, Smart & Final, or any grocery
store, it's almost always cheaper, and likely,
your tastebuds can't tell the difference.
Sometimes, you impulsively buy a snack when
you're suffering from hanger, only to get home
and well, dislike it. It happens, but it doesn't
mean you have to bear the financial
consequences. If a customer isn't thrilled with
a product, they can always return it and
receive their full money back. And yep, that's
true even if it's an open bag. Many grocery
stores have similar policies, so make sure to
Google before you whip out the credit card.
If you don't like it, return it
Figure out the sales day for your
local store
grocery store, ask them what day of the week
their sales begin and end. And on Fridays, the
'One-Day' sale begins for everything that didn't
make it into a cart the past two days. Every
store will be different, so once you figure out
yours, you can time your weekly run to when
you will save the most.
Not only are they directed from the
corporate level, but many stores will also have
local tech support to manage malfunctions.
Then, of course, you have the biggest risk:
cashiers. It's safe to say that sometimes,
mistakes will happen. Though you should be
kind if it does, pay attention to every price as
it's rung up.
Buy a case
bulk, even if you aren't at a bulk store. Say
you enjoy a few sparkling waters every day
as a break from plain H20. Instead of getting
the 12-pack, splurge and take home the
whole case; you know you'll drink them, and
they don't expire. You could end up saving
up to 10%!
Many grocery stores will accept coupons, but
they do have a limit to how many you can apply
to the same food. Sometimes you can add a
coupon to a sales price, and other times, you
can do what you calls "coupon stacking," where
you use both a store coupon and a
manufacturer coupon. Check with the closest
grocery store in your zip code to better
understand their policies.
Discounted meat doesn't mean it's a lesser
quality, but rather, that it has a shorter shelf
life and needs to be consumed ASAP. The
majority of high-traffic grocery stores will
discount their meat once the weekend has
passed. They know it'll be less busy on
Mondays and Tuesdays, making the start of the
week a smarter time to find delicious protein
but pay less for it.
Make your trip early in the day
One of the tricks to best understand how to
cut back on your spending is to think of the
day-in-the-life of an employee. Because there
are fewer people in first-thing in the morning,
that's when they will do their rounds of
discounting, going through inventory, and
determining what is about to expire. If you
happen to be around in the first few hours of
opening, you'll be among the first to score the
deal.
Some frugal grocery shoppers will drive all
over town to take advantage of every coupon,
ad, or rewards program. But there’s an easy
way to learn the ins and outs of grocery store
coupon policies and promotions. Just ask your
store manager, who will happily tell you how
to save the most at their store.
Use the store’s loyalty programs
Stores try to attract you with special rewards
for shopping at their stores, but not all stores
have these loyalty programs. At CVS, you can
earn Extra Bucks (cash built up on your Extra
Care rewards card) for qualifying purchases that
you can use as cash off your next purchase.
There’s even a coupon machine in front of every
store where Extra Care cardholders can scan
their cards and get special unadvertised coupons.
CVS also has a coupon app for mobile devices.
At Costco, an executive membership earns 2
percent cash-back rewards (up to $1,000 per
year) on qualifying Costco purchases.
Stock up at outlets and closeouts
Outlet and closeout stores have a lot to offer,
Economides says, especially when they sell a
brand-name item you eat or use regularly. If
these stores offer a deal on items you need
regularly, you should buy as many as you can
afford and stockpile them. Watch out, though,
because some manufacturers will provide
these outlets with a smaller size to sell for
cheaper, so know your regular sizes and
prices before buying.
Do the math
determine the best deal. That’s what
cellphone calculators are for. many stores
have shelf tags that show you the per-unit
price so you can compare deals without
doing any math.
Many stores mark down and repackage produce
that might be below the standards for full-price
display, but that is not the biggest secret in the
produce department. It’s this: Bulk-packaged
produce is usually up to 50 percent less
expensive than loose produce because packaged
produce is priced by the unit and not by the
pound. Each bag must contain at least the
advertised weight. To avoid underweight-error
problems, she says grocers will throw in an extra
food item so you get a few more ounces in the
bag. Just weigh your bag and see how many extra
ounces are provided and pick the heaviest one
for the best deal, especially if you eat a lot of
apples, potatoes, grapefruits, etc.
real cash
back, you should try to take advantage of it,
Kay and Economides agree. Some retailers,
such as Target and Kroger, offer discounts or
points for using their store-brand debit or
credit cards.
• A CVS email program notifies you of unadvertised specials.
• At Publix, if an item scans at the register at a price that’s higher than the shelf price or advertised
price, the store gives you one of those items for free.
• Target, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s offer reusable bag rebates that take cash off your final
receipt.
• Register rewards from Winn-Dixie give you coupons for your next purchase.
• You can activate a Upromise account (a Sallie Mae program) at a participating grocery store in your
area to earn college money on items you’re buying and saving on already.
• Many grocery stores offer special deals on their websites.
Conclusion
If you’ve diligently followed all these tips and still feel like you’re spending an inordinate amount of
money at the store, it might be time to bring your business elsewhere. Take a break from your regular
stomping grounds and head to a nearby competitor to see what the damage is—you might discover
you’ve been getting fleeced all along.
Welcome message from author
If you’ve diligently followed all these tips and still feel like you’re spending an inordinate amount of money at the store, it might be time to bring your business elsewhere. Take a break from your regular stomping grounds and head to a nearby competitor to see what the damage is—you might discover you’ve been getting fleeced all along.