How to Save Money at the Grocery Store: Tips on Buying Generic and More

Every time you to take a trip to the grocery store you are playing a game without even realizing it. The grocery store industry has been around for over a century, and as a result they’ve collected an amazing amount of data on shopping habits that they use against you. In addition, the food you buy has undergone various changes in packaging over the years; some of these changes are not always as much to your benefit as you might suspect. It takes some smarts to make it out of the grocery store today without being manipulated into buying things that either aren’t what you really need or are packaged in such a way that you might be purchasing an inferior product.

The first line of defense in your battle against the power of the grocery store is to get out as quickly as possible. Obviously, you should already know better by now than to go to the grocery store on an empty stomach; the single best time for you to shop for food is after big satisfying meal. Regardless of whether you shop when hungry or sated, however, the longer you spend in a grocery store, the more you will spend. If at all possible try to get out of the grocery store within a half hour. Studies have shown that the average shopper spends between 50 cents and a dollar for each minute they spend in a grocery store beyond that initial half hour!

Always buy generic when possible. Unless you just absolutely have a devotion to brand name products, the generic equivalent is usually just as good and often costs half the price. Most generic and brand name products contain the exact same ingredients; the only differences are usually in how much of each ingredient is used and how they are combined. Even if you prefer the brand name product when it comes to consumables, you should always buy the generic version when it comes to non-food items.

When it comes to those paper towels, do yourself a favor and stay away from the expensive super-absorbent kind. Why shouldn’t you get the heavy duty ones? Because most of the time you’re only going to be using them as napkins or to clean up minor spills, you really don’t need the extra strength that these paper towels promise. Not only will a regular strength paper towel do well enough for most of the jobs you’ll require, but the generic version will do just as well as the more expensive name brands.

Remember that one word advice that Dustin Hoffman received in The Graduate? “Plastics.” Well, plastic surely has its advantages in certain situations, but not when it comes to storing milk. Unless the grocery store you shop at is illuminated via natural lighting, those plastic jugs of milk are probably being exposed to flourescent lights. What’s the big deal? Flourescent lights serves to oxidize milk contained in plastic jugs, resulting in a loss not only of taste, but also of Vitamin C.

If you absolutely must buy water instead of getting it for relatively free from your tap, it helps to understand that not all bottled water is bottled equally. Mineral water indicates that the water inside the bottle got there from an underground spring. Seltzer water is nothing more than tap water that has been carbonated. Club soda is simply seltzer water that has had mineral salts added. Since club soda very often tastes better than mineral water, you can often save money and increase the enjoyment of your water at the same time.

For more tips on saving money at the grocery store, be sure to check out these articles:

Cashing in at the Grocery Store

Tips to Save Money at the Grocery Store

How to Save Money at the Grocery Store

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