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10 Supermarket Spending Tricks You Need To Know To Save More On Groceries

10 Supermarket Spending Tricks You Need To Know To Save More On Groceries

Food is one of the inevitable spendings that eat out a huge chunk of your budget. Yet, you can cut down your expenses drastically without giving up on the goods you love! Try using at least a few of these smart tricks and watch your check shrinking for at least 30%.

1. Opt for bags and bundles

You do know that buying in bulk is cheap. However you always felt reluctant about dragging a truckload of food back home, especially if there’s just the two of you to consume it. Well, middle-sized multi-packs are amazingly great deals too! For instance, a bundle of 4 Dannon Activia yogurts costs 2.58$, when a single cup is typically priced around 1$. Same works with buying loose grocery vs. bagged. Five pounds of potatoes are 36% cheaper when bought bagged. This trick works fantastic with foods, soap and pet food.

Money spent WITHOUT the trick: $22.50

Money spent WITH the trick: $14.40

Money saved: $8.10

2. Grow your own herbs

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    Stop buying bundles of herbs for 2$ per item and make your living space greener instead.You neither need advanced gardening skills, nor a lot of space to set up a small garden, say on your kitchen window or porch. By investing around 5$ once, you will always have fresh fragrant herbs in stock. Plus, no extras spoiled and wasted when you decide to make a few changes in your weekly menu.

    Money spent WITHOUT the trick: $40 per month

    Money spent WITH the trick: $5 for seeds and pots

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    Money saved: $35

    3. Do your own slicing

    Yeah, you love having everything beautifully sliced and vacuum packed for you in pretty packs. However, if you are on a mission to save as much money as you can, you’ll have to do all the peeling, slicing and dicing yourself. It’s pretty rewarding as, for instance, a cut and peeled pineapple costs 5.99$, whereas the uncut one can be bought for just 3.99$. Same applies to whole chicken vs packaged, block cheese vs sliced, and much more goodies.

    Money spent WITHOUT the trick: $33.78 per month

    Money spent WITH the trick: $18.58

    Money saved: $15.20

    4. Do some reconnaissance

    Make a list of items you always buy (e.g. milk, bread, chicken, soap etc) and devote your day to analyzing the prices at a selection of stores in your area (Walmart, Target, supermarket, dollar store) to run a smart price comparison. Put all the data in a spreadsheet like this to go through it later and find out the cheapest place to stock up on the basics. Also, I would add a separate graph listing types of loyalty cards each store offers and which rewards you can get if sticking to a certain chain.

    Money spent WITHOUT the trick: $25 per week on average.

    Money spent WITH the trick: $21.25

    Money saved: $3.75 per week and 15$ per month

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    5. Shop organic … at Walmart

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      Walmart decided to be in trend this year and introduced his own line of organic products – Wild Oats Marketplace. It includes a variety of foods from canned veggies to organic chicken broth, that are 18% to 40% cheaper than similar organic goods at specialized stores and some other big-box outlets. For example, Wild Oats organic pasta sauce costs 40% less than a similar sauce at Target.

      Money spent WITHOUT the trick: $50 per month on average

      Money spent WITH the trick: $32

      Money saved: $18

      6. Check out the discount rack

      Certain products are placed in supermarket clearance sections not because they are bad, but for a number of other reasons like damaged packaging now looking not so flashy and attractive; being slightly off season – Christmas cookies are still delicious in March; or merely just because the manufacturer decided to discount them for some particular reason. Buying discounted stuff will save you at least 50% of the original price if not more. You should still double-check the expiration date though.

      Money spent WITHOUT the trick: $38 for groceries and candies

      Money spent WITH the trick: $19

      Money saved: $19

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      7. Plan menus by the ads

      Now most people first plan their weekly menu and afterwards start searching for relevant discounts and coupons. However, by doing the opposite: finding the hottest deals first and planning your meals around them would save you up to 50% of your weekly bill. Get a few shopping apps installed like Retail Me Not and SnipSnap to take pictures of printed coupons and flash them at the store. Plus, subscribe to newsletters at various stores to be the first to know when certain items go on sale.

      Money spent WITHOUT the trick: $98 per week

      Money spent WITH the trick: $60.76

      Money saved: $37.24

      8. Sign up for subscriptions

      Now there’s a certain list of goods you inevitably stock up on each month – shampoo, bottled water, laundry detergent etc. Save time and a bunch of money by opting for monthly home-delivery subscription services. Amazon guarantees up to 15% discount on your entire order, plus free delivery at your doorstep at the day you’ve selected. Target recently launched a similar service offering free delivery and 5% extra discount added to your Target REDcard discount.

      Money spent WITHOUT the trick: $120 per month

      Money spent WITH the trick: $85.20

      Money saved: $34.80

      9. Buy for 10 weeks at a time

      Did you know that sales typically run through cycles on an eight to twelve week rotation? Take advantage of this fact and stock up with discounted goods in advance. Say, you usually eat one pack of cereals per week. Get ten when they go on sale and put an extra fiver straight to your piggy bank.

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      Money spent WITHOUT the trick: $32.80

      Money spent WITH the trick: $27.80

      Money saved: $5

      10. Learn the layout

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        According to a recent study by Marketing Science Institute the less aisles a shopper visits, the less impulsive purchases they make. While those who walk around the entire shop usually end up with 68% of unplanned purchases, more determined shoppers with a clear plan in mind, usually grab less than 50% of random things to their baskets. Besides, you should avoid pooling goods from middle shelves as loads of companies pay for being placed exactly at your (or your kid’s) eye level. Don’t be lazy to squat and check out the lowest shelves or stretch up to the top where you are likely to find way better deals at lower prices.

        Money spent WITHOUT the trick: $32.80

        Money spent WITH the trick: $27.80

        Money saved: $5

        Featured photo credit: Charlotte via flickr.com

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        Elena Prokopets

        Freelance Writer

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        Last Updated on August 20, 2019

        How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

        How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

        Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

        In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

        5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

        Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

        1. Be Clear About the Objectives

        Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

        It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

        Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

        2. Keep Them Realistic

        It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

        It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

        3. Account for Inflation

        Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

        Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

        For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

        4. Short Term vs Long Term

        Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

        As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

        More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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        5. To Each to His Own

        The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

        It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

        By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

        11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

        Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

        • Ensuring healthy savings
        • Making smart investments

        You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

        Ensuring Healthy Savings

        Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

        This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

        1. Track Expenses

        The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

        Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

        2. Pay Yourself First

        Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

        Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

        The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

        Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

        3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

        Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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        Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

        At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

        Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

        You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

        4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

        Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

        If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

        Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

        All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

        5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

        In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

        Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

        Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

        If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

        If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

        So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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        6. Talk About It

        Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

        Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

        7. Maintain a Journal

        For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

        So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

        Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

        When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

        At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

        Making Smart Investments

        Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

        8. Consult a Financial Advisor

        Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

        Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

        9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

        Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

        Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

        Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

        It is here where that classification will help.

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        So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

        10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

        Einstein once remarked about compounding,

        Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

        So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

        Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

        11. Measure, Measure, Measure

        All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

        If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

        If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

        Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

        The Bottom Line

        This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

        As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

        More About Personal Finance Management

        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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