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More Tips on Lowering Food Costs

Start a Grocery Shopping Notebook.  Supermarkets usually put the same items on sale every three months or on a regular cycle.  For example, if chicken is 20 percent off in January, it will likely be 20 percent off again in April, August and so on.  Buy items in bulk when they are on sale and freeze them if necessary.  Keep a record of your purchases in a shopping notebook so you know when each item is due to go on sale again.  You can save hundreds every year by only buying items when they are on sale.  If you use a coupon, in addition to the sale price, you save even more.

Buying a Larger Size Isn't Always Cheaper.  Consumers seem to think that they will get a discount if they buy a bigger box or can of something, but if you look at the item price you might find this isn't so.  For example, the larger box of dried skim milk is often more expensive per ounce than the smaller box.  This can be true of many items, so take a calculator with you to the market and do the match.  Find out how much an item costs per ounce or pound and then you might find out that the smaller size is actually cheaper.

Be Aware of Product Downsizing.  Many manufacturers are downsizing the size of their products without changing the price so you should be constantly aware that this is happening.  Just about every category of items found in the grocery store has been downsized, including cereal, coffee, sugar, body soaps, frozen foods, hygiene products and even yogurt. You must compare the unit price of the package with that of other sized packages to find out which is the best deal.  Use your phone’s calculator to find out how much an item costs per weight as compared to another. Manufacturers resort to several tricks when downsizing a product:

(1) They put a big dent in the bottom of the jar so it looks the same size as before, but contains less product now. The next time you’re shopping for mayonnaise, peanut butter or yogurt, flip the package over and look at the bottom to see if there is a big dent in the bottom of the jar.
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Shop at Dollar Stores.  On average, dollar store prices are 70 percent less than any supermarket on certain items.  In particular, some products are 90 percent cheaper, such as paper products like paper towels and toilet paper. Dollar Stores are a good place to buy cleaning products, toiletries, plastic containers and party supplies.  Stay away from certain products at dollar stores, like electronics, electrical cords, and batteries since they lack any certification and might be fire hazards.  Don’t buy over the counter medications here either because they might be fakes or have expired expiration dates.


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(2) They leave the package the same size but put less product in it. Two competitors’ products might look like they contain the same amount of product because the packaging is the same size, but if you look at how many ounces they contain, you might find one item has two more ounces than the other and is probably the better deal.  For example, two cans of tomatoes might be the same size, but the weight might indicate that one has 8 ounces while the other as 7 ounces.

(3) They take out ingredients without telling you to reduce their manufacturing costs or they add ingredients or change the ingredient mix without telling you.  For example, you might purchase a particular brand of peanut butter with little or no added sugar for your kids, and then one day you realize that they added extra sugar to it without announcing it on the front label.
(4) They put a tiny bit of product in a big, oversized container to give consumers the illusion that they are getting more for their money.  Have you ever noticed how vitamin bottles and aspirin bottles are oversized.  They put a few pills in a huge bottle.


Shop at the Drugstore.  There are certain items of food that are actually 20 percent cheaper at drugstores like Walgreens, CVS, etc.  Surprisingly, it has been found that milk and eggs are about 15% cheaper at these places.  So is soda pop and cereal.