How To Save Money, Part 1: Food

How To Save Money, Part 1: Food


This is the first installment in a three-part series focusing on
important ways you can save money on food, fuel, and fun.

save moneyIt doesn’t take a genius to realize that the price of most consumer goods are rising and at a pace much higher than the rate of inflation. Thanks to oil prices which are now approaching $150 a barrel, consumers’ wallets are being picked at a rate not seen since the 1970s.

Fortunately, things in 2008 are much different than they were during the 1970s when then president Richard M. Nixon instituted price controls and came up with a silly marketing slogan — Whip Inflation Now (WIN) — to galvanize consumers to battle high costs. Presidents Ford and Carter did little to help either and by the time that Ronald Reagan became president, double digit inflation was becoming a nasty habit.

One area of big concern to people is food, not that we are at risk of starving, but finding good food at reasonable prices. Importing food from abroad has sent prices skyward while various scares relating to salmonella outbreak have put the consumption of tomatoes and spinach in the risky category.

You don’t have to be run over by high food prices, in fact there are ways you can trim costs enough to erase all of the price gains of the past year and then some. Let’s take a look at some smart ways to save:

Coupons — Yes, coupons. Only today you don’t always have to clip them. Thankfully, supermarkets have realized the futility of trying to draw customers in with clippable schemes and have wholly switched to you using a store card. This card, when swiped before your order is tallied, records all store coupons being offered for that week. If you check the store’s circular, you’ll find many of your favorite items being sold at extra low prices.

Discount Stores — Discount food stores are on the rise, thanks to high prices at many local grocers. Shoppers who don’t need a certain ambiance while shopping are visiting Aldi, Food Basics, No Frills, and similar stores. Your selection of name brand items will be less than at conventional stores, but you’ll find enough variety to keep your family happy, while bringing forth savings of 10-50% on your shopping order.

Superstores, Warehouse Clubs — Those big WalMart stores with food sections and stores like them often carry food items for less than what your Kroger, Safeway, A&P, or Pathmark store will charge you. Also, Costco, BJs, and Sam’s Club offer select items in larger quantities but at lower per ounce prices. Naturally, if you are a small family, that 3 lb. jar of pickles could be wasted if not used quickly.

Farmers’ Markets — Fresh produce is getting expensive especially when it must be trucked many miles to your home. Local farmers, on the other hand, prefer to sell direct to consumers where they can get a fair price on their fruits, grains, and vegetables. Many will be glad to pass at least a portion of the savings back to you. There isn’t anything that tastes better than locally grown produce!

Other ways to save include visiting your day old bread store, picking out the occasional dented can being sold at a discount, and switching to store brands or lower cost brands wherever feasible. Just remember that if you have to drive everywhere to find savings, you’ll spend away what you saved at the cash register in gas. Maybe then you’ll give thought to doing something that many Americans don’t do much of these days: grow what you need in your backyard.

Next: Save Money on Fuel


Lower Housing Costs

Lower Family Care Costs

Lower Recreation Costs

Manage Your Income


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Categories: Home Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".