When inflation is a problem and prices are on the rise, the importance of being a smart food shopper cannot be overemphasized. Most likely you work hard just to make ends meet. So it is important for you to know how, where, and when to shop for food, thus spending your money in the most prudent way!
Resist Impulse Shopping
Above all else, smart shoppers resist impulse buys. You can reduce the cost of your food a great deal by careful planning. Never shop for food when you are hungry. You will most certainly buy things that you would not ordinarily buy. Consult store flyers, but do not make purchases simply because something is one sale. Only buy those sale items that you would have needed to purchase anyway. Consult the sales, make a shopping list, and stick to it.
Smart shoppers compare prices at different stores before making purchases, either by checking online or store flyers. Be careful about driving all over town to save a few dollars. Doing so will eat away at your savings in transportation costs.
Popular brands are usually priced higher to cover advertising and packaging costs. Store brands may be just as good and are usually worth a try. Sometimes, even when a coupon is used, name brands will cost more than generic store brand versions.
Buy the Food, Not the Packaging
Smart shoppers resist shopping traps. Shopping traps are tricks used by advertising and marketing departments to get you to make a purchase and consist of such things as colorful food labels and attractive packaging. Remember, you are not going to display your food; you are simply going to eat it! Unless you notice a difference in the quality of the food, there is no reason why an item needs to be attractive in its packaging for you to buy it.
Look Up and Down
Positioning of the food in the store is another trap. End-of-aisle displays, where you have to slow down, often stock high-profit items or junk foods. The most expensive items will usually catch your eye first. Compare them with the prices of items on the top and bottom of the shelves and see if you don't notice a difference.
Time it Right
Knowing when to buy can sometimes be more important than where to buy. Fruits and vegetables in season are much more economical and can often be canned for future use.
Be Vigilant at the Checkout Counter
Sometimes all can be lost at the checkout counter. Be sure not to be tempted by chocolate bars, magazines, and children's toys. None of these items are on your shopping list and they certainly aren't necessary in terms of basic food staples. On the other hand, if you do plan for the occasional indulgence at the checkout, don't berate yourself. Make it a point to only do this once in a while (think one magazine per month, not one every trip) and truly enjoy those little treasures when you do pick them up.
Above all, be flexible in your approach to smart grocery shopping. If you find a great sale at the store, recognize value and add it to your cart. This is not deviating from your list; it is sticking to your monthly plan. As long as you keep track of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.