Gouged by Groceries

While you can't control skyrocketing food prices, thrifty consumers can employ smart strategies to cut grocery bills.

  1. Plan your weekly menu based on food already in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.

  2. Make a shopping list and stick to it.

  3. Use leftovers for lunches or freeze them for future dinners.

  4. Shop alone and at off-peak times. Don't shop when you're hungry or tired — you'll be more likely to give in to temptation and stray from your list.

  5. Avoid convenience foods. When you buy partially or fully prepared food items, the cost includes labor and packaging.

  6. Nix the frozen dinners, but don't avoid the freezer aisles altogether. Frozen produce is often less expensive than fresh, and it can be just as nutritious.

  7. Use coupons only for things you would buy anyway.

  8. Apply for a store discount card to take advantage of promotional pricing.

  9. Check unit prices, often calculated in cost per ounce or per pound. If the store doesn't do the math for you, carry a calculator and compute the costs yourself. Sometimes the smaller bottle of salad dressing is a better value than the big one.

  10. Switch to store brands. If family members protest, try a blind taste test to see which brand names to keep and which ones to replace.

  11. Buy in bulk, but first make sure you have storage room and that food items won't spoil before you can use them.

  12. Factor in the cost of gasoline before you drive a long way to a warehouse or discount store.

  13. Make a spreadsheet of what you buy, what you spend, and where you spend it for a month. You'll get a better picture of your spending patterns and where to go for deals.

  14. Grow your own produce. Can or freeze what you don't eat, and you'll stretch your savings into the winter.

  15. Drink more water. Soft drinks, juices, and alcohol are costly. If you have quality drinking water, choose tap over bottled.

  16. Avoid convenience stores and gas stations; prices can be downright outrageous and there usually isn't much nutrition to be found.

For more budgeting and saving information check out our Interactive Coaches or utilize one of our quick and easy Financial Calculators. You can also stop by any of our branch locations, email us or call us at (617) 495-4460.

 

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