I work in retail at a grocery store. As a result, I see first hand the changing grocery shopping trends. I also see first hand the great opportunities shoppers have to save on foods and groceries in general. This could be you!
I am not a money saving expert, however, from experience, I am able to pass on some valuable money saving tips to consumers. Tips that give you options when considering how you can save money on foods. Do you want to save money?
In Australia, there is a slow but steady transition to online grocery shopping. Those who are shopping online are mostly families. Mom’s are finding it easier to sit at home and shop online than drag the kids to the store which is often a tiresome, stressful experience. And they admit they tend to spend more when the kids are with them in the store. Is this you?
Customers are morphing from weekly shoppers to daily shoppers. I see the same faces every day. They are purchasing in smaller quantities more often than was the case just a few years ago. This is one of the reasons stores are implementing the Self Serve option. Self-service is never going away if anything these areas will only grow in size as we move forward. This is inevitable progress and we grow with it.
No matter how much we try to resist this trend it is only going to keep growing and thus we will see the demise of that friendly face over the counter. Do you like the personal touch? Would you rather serve yourself? The preference is individual. Do you agree?
Back In The Day
The older generation the fifty-plus group are finding it the most difficult to transition because we were bought up with the personal interaction between the customer and the retail assistant. The personal connection between two human beings is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
The younger generation shoppers tend to opt for the self-serve option rather than the interaction of the old ways. The young customers head toward the self-serve machines more often than not. Mom’s with little ones still opt for the checkouts because it is easier than trying to juggle groceries and children.
This is a testament to the changing times and we all have to get used to the idea and go with the flow of change.
Saving Money On Groceries
These are all the most common ways to save money on foods and grocery shopping. With so many stores competing for the customer’s dollar, the marketing strategies rely heavily on offering the best options to the shopper.
I see on a daily basis just how many loyalty cards customers have in their purses and wallets. The majority are not truly loyal to one store so the big retailers are always devising ways to market their stores. As a result, customers have more cards than they can carry.
Coupons are another option for those on a tight budget and they do save customers money if they remember to use them at the point of sale.
In Australia, we still have the weekly catalog delivered to our home post box, commonly referred to as ‘junk mail’. This is a good read while sitting and having a freshly brewed coffee.
The Savvy Shopper Makes A List
This shopper will peruse the catalog rigorously and if they are really truly savvy they will make a list of the specials they use the most.
Families tend to benefit from planning meals and devising a list from the weekly menu. Three meals per day, seven days per week including each family member. The trick is to stick to the list while in the store do not deviate from the original list.
The list should include every component of every meal such as spices and sauces and side dishes. The meal as a whole. When saving money on groceries all ingredients are inclusive to the final cost of the shop.
The list should also include pet foods and cleaning products and toiletries and of course, the family treats.
Using the catalogs the coupons and the loyalty cards will guarantee savings at the checkouts. After all the money is better off in your pocket than in the bank accounts of the store owners. They want your money. The money you have worked hard to earn. Be shop savvy and your money stays in your pocket yet you still have all the groceries you require to survive.
Half Price Stocking Up
If you happen to be in the position to afford to stock up on those items you purchase and use on a regular basis you are winning. In store and online weekly specials are reduced radically now more than ever by retailers. Many of the items we use regularly are reduced by as much as half the normal price.
Toiletries are a good example of requirements we all purchase regularly. Toilet rolls, hair products, deodorants, paper towel, laundry products. These particular items save the savvy shopper a considerable amount of money on offer at half the regular price. For example, if you were to purchase one hair shampoo, one conditioner, one pack of toilet rolls and one bottle of laundry liquid at half the regular price. You could be saving yourself around twenty to thirty dollars in one shop. Try it next time you shop. The money saved on these purchases stays in your pocket and benefits you rather than the store owner.
If you you are able to purchase such big ticket items in quantities you are able to have enough in stock to see you through to the next time these items are on sale at half price. By shopping around you are able to purchase your more expensive shopping items at half price on a regular basis. However, having two or three in stock at home assures you never pay full price again.
A couple of other items that you would save a great deal on are coffee and breakfast cereals. Compiling a stock of these items also have the savvy shopper saving money on groceries.
Value For Money
Value for money is often overlooked by shoppers. It only takes a little of our time to read the product labels to get the best value for your money. For example, buying a jar of coffee. A 400g jar of coffee is often cheaper to purchase than a 100g or 200g jar when on sale. Purchasing a larger quantity lasts twice as long and you won’t have to purchase the item as often at the higher price. Bags of quality dog biscuits are often cheaper on special to purchase than a less superior quality bag. A shoppers food choices make a great deal of difference when the intent is to save that money. Your money.
