If you are like most people, your grocery bill may be one of your biggest expenses. There are so many frugal tips and hacks that you can use to lower your grocery bill.. but which ones should you spend time on?
I once read a great article about saving money in the hotel and restaurant industry. The premise was that if you are hired as a new manager then the first thing you should do is to find out which item is costing the company the most money. Then, take that item and put the most effort into finding a deal. Negotiate with suppliers, find a new source, etc. If you save even a small amount of money on that one item- the volume purchased will make the cost savings extremely magnified and worthwhile.
Choosing where to Shop
Money is tight for a lot of people right now and it’s very hard to practice the frugal tips and tricks that we always have used. For example, we can’t really walk around different stores and look for sales, or travel to a few different stores to get the best price. Many people are also relying on grocery delivery which sometimes has additional fees and tips that have to be factored in. It just doesn’t make sense to get deliveries from more than one store even if there are sales at different stores.
We currently are only going to one supermarket. Although there are a few near our home we are doing our best to reduce our exposure by shopping at only one store every other week. This has definitely impacted our food bills and our ability to shop the sales or take advantage of promos at different stores.
Driving a Mile to Save a Dime
This can also be an issue during non-pandemic life. When different stores have different sales it can be a full-time job trying to take advantage of every cost-saving opportunity. Time is not always readily available. And of course, there is the transportation factor as well. We don’t have a car so this is an issue we can see very clearly. Is it worth a bus fare or taxi fare to get a great deal at a further store? When you have a car, it may seem easy to drive to another store just to get some great savings but the price of gas lowered those savings even further.
There are many ways to save money on food and toiletries. Some stores are consistently cheaper, there are coupons that can be clipped, there are bulk discounts, etc. The problem is that most people can’t spend endless amounts of time just to save a few pennies. Most people can’t just travel across town to save money even if you have a car! You also can’t carefully line up all your coupons and go to every grocery store in town just to save some money. It would drive you crazy and consume your life. We have all seen those stories about people who manage to use extreme couponing to feed a family on a few dollars but most of us have other commitments and don’t have that level of intensity or desperation to make that happen. It’s just not worth it!
Run your House like a Business
So I had an idea. Why not run our house like a business and focus on where we can save the most money and then make decisions based on that?
Why not apply this idea to our homes? We can use this concept when trying to save on food and toiletries.
We need to analyze the volume and price of the items we regularly buy and then make or shopping decisions on that.
Make a List of Regularly Used Items
So, make a list of the items you regularly use in your house. Which items do you go through the most? Although, for example, detergent can be quite pricey- chances are that it is not the item that gets purchased the most. It may be milk or tissues or diapers or formula. Which of these items do you buy the most of? How much is each of these items at each of the stores that you usually frequent? are any stores having sales on these items?
Pick your Top 3 Most Used Items
After you sit down and do the math on your 3 most purchased items you can use math to decide which store is worth it for you to go to. calculating your entire grocery list by price is something probably most of you won’t do. I certainly have no time, patience, or energy to do so. (If you are doing a full order online then you can fill your cart and then decide which is cheapest). if you consistently save money on your 3 top most -used items chances are that the savings will add up.
Focus on Volume
You can also spend a bit more time looking for ways to save money on these 3 things. Searching for coupons can be difficult and but if you focus your cost-saving efforts on the 3 top items than you will be using your energy and time on the items that cost you the most money.
Narrow Your Focus
Saving money can be tiring and time-consuming. Using our energy and focus to zero in on certain items to save money on will help you actually save money without getting burnt out quickly. Trying to cut pennies on every item in your grocery list will not be sustainable unless you really need every penny (in which case desperation is a great motivator). Try to pick what item to save money on and watch the savings roll in.