Grocery Shopping Cost Of Living Shopping Prices, by Robert Walsh
The cost of living has become painful. One trip to the gas station and grocery store will clearly put you in touch with this pain. As painful as the $4.00 per gallon for gas is, it represents less than 3.5 percent of the family budget. Their food purchase is almost 4 times as much in the family expenses coming in just under 13%.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Consumer Price Index for the past year indicates the five grocery items that rank at the top of the inflated price list that you are now paying at your supermarkets. Number One on the list is FLOUR, increased by 37%. Not only does this increase affect the bag of flour you purchase, but every item that is made using flour….breads, bakery goods, etc.
Number Two on the list is EGGS, increased by 34.8%. Again, this goes beyond just the dozen or two of eggs that you buy for your family. The bakery goods and breads are also affected. The third most inflated priced item at an increased rate of 29.2% is SWEET PEPPERS (green, red, yellow). The GOOD NEWS here is that peppers are one of the easiest plants to grow with very little work. I will address home gardening in the next newsletter for all your summer salad needs.
The fourth most increased inflated price goes to MILK. MILK is up by 23.1%. This is one the most essential purchases on the grocery list for a family of any size with growing children. Number 5 on the list, up by 21.6%, is DRIED BEANS. This may be the most insulting of all, because it represents the most basic and last resort for the poor to put something on the table for the family to eat. One of the other world’s basic food staples, RICE, has gone up by 10% in the last month alone. Costco and Wal-mart have recently limited the quantity of RICE that you can buy. Families will need a cost of living calculator to keep up with these flour prices, egg prices, and milk prices to figure out all the changing weekly grocery prices.
If you have visited our website and read the “BeSmart….ShopSmart….Shopping Tips”, you know that we want you to save 40% to 50% off your weekly grocery shopping trips, including meat and high priced items such as coffee or laundry detergent. Of course, this is possible when you use your store loyalty card, store and manufacturer coupons, and take advantage of the BUY 1 GET 1 FREE OFFERS. We are very concerned about your bottom line savings on your groceries with these inflationary increases on some of the most basic food staples.
Being a good “Scout” you need to “Be prepared”. First, study your local grocery circulars. Become price conscious as to what the marketplace is asking for these particular items as well as what your cupboard and refrigerator is lacking. Secondly, read the ad papers thoroughly to OPTIMIZE YOUR SAVINGS. For example, at a chain drug store, reading through their weekly circular….in smaller print that the rest….I discovered that if I bought the brand name skin lotion at the regular price, I would receive the same brand name liquid soap for FREE — $3.99 value.
Another discovered sale at Safeway/Dominic’s was getting FREE Safeway brand pasta (sale priced at a $1.00 per/box) when you purchased a 26 oz. jar of a brand named Spaghetti Sauce. The spaghetti sauce was reduced to a sale price of 3/$6.00….that’s just $2.00 a jar, and less the free pasta….becomes a $1.00 item. This becomes a $1.00 MEAL, and represents an overall savings of $3.25 per each box of pasta and jar of sauce. NOTE: PASTA is one of the most flexible items you can have in your pantry for making simple dishes quickly, or creating a great meal of leftovers. Whole grain pasta is recommended for people with diabetes.
Use the ad circulars to plan your meals when you shop. I have advocated planning your menu around the SALE ITEMS in their circulars. Make sure you mark out what day of the week their shopping advertisement begins and ends. Some start on Wednesday and end on the following Tuesday. Others begin on Thursday and end on the following Wednesday. You could miss out on a sale item of importance by not knowing this.
For example, in their sale circular a brand name roasting chicken was on sale for 69 cents/per lb. at the local grocery store. Unlike the major store chains, this local grocery store week begins on Wednesday, not Thursday. So, if you didn’t pay attention to this fact, and wanted to purchase the roasting chicken on Wednesday before the sale ended, it would have been TOO LATE. The new week began, the sale was over, and the price increased by 80 cents to $1.49 per/lb. The same 5-lb. Roasting Chicken went from $3.45 to $7.45 — a lost savings of $4.00 per a 5lb. Chicken. That’s ONE GALLON of GAS. PAY ATTENTION and SAVE!
Don’t let image fool you that you are going to get the BEST PRICE because a store is known for its LOW PRICES. A recent story of comparative shopping prices revealed the following prices for a gallon of Skim Milk
- $2.69 at Aldi (discount store)
- $2.99 at Costco (saving club/membership needed)
- $3.99 at a local supermarket
- $4.49 at Wal-Mart
Who would have thought that? That’s an image buster for Wal-Mart always low prices advertisements! And don’t forget about looking at your local drug store such as CVS or Walgreens for some of these grocery items. Recently I was able to purchase 2- 64oz. Walgreens Brand Orange Juice for $3.69 compared to other grocery store offers of 2/$5.00, and 2 dozen eggs for $3.00 ($1.50 per dozen) compared to $2.89 per dozen elsewhere.