Then there are the medication items. Research the components of a pain relief item such as ibuprofen. You will find the exact component in the more expensive brands as there are in the cheaper plain packaged brands found in most stores. Note the only difference between the two brands is the marketing strategies. They both have the same overall effect however, the difference in price is substantial. There are brands who advertise the same product and have you believe they all target different areas of the body for pain relief. Giving you the impression you need a specific pack for a specific area. For example, the same brand may offer the consumer ibuprofen which targets headaches, back pain, menstrual pain when really the cheaper plain packaged brand will do the exact same job. One packet covers all areas. The cheaper option benefits your pocket and therefore you are the winner.
Beware The Advertising
The products we see advertised constantly are always big brand names. Not often do we see the plain packed equivalent advertised on our screens. The savvy shopper knows the cheaper equivalent or generic brands are the ones that save money on grocery shopping trips.
The big brand names are advertised constantly so they stick in our minds. When we are searching the shelves at the store they are the prominent items, the items we see first. We automatically reach for them without thought. We are making a subliminal purchase.
Not only do we constantly see the product we assume that they are the best product because we believe the advertising messages. Frequency of advertising does have an effect on our grocery choices. That is what marketing is designed to achieve. You can change that.
You only have to try a product once to know whether it works the same, tastes the same or is very much the same no matter the packaging and marketing.
The research could very well make a huge difference when you focus on saving money on grosery purchases. You benefit by saving your money. Once you begin to look more closely at the products you are purchasing and making informed purchases you are able to see a shift in your finances. Save every time you shop.
Begin to shop with intent rather than shopping blind and then you will notice the difference in your shopping experience. Getting more for your money is a benefit to your quality of life. You save you benefit.
Frequency Of Visits To Stores
Another angle to look at things from when considering saving money on groceries is the frequency with which you go to the store.
Let’s say you make a shopping list and visit the store once per week. During this visit, you purchase everything you have on your list. Including perishables such as fruit, vegetables, meat, bread, and dairy. Most importantly you adhere strictly to the list. Do you believe you would save more money by shopping in this way or by doing small daily shops? Try it and see for yourself.
Again the stores want you to call in daily. Unless you are particularly focussed or have an extremely strict budget you are likely to spend more than you initially planned.
A common topic of conversation between a daily customer and a retail assistant is how much more they bought than they originally intended. In grocery store retail a customer often says, “I only came in for bread and milk.” They laugh as soon as they say it, but, the visit, in reality, has cost them ten times more because they have purchased many more items than they originally planned. So the intent was to spend $10 and the actual purchase is $100. A win for the retailer.
The staples such as bread and milk are often purchased daily by consumers. However, the savvy shopper will buy bread and freeze it for longevity and purchase the milk with the longest best before date, which can usually be a week or ten days.
Making a list and shopping once per week was a trend most common in the older generation. The younger generation are more likely to shop on a daily basis. There are the odd younger consumers who follow in mom’s footsteps and shop less frequently, but rare.
Perishable Daily Markdowns
Many supermarkets have considerable markdowns on perishable products. These include fresh produce, meat, service deli products, seafood, dairy and bakery products. These markdowns are daily with in-store bakery items and certain deli items. The markdowns happen at a specific time of the day commonly referred to as the golden hour at 4 to 4.30pm. Be there and save.
For example, the freshly cooked chickens in the deli area have a particular time limit for shelf life. Those that are not sold within that time are reduced in price sometimes by up to 50-60%. If a consumer happens to be in the store at the time of markdown they score a bargain. It can be you!
Pre-packaged deli, meat, and produce items such as coleslaws, pasta salads, quiches, pre-cooked meals, meat trays, packed fruit, salads, and vegetables all have a best before date. The bigger grocery stores reduce prices on these items 2 days prior to the best before date. The reductions are percentage based. Each day they reduce further and further until sold. Purchases of these products offer significant savings for the consumer. There are some real bargains to be had when purchasing these items at reduced prices. There are shoppers who frequently visit stores with this knowledge of how to save on foods.
The savvy shopper with the intent to save money on foods and groceries visit stores only to make these purchases. They save a lot by buying these daily markdowns.
Make Saving Your New Habit
The big picture is pretty clear. Start thinking about how long you have to spend at work and away from your family each day to earn your wage. Look at each item and base its value on your hourly earning.
For example, a two-liter bottle of laundry detergent is priced at $10 and your hourly rate is $10 you have worked for an hour just to purchase that laundry detergent. Better to buy two bottles at half price when they are on sale? Or one bottle at half price? So you have only worked half the time to be able to buy it. You leave with change in your pocket. You have out-smarted the store owner. Isn’t it a great feeling?
These are questions you should ask yourself next time you visit the grocery store and spend wisely. You will benefit. Your finances benefit. Your quality of life benefits. This is a win-win outcome for you.
You have so much to gain when shopping with intent to save on foods. Make a difference one step at a time.
Next time you are planning to do your weekly grocery shop. Have a distinct plan to save on foods. Think of your saving options. Make a change.
Small steps toward the bigger picture start with one change. Make one change because you can. You will reap the benefits.
Make the choice to save on foods your habit. Start today. You got this!