Week after week, month after month and I’d finally had it with my wife’s gargantuan grocery bill. Looking back maybe it was the shoesall the shoes in her closet made me think of Emelda Marcos. Just because a woman has 50 pairs of shoes and three closets full of clothes doesn’t mean she’s not frugal.
My wife shook a stalk of celery in my face. “If you think you can do better, pal”she smirked at me condescendingly”march your butt to the supermarket yourself this weekend and see if you can do better”
“Fine,”I said, “and I’m not your pal. I should have assumed this basic fundamental task of saving money months ago so we could afford your dry clean cleaning bill”
I almost had to sleep on the couch that night but we’re seasoned warriors; both of us can take a punch. When I thought about how much money I was going to save, I dozed off that night almost feeling sorry for her. Don’t pity her, I thoughttough love.
On Saturday morning (D-Day) before I headed off to the store, we had coffee together. “Did you make a list?”She still had that silly simpering smile on her face.
“I don’t need a list. I know what we eat. I eat here everyday with you, remember?”
She shook her head with contemptuous pity. “I might not be here when you get back”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean…I might be at Carol’s house.”She seemed annoyed.
It’s been awhile since I shopped at the supermarket. Grocery shopping is something my wife has always done in the 12 years we’ve been married. I don’t know why, but I envisioned running into that friendly store manager that says, “Cardboard no. Delicious yes.”I thought maybeyou knowif I told him my situation he might wink and give me a few inside store tips. Well, it wasn’t like that. It was every man/woman for his/her self.
I waved off the store greeter who tried handing me a colorful 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper I later learned was a sheet full of store coupons and headed straight for a shopping cart. A woman who snatched a cart next to me seemed to know exactly where she was going. Funny, my mind drew a blank. I didn’t know where to begin, for it seemed as far as the eye could see there were nothing but “Sale”signs. This was going to be a slam dunk. I decided to go up and down every single isle.
By the time I got to the check out line my shopping cart was overflowing. Even though most or all of the items I bought were on sale, my total that day was almost twice that of my wife’s average weekly total. I should have known she knew what she was doing. I’m sure there’s hundreds of food shopping tips on the web, but here’s a few I learned the hard way:
Diary of a Mad Grocery Shopper Tips
Make a List ” a list is the most important way to circumvent impulse buying and ensure you don’t overspend.
Multitask Your Meals ” plan your meals so that the ingredients dovetail from meal to meal. Cook large pots of everything then you can eat the leftovers for days if you’re like me.
Coupons, coupons, coupons ” go to several stores if possible; don’t limit yourself to just one. Check newspapers, throw-away mailers for coupons, but also check online websites that specialize in coupons as well as the store or stores you plan t visit.
No Pre-Packaged/Prepared Food ” cook as much as you can from scratch. If you have to chop up a whole chicken then do it. Don’t buy the fancy boneless chicken breast or prepackaged lettuce.
Stock Up On Sale Items ” but only if they’re staples. Don’t buy chips and cookies just because they’re on sale.
Compare Price Per Ounce Cost ” make sure you compare unit prices before you buy. Jumbo size is not always less expensive. Some products in larger containers actually end up costing more per unit price.
Check Shelf Items Above and Below ” I read the most expensive products are displayed at eye level. Don’t impulse buy from center isle or end cap displays.
Supermarket Cards ” some supermarkets have club cards or discount cards which enable customers to receive discounts.
A Note on Wal-mart ” just because Wal-mart is known for lower prices doesn’t mean their prices are lower on everything. Shop and compare.
Stand Alone Freezer ” if you have a freezer separate from the one in your refrigerator, fill it as full as you can. The fuller your freezer, the less energy it takes to keep items frozen.
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