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Save On Groceries Without Sacrificing Health

Save On Groceries Without Sacrificing Health

Savings begin and end at home.

From planning to purchasing to preserving, every interaction you have with produce can increase the longevity of groceries and decrease the bottom line at the cashier.

Thankfully, going through the proper channels of grocery planning can accomplish both of these goals without resorting to preservative-laden garbage parading as food.

Why Grocery Bills Suffer

Unlike other monthly expenditures, grocery shopping is often viewed as an organic expense. While utilities, mortgages and car loans are understood as static, fixed costs, paying for food can be haphazardly handled as expendable. Instead of purchasing healthier options, cheap becomes quite attractive when money gets tight.

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Planning Ahead

Shopping of any type without a plan can be financially disastrous. Even for a routine expenditure such as groceries, the principle remains the same. While hundreds of shopping trips would seem like an arsenal of experience, overlooking the basics to smart shopping can still be detrimental.

While researching different brands and stores before purchasing big ticket items seems like a no-brainer, the same attention is often absent in the weekly or biweekly grocery visit that ends up costing $10,400 a year.

An article in Kiplinger explained, "For example, when we priced a basket of ten items at Kroger and Harris Teeter, the tab at Kroger was $7.50 less. And when we compared 12 similar items at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, the total at Trader Joe's was $14 less."

Similarly, going into the store without a plan can lead to superfluous spending. Writing a list can help shoppers stay on track and not purchase unnecessary items

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Save At The Store

Once at the store, the plan becomes action. A list is only as good as its execution. Likewise, while at the store, other decisions can ultimately benefit the total cost.

Shop for produce that is in season. Off-season fruits and veggies can end up costing much more than their in-season counterparts. Similarly, grocery stores have their own cyclical buying habits that can influence the cost of items based on their availability.

Don't go hungry. Psychology and Marketing Professor Norbert Schwarz found that shopping on a full stomach could save money, as hungry shoppers end up spending more on impulse buys.

Convenience costs. Prices for prepared or packaged groceries cost exponentially more, according to Consumer Reports. From a markup of almost 600 percent on two pounds of carrots to chopped lettuce costing $2 more than a head of the same leaves, food prep can cost a pretty penny in the long run.

Save At Home

Learn how long produce lasts and how to extend its shelf life. Refrigeration can be a go-to, but is not always the best way to store all produce. Likewise, other products can be refrigerated or frozen to last longer without damaging their nutritional integrity (or taste).

Eating what is on hand, food that has already been purchased, as opposed to running through the drive-thru or ordering pizza can also save. While it can be very tempting on nights when food prep seems like just too much work, eating what has already been paid for can not only diminish the possibility of that particular food going bad, it will also save money. Consider making meals ahead of time if the desire to order out is a frequent pitfall.

While this guide is in no way exhaustive, following the basic principles of healthy spending from beginning to end can be financially beneficial. Savings do not need to involve obsessive couponing or freezing a year's worth of beef in a separate freezer.

Substantial savings can be attained just through planning, executing and eliminating spoiled purchases.

Image Credit: Public Domain


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Posted-In: Consumer Reports Harris Teeter Kiplinger Kroger Norbert Schwarz Trader Joe's Whole FoodsPersonal Finance Best of Benzinga