That $185 a week … that’s just food. It doesn’t include personal care, household cleaning, tobacco, alcohol or lottery tickets – all the things we often add to our carts to driving up our shopping costs.
You can expect those costs to go up. Inflation is climbing and food is one of the categories hardest hit. Food costs were up over 2.1% in September 2010 (over the previous year), and up 2.2% in October. If you’re looking for ways to trim costs, here are some ideas:
1. Stock up
Know what stuff costs so that when you see a deal you can buy in bulk. When salmon hits 99¢ a tin, or coffee goes on sale, or when toilet paper is a bargain, stock up. It’s not going to spoil so buy on sale and save.
2. Calculate the per-unit cost
Companies use different sizes and formats for their products so it’s easy to become confused about which is the better deal. If you don’t calculate the per-unit cost, it virtually impossible to tell what is a deal and what isn’t. Just think of all the different versions of laundry soap out there. Whew! Remember that just because the package is bigger doesn’t mean the per-unit cost is lower.
3. Get a rain-check
If you set out to buy something advertised as on special and it’s not in stock, make sure you get a rain-check so you extend the sale and get what you wanted at the best possible price.
4. Shop where prices are lowest
So obvious. And yet not always the way we go. Would you be interested in saving up to 30% just by switching your supermarket? Hmmm. That would be $45 in savings on a $150 food bill. Over a year, that’d be over $2,300. That sounds worthwhile, doesn’t it?