It took about a year for me to basically rewrite my fiance’s prior shopping knowledge and implant my own learned from both a Mother that had to combat my Dad’s bizzare spending habits and a love of consumer report tv. I remember way back in the beforetime that he would write down frozen pizza or KD on the list, while I would just tsk tsk and skip that entire aisle at the grocery store. Not that he’s exactly excited to think up meals that he can cook and with what per sey, but at least he spends more time in the produce section than the cookie asile.
A lot of people hate grocery shopping because they get stressed over the math or thinking that far ahead (him included) or something just as scary but easily beatable. Here are two tips that I think everyone should know and work into your routine, because it really does help one work within a budget, and can lay the groundwork to learning how sales work and when you can score a great deal!
The first tip is to learn how to read the pricing labels in your supermarkets. It can take some practice to decipher the numbers and symbols, and even more to remember to actually try, but this is almost the singlemost beneficial trick you can use to get the most value for your money. Can’t figure out which item is the better price, or worse, can’t do the math on sale items? The labels generally do the equations for you!
If you look at the above picture for a Taco Kit, you should see the giant barcode near the middle. Check just to the right of it (literally immediately next to it), and that’s your answer. This particular one reads ‘1.150 per 100g’ which would be $1.15. Now we go back to high school math and we remember that to compare two numbers (or groups of things, or fractions) you need to bring those down to the smallest common number that both things share. In this case, imagine we’re deciding between this off brand Taco Kit and a brand name one, but they are both different prices and different sizes. Look at the same price label, right where I showed you, and both will have how much each is per that 100g (which is the easiest common ‘denominator’ when dealing with food). In this case, the off brand was a better deal so we had Tacos last night and they were magical 🙂
The second tip I have also involves my supper last night, and another one that took me a long time to show Rob, and most times happens in the produce department.
Some fruit and vegetables are sold by weight like grapes or tomatoes on the vine. Others however are sold by item number, like lettuce or celery. To that end, if one head of lettuce is the same price as another because each are sold as single items, then you want to make sure you get the heaviest head that you can because Mother Nature doesn’t make produce uniform! If you get the heaviest Iceberg Lettuce or the Celery with the most stalks then you’re sure to get a really good deal. A good time to test this out is when a store has a sale on fruit like kiwi or avocado. Watch out though and remember to check the labels!