It's not just overpriced health care costs for many Americans. Poor wheat harvests, beef recalls, and sky rocketing oil prices are turning even grocery shopping into a major expense. Nicole Ridgway, Senior Editor at SmartMoney.com, offers up five tips on how to get bigger savings while food shopping.
Don't be afraid to think beyond the supermarket. By making a few extra stops you can
save big bucks. Believe it or not you can actually get a better deal on milk if you buy it at a drugstore like CVS. That's because grocery stores rarely publish coupons for milk or put it on sale. The drugstores are trying to lure in shoppers with their competitive prices for items like milk with the hope that those shopper may just pick up a few more expensive items on the way to the checkout counter.
Another way to save is virtual coupon clipping. Just as you should broaden your shopping horizons, you should also broaden your savings ones. You can take that Sunday morning coupon clipping one step further by going to online coupon sites like Coupons.com. Because shoppers are limited to one coupon printout, manufacturers are a little more generous with the amount of savings that they offer on these virtual coupons than they are with the ones you find in the newspaper.
And don't be afraid to go generic. When it comes to quality there's typically very little or no difference between buying the store brand versus buying a brand name. Often, things like frozen vegetables, household goods or personal care items are made by the same manufacturer that produces the brand name product. So there's very little difference in quality. But the difference in price is amazing. For instance, one package of store brand frozen broccoli is 44% cheaper than the brand name.
Also, bigger isn't always better. Shoppers should make an effort to compare unit prices. Most consumers believe that if they buy that bigger tub of peanut butter rather than the smaller one, they'll be reaping some big savings when it comes to that per unit price. But that's not always the case. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recently found that bigger sizes of items like peanut butter, tuna, coffee, ketchup and frozen orange juice were often pricier per unit than their smaller counterparts.
Lastly, wander the store. A lot of the best deals in the grocery store aren't immediately obvious. In fact, there are typically twice as many unadvertised sale items in the store as there are in the weekly circular. So if you take the time to wander the aisles you'll probably come across some sale items that you didn't know existed.
by Nicole Ridgway and Jenn Eaker