Saving Money on the Grocery Bill: Part 4

Comparison Shopping, Part 1

Now that you’ve planned your meals, accounted for “orphan” ingredients and leftovers,  have the cooking under control, what do you do next? You start comparison shopping.

Put a calculator in your pocket or purse, and learn to read labels. Not just ingredient labels, but also pricing labels.  There are some common things that can really rack up the grocery bill that aren’t necessarily obvious at first glance.

-Compare price by weight or volume, and not by the package.  For example, when you’re comparing chips, look at the price per ounce.  Packages are often not the same weight, even though they may be the same size, and that can make package pricing deceptive.  Whey buying toilet paper, check the price per square or per foot (and, you will often have to convert from one to the other, because stores have also gotten wise to this trick).

-Keep in mind that larger sizes are not always cheaper. We’ve all been told to “buy in bulk,” because it’s cheaper; and, at one time, it usually was. Stores have caught onto this, however, and often the larger package is more expensive (Wal-Mart is notorious for this, and many people don’t catch it).  Often, if a smaller size is on sale, it will be cheaper ounce-per-ounce than the larger size. This happens with brown rice at our local Kroger about once a month.

-Compare apples-to-apples on ingredients. If one item is cheaper, make sure you peak at the ingredient label to see if fillers are the reason.

-Unless you, and the rest of your family, measures everything fairly precisely, don’t fall for the “1 sheet/ounce/drop is equal to 5 regular sheets/ounces/drops.” If your kids use half a foot of toilet paper, buying thicker toilet paper isn’t likely to make them use less unless you’ve got a pretty good system for monitoring that (which I am sure some of my readers would love to know about, please share).

-Don’t assume generics are cheaper. Often, they are; but, if a name-brand is on sale, then sometimes they are not.

Check in Wednesday for another installment!



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