When your comparative shopping list results in SAVINGS at different stores, the discussion of the cost of gas comes into play. Is it worth it??? I usually suggest you map out a circular trip to include as many of the stores as possible on your list. This way you can max out your SAVINGS by getting as many of the sales items as possible with one shopping trip. With a single stop to save $5.00 on a can of coffee, meat, laundry detergent, or ice cream you will have covered the cost of a gallon of gas for your vehicle.
I believe in buying in BULK when often used family products are on sale. If you have the capabilities, utilize your freezer. When shopping for Milk on Sale, search the back of the shelf for the latest possible expiration date. If you choose to freeze milk, remove 8-to-12 ounces to allow for expansion during the freezing process. You can also freeze eggs in freezer bags; just crack them open into the bag for later use in baking or for scramble eggs. AVOID waisting Money and Food…Rather than throw out eggs or milk that are about to expire make a cake or pudding.
For additional savings, investing in a bread machine would help cut the cost of bread and provide you with Fresh Homemade Healthy Bread daily per your creative ingredients. Put the ingredients in the bread machine and in a period of three-to-three and a half hours, FRESH BREAD for less than a $1.00 a loaf. The bread machine will pay for itself in a short time with current store bought bread prices.
One U.S. Agricultural Department study estimated that 25% of the food bought by consumers and restaurants is wasted or spoiled before it can be served. TV commercials advertise storage bags that will preserve the life of fruits and vegetables. If you are going to spend the high prices for your fruits and vegetables, then it might be wise to spend $10.00 for these reusable bags. They will pay for themselves over a short period of time compared to the price of lost/spoiled produce.
For your meat purchases, avoid paying for bones. At $10.00/lb. every pound of bones will cost you ten dollars for the throw away. Or, you might choose to wait until its on sale. Many dollars are saved by using your store loyalty card when it comes to your meat purchases. Buy Sale Price Meat in larger quantities, cut in portions, and FREEZE. Meat provides flexibility in one’s menu planning. First meal is hot, freshly cooked. Leftover portions can be served as cold as sandwiches, or cubed and added to a fresh salad. Any other cubed leftover meat can be added to soup. THAT’S FOUR MEALS from one piece of meat.
Speaking of soup, homemade or store bought, you don’t have to waste the crumbs from the bottom of the bag of chips, or Doritos (“breakage” in food industry language). Smash the remaining crumbs in the bag, and empty the crumbs on top of the soup when ready to serve for added flavor and fiber…no waste.
To eat healthier and save your time cooking, I recommend purchasing a Ronco “Showtime” Rotisserie. Put the meat on the spit or in the basket, set the timer, and let it cook away, allowing the fat to drip away. Place vegetables in steamer tray on top of the unit. When the timer goes off, take the meat out, and serve. This is a Very Nice MOTHER’S DAY GIFT that will KEEP ON GIVING. But remember: you’ll have to figure out what you want to do with your free time while everything is cooking. It can cook up to a 15 lb. turkey. I have had mine for over six years.
Again, read your grocery ad circular carefully. Try to take advantage of the first opening days’ “Sale Specials”. Some stores run specials within the store that will provide FREEBIES or MONEY BACK for your NEXT SHOPPING VISIT. Last month Safeway/Dominick’s had a $10.00 kick back for your next visit on a purchase of $30.00 or more of certain listed brand name products …that’s a 33% savings right there. Many of these items weren’t ON SALE. This week they have two $5.00 kick back offers, the first is instant at the check out counter, the second is for your next visit.
Lastly, keep your eyes open for offers to add to your Government Stimulus Checks or Tax Refund Checks by Grocery Stores or Department Stores. Jewel (owned by Albertson) is offering a 10% Bonus if you use one of these CHECKS to purchase a Jewel-Osco Gift Card in increments of $300 up to $1200. Limit one offer per household. That’s a FREE $30 to $120 depending on the size of your check. Details are available in the store. Using these Be Smart…Shop Smart…Shopping Tips can add another 40-to-50% to this free money opportunity. Make Your Money Work for YOU!
So BeSmart…..ShopSmart…..Save Money…..Be Happy!
By Robert Walsh
About the Author: Robert A. Walsh is the owner/webmaster of http://www.robertwalshkidsclothing.com and and an Ezine Articles expert author. He writes articles on families & many issues related to his websites. For FREE “Bargain Kidswear Newsletter” visit website, and learn to save up to half off.