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People! Grocery shopping is expensive. If you don’t diversify where you shop and tailor your purchases to targeted locations, you will pay top dollar for most of what you need. Here are some tips to help you save big and shop smart.
Have a meal plan. Always.
Shop with a list. Always.
Base most of your meals on rice or beans to cut down meat consumption (and be a good greenie!).
Bring lunch from home (invest in proper containers to amp it up).
Bring your own bags to the grocery store. Many stores offer a small discount per bag.
Buddy shop! Watch for deals on things your friends need and have them do the same for you.
Buy enough of a sale item to last three months - about how long sales take to cycle.
Cook from scratch – ideally large amounts and freeze the surplus – making digit dialing much less likely on busy nights.
Don’t buy coffee, any drinks or snacks out. Bring healthy snacks and reusable drink bottles. Duh.
Freeze, can or dehydrate produce.
Grow your own produce. Try vertical gardening if you are pressed for space.
Keep a price book and track prices by unit cost (that’s seriously worth a gold star).
Limit eating out.
Make your own baby food.
Plan meals according to what is on sale.
Shop for produce at a local farm stand or designated fruit and veggies shop.
Stock your pantry with staples. Stockpile when prices are low.
Take advantage of rain checks.
Take advantage of stores that double coupons.
Inspired? Tightwad hopes so.
Buy easy to care for Many expensive items are hard - and costly - to care for. To save money on your wardrobe over time, avoid the dry cleaning only label.
Delegate Just as you have clothes suitable for work, have clothes that you wear only for odd jobs around the house – sparing the good stuff from excessive wear and tear.
Embrace your clothesline Improve the life of your clothes by line drying instead of using the dryer and stressing the garment unnecessarily.
Go classic Focusing on the classics means that your wardrobe will stand the test of time. You won’t need to make new purchases as often as a result. Bling up your wardrobe with low-cost accessories and keep the trendy item purchases at a minimum.
Take care of your garments Everything lasts longer if you care for it properly. Follow the care instructions on your clothes; they will last longer and reduce the need to shop.
Go for quality Cheap garments don’t last. Period. Higher-quality clothing last longer with proper care.
Time your shopping Save when you shop off-season; when things that you normally buy are discounted in order to refresh your wardrobe at a low price.
There are a number tricks shops use to get you to spend more money. Here’s the DL:
Better by comparison A common sales tactic is to introduce a third, mid-range product when you're comparing the high and low end, encouraging shoppers to spend a more for the perceived superior quality of a mid-range product.
Bundled services aren't always the steal they seem. Bundles often include services you don’t need, often at temporary promotional prices. When the promos run out you're stuck paying a premium. Avoid this trap by only subscribing to services you use. Monitor the terms of the promotion and cancel your plan before the terms change.
Buy now or miss out A sense of urgency is also exploited to drive sales. To get the upper hand, comparison shop and use negotiation tactics to your advantage.
Dim lighting can make you appear thinner with the angle of the mirror cleverly positioned to artificially slim your figure. Get a second opinion from a mirror on the sales floor. The lighting there may reveal some previously unseen issues.
Discriminatory pricing is the practice of adjusting prices based on consumer and market behavior to capture customers throughout the day. Use this tactic to your advantage by creating price alerts for specific products with a site like pricegrabber.com to notify you when prices reach their lowest levels.
In store demos aren't just for your convenience. Consumers who touch products are more likely to buy them than consumers who don't - likely because once consumers touch an item they feel a greater sense of ownership. Window-shopping is your best bet to keep your money in your wallet.
Internet ad stalking Targeted “spam” advertising is a common trick. By tracking your browsing history with cookies, retailers fill ads with the products you've viewed online. Clear your search history and cookies after each browsing session.
Overwhelm the senses In addition to touch, retailers tap into other senses to create a familiar atmosphere and an emotional connection to a particular brand, enticing you to buy and stay loyal. Think the aroma of freshly baked bread, chocolate chip cookies and roasting chickens when you walk into a grocery store. Mmmmmmm.