I’m always looking for new and different ways to save money at the grocery store, especially these days with prices seeming to go up every week. Here’s 10 more ways…..
- BULK BINS – If you only need a small amount of an ingredient like spices or grains, check out the bulk bins. Spices bought from the bins can cost as much as 77 percent less. This is a great way to try new ingredients too, without making a commitment to the entire package. My husband and I were at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago and I was surprised at how many ingredients they had available in bulk. We were able to purchase several spices and a couple of grains we were interested in taste-testing for less than a dollar.
- CHEESE SECTION – Whole blocks of cheese cost less than presliced and shredded packs. For example, one 8-ounce package of sliced cheese costs about $3.15 (at Target), while an 8-ounce block costs about $2.50. If you find a good deal on cheese or don’t use it that often, freeze it. While you can freeze just about any type of cheese, the firmer varieties like cheddar, gouda, and swiss, tend to freeze better. Frozen cheese will typically change texture and often becomes crumbly once thawed, according to The National Dairy Council so it’s best to use frozen cheese for sauces, soups and casseroles. When freezing, cut in portions no larger than 1/2 pounds each and wrap tightly in airtight wrapping or place inside a heavy-duty freezer bag. Or grate the cheese before freezing and store in freezer bags. For best results, use frozen cheese within 6 months. Thaw in fridge and use within 2 to 3 days.
- BAKERY DEPARTMENT – Baked goods can be marked up as much as 300 percent so think about making your own bread or muffins. Even making your own goodies from a mix can be less expensive than buying premade items. Also, check out day-old goods, which are sold at a huge discount and can either be eaten that day, or frozen for later use.
- SEAFOOD SECTION – The price of fish sold by weight is often hiked due to excess liquid in the packaging. In the case of seafood like scallops, water is added to putt it (and the price) up. Buy fish whose package indicates that it has been dry-packed, or ask the clerk to shake out excess water. This applies to produce too. Water adds weight so shake off the excess water (from the produce water sprayers) from lettuce and other produce sold by weight.
- FREEZER SECTION – Usually fresh and frozen produce are similarly price, and about the same nutritionally. But frozen produce tends to go on sale more often.
- *Did you know….Most of the 15 major categories of foods in a supermarket go through a 12-week sales cycle, with sales generally lasting one to three weeks. If you record sales in a notebook, you can map out a savings/grocery plan based on the 12-week cycle.
- FLORAL DEPARTMENT – Choose flowers farthest from produce (a lot of times the floral and produce areas are right next to each other) because ripening fruit gives off ethylene, which makes flowers wilt faster. King Soopers usually has a small section of flowers and plants marked 50% off on their older selections. I have bought flowers (for parties) from this area and had great luck with them and for 50% off, I don’t care if they die a couple of days sooner than the ones I paid the full price for.
- PRODUCE – I just assumed that when I buy a 5 or 10 pound bag of potatoes, the bag of potatoes weighs 5 or 10 pounds. Not necessarily. Items sold in bags (like potatoes, onions, apples, etc.), often weigh more or less than advertised. Weigh a few bags and choose a heavy one. Likewise, place produce that is sold by the unit, like lettuce, on the scale to get the heaviest one. Also, choose the fresh carrots and celery, as opposed to the prewashed, precut variety. They cost less and lasts longer.
- MEAT AND DELI COUNTER – You will pay a lot more when you buy prepackaged cold cuts or stop at the deli counter, paying $5 to $10 per pound. But if you select an unsliced selection from the case and have the butcher slice it, you’ll pay about $3 a pound…..same as buying a whole chicken and cutting and skinning it yourself versus buying boneless, skinless pieces.
- GROCERY SHELVES – A lot of name-brand items have shrunk in size but not in price. To get the best price, always compare the unit price. Shopping by unit price (for me), is the easiest way to know I’m getting the best bang for the buck. The unit price is listed on the shelf sticker next to the price of the product. It tells you what an item’s cost is per pound, gallon, ounce, etc.
- CHECK YOUR RECEIPT – I’m not going to mention any particular store by name but just in the past month alone, I have been overcharged for something I’ve bought every single time I’ve shopped. For the most part, the price difference has been because the store had left sale stickers up when the item wasn’t on sale any longer (but if a sale sticker is still up, they should still honor it). And just last week, four of the ten items I bought that were in the sale paper, had never been marked down in the computer system. It got so bad that now, I double-check my receipt before I leave the store.
And remember….you’ll spend more if you shop hungry!