Supermarket Supersavings

Here in Sanford, we’re fortunate to have a great selection of grocery store options to choose from. And that’s a good thing, because feeding a household can be a costly proposition. In fact, next to housing, it’s often the biggest line item in a family’s budget. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true methods you can make use of every time you visit a grocery store, to help hold costs down.

Here are a few key points to remember –

Plan ahead – Take a few minutes before the trip to make sure you know what you need. It’s a great way to avoid buying unnecessary items that in some cases could go bad before they get used. Go a step further and plan meals for the upcoming week so that you’re only buying what you’ll use.

Buy generic (usually) – Grocery store-labeled brands have noticeably improved in quality over the years, yet they remain far more cost-effective than name brands. Particularly for items such as paper products, there’s no need to pay extra unnecessarily. If this concept makes you uncomfortable, begin with baby steps. Choose a few items on each visit. Over time you’ll know which items pass your taste and quality test.

Be cost-conscious – Obvious, sure, but buying non-perishable items when they’re on sale and scouring the store discounts and specials really make a difference.  If time permits, take a look at the newspaper circulars, sign up for weekly email specials, or visit stores’ websites. Then shop at the store with the best discounts for your shopping plan this week. With several viable options to choose from, there’s no need to shop at the same store each week. Also, consider holding off on purchasing non-grocery items such as hygiene products and cleaning supplies that can often be found cheaper in other locales.

Defeat sweets/avoid small packages – Small packages may be handy for school lunches, snacks and travel, but they usually come with an excessive cost. You’re better off buying in larger sizes and creating your own smaller portions. When it comes to candies and soft drinks, the alternatives are more nutritious and often cheaper.