Monday, June 30, 2008

How we shop for groceries

With the cost of gasoline continually increasing, there is no doubt that's grocery prices are going to increase concomitantly. I'm sure you'd seen the price of bread and other necessities go up over the past year.

Here's how we deal with shopping for groceries in our household.

1. We always make a grocery list and purchase food that is on sale. This encourages diversity of our menu.

2. Always check the store shelves for generically branded products. These products are always found high up or very low down on the shelf. You may have already noticed that a lot of things that are within easy reach of the consumer are usually much higher priced - i.e. those in the middle of the shelf space.

3. We pay off your credit card bills every month so we put our grocery bills onto the credit card and collect points at the same time.

4. Realize realize that the grocery store is a psychological game. What do I mean by that? Have you noticed that a lot of the essential items, such as milk, eggs, and bread are placed in the back of the grocery store? This tour will make you walk through the entire store, placing things in your path that are potential impulse buys, before getting to the essential items. Have you also noticed that various small items are placed near the checkouts or within easy reach of the checkouts and to encourage impulse buying? What we do is we head directly for what is on our grocery list and avoid buying things impulsively.

5. Stock up when things are cheap. We tend to do this on frozen items as we have a chest freezer in our basement. How do you know things are cheap? My wife often has a specific price point in her mind, having visited many grocery stores. This is the equivalent to keeping a "price book" ( a book that features grocery prices across different stores).

6. Always shop in the morning if you can. That way, you are able to take advantage of discount bread or other discounted items before other shoppers do so. At our local grocery store, they often have 50% discounted bread and the best selection occurs in the morning. This bread we often purchase and subsequently freeze.

7. Always bring your stack of coupons wherever you go in order to take advantage of deals by stacking coupons on top of discounts. Do this only if it's possible.

8. Cheap is not always good. For instance, if you stumble upon a box of cookies that seem too good to be true-pricewise at least-just take a look at the ingredients. I'm sure the cookies have significant amounts of trans fat, a highly un-digestible fat that clogs arteries. Anything that contains this type of fat typically has a very long shelf life, as bacteria and fungi do not digest this fat either. I would rather eat something that has been butter and it done something that has margarine or any other hydrogenated vegetable oil. So, buy the ingredients and stay at home and bake rather than by highly processed foods.

9. If you're only going to the grocery store for one item, do not take a basket or a shopping cart.I was reading somewhere that taking either of these two items tends to slow the shopper down and can increase the probability for impulse purchases. We just buy the item and leave the store.

10. Plenty of food purchases to occur together, and with as few outings as possible. We've noticed that one of our grocery stores has the cheapest milk but is located very far away. We try to combine this trip was something else so that we don't have to just go for milk.

Good luck with grocery shopping and let us know if you have any more tips!

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