If you have nothing to do, don't do it with anyone else around.
You too can find fun and fortune by avoiding grocery merchandising tricks! And the First Rule is:
Stay Out Of Grocery Stores. Of course, you have to go to the store to buy food, but remember: the more times you go to the store, the more money you will spend. Organize your shopping so at most you go to the store four times a month. Avoid trips for "just one thing."
Scout the Territory. Check the advertisements for specials; go to at least two stores to check prices on major items before buying. Cherry pick the best deals. You may have to go to two or three stores, but oh well, think of the money you are saving as compensation for your time.
Eat Before You Shop. Never go to a grocery store hungry. Shop after a meal or a big snack.
Don't Take The Kids. Unless you have no alternative, don't take the kids with you. Kids who watch television are programmed to say, "Mummy, buy this" during shopping. Yielding to whining is a good way to go broke. The items advertised on TV are almost always the most expensive items. As an alternative, teach your kids to ignore most television advertising. All kids need to learn discipline and responsibility and this is one way to teach them these important values. Show your kids how planning meals and snacks, and then shopping smart, is part of what it takes to succeed in life.
Keep Track Of What You Buy. Using a calculator and/or pencil and paper, keep a running total of everything in your basket so you know what you've bought and how much you have left to spend.
Avoid The Name Brand Game. And its first cousin, the Coupon Game. Buy the generic and store brands, unless price comparison or a special sale bring the name brands into competition.
You Deserve First Class Meals, So Avoid Prepared Foods. "Cook from scratch." Make your own sauces and gravies, snacks, meals. You pay a big premium price when you buy packaged prepared foods that may be inferior in taste and nutrition to those you prepare yourself for your family.
Watch Out For The Snack Food Games. The lesson is: You can have two or three times the snacks at one fourth the price. Make your own snack foods. Get the kids involved! It's more fun, more better tasting, more money left for other things, more healthy and more nutritious. There is no snack -- from potato chips to sugar-coated popcorn, and on past pizza, burritos, and bean dip -- that you cannot do a more better job with yourself.
Meat-Smart Shopping. A most confusing area of the store is the meat market. Be sure to check the "reduced for quick sale" area. An inexpensive roast -- slow cooked in water, seasoned with onions, carrots and pepper -- is every bit as tasty and as tender as the big bucks roast and the high priced steak. Buy the regular ground beef and drain the fat after it's cooked (saving money on the higher priced lean and very lean packages.) Buy whole chickens and cut them up yourself, and/or take advantage of the low-priced bags of leg/thigh quarters. Learn a few cooking tricks and save yourself a pile of money.
Cheese Hints. Sliced or shredded cheese is rarely a good buy. Sliced cheese packaged in individual cellophane packages is a worst buy. The cellophane isn't for convenience, the product is o low in quality it won't hang together unless individually wrapped. The better buys per pound are usually store brand or generic versions of "Velveeta"-style processed cheese. Use this for casseroles and sauces. For sandwiches, a cheese slicer saves a lot of money. (If this kind of cheese doesn't grate well for you, freeze it first, thaw, then grate.) Five pound bricks of sliced cheese are sometimes competitively priced and thus can be a good choice.
Don't Shop In A Hurry. Good shopping takes time. You'll want to compare prices, check out more than one store, etc.
Watch Out For Non-Grocery Items. Do you really need to buy these products at the grocery store? Are they perhaps cheaper at a dollar store or discount center? And consider using alternatives to expensive packaged cleaning products, such as (a) bleach to clean toilets and porcelain sinks; (b) baking soda to clean the refrigerator, (c) ammonia for floors, walls, ovens. Warning: never mix chlorine bleach or cleanser with anything other than laundry soap as it can produce dangerous fumes when combined with some other products.
Buy Bread At Bakery Outlets. Avoid the high priced bread section at supermarkets. Drive a few blocks down the street to the local bakery outlet and purchase your bread items there. Better yet, make your own breads, pies, cakes, cookies, and other such goodies. Teach the kids to help. Tastes better, costs less!
It's OK To Save A Few Cents. Save a few cents on every item, and it adds up. Since money is scarce, you can use that "free" money for other necessary items.
Cook With Powdered Milk. You save money on every gallon when you cook with powdered milk instead of whole milk. There is no taste difference. Add the powdered milk to the dry ingredients and then add water when the recipe says add milk. One-third cup powdered milk plus one cup water makes on cup of milk. The least expensive powdered milk is the same stuff as the most expensive, so buy based on price, not brand. For a richer milk, use ½ cup powdered milk per cup of water.
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