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    Monday
    Feb182013

    Supermarket Smarts: 10 Savings Mistakes You're Making at the Grocery Store

    Did you know that you can save money on your groceries simply by shopping in a different aisle at the same store? The first day of our Money Diet savings series trims hundred of dollars off your grocery budget each year by doing practically nothing. These 10 easy ways to save at your grocery store will arm with the knowledge to change the shopping habits that are costing you money!

     

    1. Look Down!
    When shelving items, grocery stores customarily put the least expensive items on the bottom shelves. That’s because most customers, when looking for a particular product, will just take the first item they see—at eye-level. When at the market, make sure to check the lower shelves for lower prices.

    2. One Big Grocery Trip is Better than Two Small Ones
    Buying lots of groceries in one trip rather than a few groceries in several trips is better for your wallet. Not only do you save on gas money, but according to a study by the Marketing Science Institute, shoppers who are only making a quick trip to the store purchase an average of 54 percent more than they had planned. In addition to visiting the store less frequently, make a grocery list before you go cut down on impulse buys.

    3. Why Bigger Isn't Always Better
    It’s important to know that not all products are cheaper when you buy bigger sizes. Make sure to compare unit prices carefully at the store, because we have found that some items—like cereal and prepared frozen foods like French fries—are less expensive in smaller sizes. This is probably because the store knows these items are more likely to be purchased in bulk.

    4. Where in Your Supermarket to Buy Cheese
    When buying cheese at the supermarket, make sure to check both the cheese section (usually by the deli counter) and the dairy section for the best prices. The dairy section will have much less expensive processed cheeses, while you may find a deal on an equivalent cheese in the cheese section. Also check at the deli counter to see if they’re having any sales on Cheddar, Munster, and other sandwich cheeses. You can always ask them to just cut you a slab if you are planning on cubing or shredding the cheese.

    5. Saving on Sundae Night
    Never, ever let us catch you buying sundae toppings in the ice cream aisle! These nuts and mini candies are up to 50 percent cheaper in the baking aisle, which often even has sprinkles, too. Melt some chocolate chips in the microwave, then let them cool a bit and add to the top of ice cream for your own “instant shell.” 

    6. Saving Money on Fruits and Vegetables
    The best way to save on produce is to buy fruits and veggies when they are in season. Check out our list of what's in season when and plan your meals around these fruits and veggies, which will be cheaper at the store.

    7. Make Sure Frozen Vegetables Are Still Fresh
    When shopping in the freezer aisle, avoid packages of frozen vegetables that have frost on them. It’s a sign that the food has thawed and refrozen, and a percentage of moisture has already been lost. You should also give bags of frozen food a quick squeeze before putting them in your cart. If the food is solid, it has thawed and refrozen, and should be avoided.


    8. The Salad Bar Might Be Your Cheapest Best
    Many supermarkets these days have a vast salad bar. If the recipe you're making calls for a specialty item that you don't think you'll use a whole jar or can of, check out the salad bar. Salad bars can be a good source for olives, artichoke hearts, ripe avocado, bacon bits, and lots of other ingredients where a little goes a long way. It's often cheaper to buy them at the salad bar than elsewhere in the store.

     

    9. Don't Fall for Sneaky Meat Labeling
    Supermarkets have started using their own wording on meat packages to make you think that the product you are buying is a better grade than it really is. Most of the major chains are buying more select-grade beef, but may call it by any number of fancy names such as “top premium beef,” “prime quality cut,” “select choice,” “market choice,” or “premium cut.” Be aware that these titles don’t actually mean anything!

    10. Why It's Better to Shop Later
    Shop later in the day to take advantage of markdowns that happen at your supermarket during the day. Especially make sure to check the ends of aisles (the "endcaps") as well as the meat department and bakery.

     

    How many of these mistakes did you make? To find out more about simple secrets that can save you hundreds at the grocery store, download our 99¢ ebook, The Money Diet! Day 1: Supermarket Smarts. It contains 18 more tips for saving at the grocery store, a section on what you need to know about meal planning, and Day 1 of the Money Diet Financial Fitness Plan ("Turn Your Dreams Into Achievable Goals"). Save $2 and buy all of Week 1: Everyday Expenses for $4.99. You can buy the Money Diet hardcover book here. Thank you for buying our books! They make our website possible!

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