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During inflationary times, there is a growing interest in the usefulness of foods and less emphasis on brand names or store loyalty. For that reason, it is important to examine food products before making that final purchase.
Following are some cost-saving tips to help you make better choices when it comes to shopping for groceries.
- Always make a list, and carry a calculator with you. This way you will not end up buying or spending more than your budget will allow.
- Never shop on an empty stomach. You may be tempted to buy more than you need.
- Buy only what you need.
- If possible, leave children at home when you plan to go shopping at the supermarket. Colorful products aimed at children at usually displayed at their eye level.
- Usually, less expensive products are displayed on the bottom shelves.
- Purchase more protein foods from plant origin, and eat less animal food. A four-ounce to six-ounce serving of fish, poultry, legumes, or tofu will satisfy your protein requirement for the day. Tofu/bean curd has more protein than a serving of some meats. Select fresh tofu because pre packaged tofu will cost more.
- Skim milk or nonfat dry milk is usually less expensive than whole milk.
- Look for meats without a lot of bone, gristle, and fat. They add more weight, less meat per pound, and you end up spending more money.
- Get large cuts of meat and whole chickens when on sale, and cut and freeze for later use.
- Buy foods which increase in volume during cooking. You will get more servings for your money. These foods include whole grain wheat, rice, pasta, millet, barley, oats, couscous, and grits.
- Check to see if your supermarket lowers the price of their meats in the evening.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in season when prices are usually lower. Cook and store in the freezer for future use.
- Do not be misled by words such as wheat bread, which is the same as white bread. Look for the word, “whole wheat.” It has more nutrients.
- Making your own bread, pancake, or biscuit mixes may be more economical. You will know what is in the mix.
- Try to purchase foods that have nutritional labeling so you can select healthier foods.
- Plan meals that use leftovers, which can be frozen and reheated in the future.
- Compare prices at food co-ops, green markets, and fish and meat markets.
- To prevent spoilage, store your foods properly.
- Store brand food products are usually less expensive than national brands. They must meet the same nutritional standards as national food products. Check the store brands with less fancy labels.
- When you purchase canned vegetables, consider buying a lesser grade if visibility is not important. Whether you buy Grade A, B, or C, the nutritive value will be the same.
- Brown shell eggs have the same nutritional value as white shell eggs, so there is no need to spend more money on brown eggs.
- To save money, buy solid cheese and grate it at home.
- Avoid expensive convenience foods that are precooked, individually packaged, instant, canned or frozen.
- Purchase 100 percent fruit juice. Avoid beverages labeled fruit drinks, fruit cocktails, and fruit punches. You get less juice and more water and sugar. They also cost more.
- If you are a senior citizen or college student, many supermarkets may offer discounts on certain days.
- Try to tune out the background music, which can cause you to purchase unnecessary items; the melody is not there for your pleasure but to get you to buy!