Lessons from the Grocery Store


Saving money on food shopping

So, I have never been good with couponing and planning in advance to save money on food shopping, and quite frankly, the last few years, FB Hubby has been doing the majority of the food shopping. But food is a large expense in our home like many others and I have recently taken on the task of food shopping. My usual shopping location near me is Stop and Shop. It’s not always my favorite grocery store, but it is convenient and they have what I think is one of the greatest inventions ever, the self-scanner. The scanner allows you to shop for your food while you go (similar to a wedding registry scanner) and pay in the self-check out lane when you are done. This shopping experience requires more time; however, it also saves a lot of money. And as I mentioned in a previous post, we work hard for our money so we should make it difficult to spend it.

Last week, I was on a mission to buy a number of items, and I was shocked by the results of my trip. One of the first things I had to buy was plum tomatoes. Of course the store was out, so I just grabbed some other tomatoes. I weighed them and noticed they cost $5. I am not a shopping pro, but I thought this seemed rather high for tomatoes, so I tried another brand of tomato, and this took my cost down to $2. I experienced something similar when looking at apples. It was amazing the total cost difference between two types and no one in my house is that picky, so I went with the cheaper apple and saved another $3. I then moved on to the meats. I needed to buy ground beef for taco night and FB Hubby told me to get 85/15. As a food shopping novice, I didn’t know what this meant, but I knew what to look for. I went to scan the 85/15, but accidentally picked up an 80/20 and noticed that it was half the cost of the 85/15. For 5% more fat that I am going to drain anyway, I decided to save the money and buy the 80/20, which led to another $4 saved.

Self-Scanners are awesome for saving money

A great feature of the self-scanner is the running tally it shows you while you are food shopping. On this particular trip, I had a number of “needs” and then a number of “wants” that I could have purchased. However, as I was nearing the end of my trip, I noticed that my shopping total was approaching my weekly budget for groceries, and I decided to hold off on some of those “wants” that I had not added to the cart. I proceeded directly to the check out and realized between the meats, produce and a few dry goods along the way, I had saved $15 while shopping!!! How exciting is that?!

If your store has self-scanners, I highly recommend using them. Not only does it make you more mindful of your charges along the way, but also it makes it harder for you to spend your money while food shopping and groceries are one of the largest expenses in a household. It takes more time and focus to use the self-scanner, but it is time well spent when it means more money in your pocket!  If your store does not have the self-scanner, then I challenge you to be more “mindful” of your shopping. Try to refrain from haphazardly putting things in your cart without weighing the true value or comparing with alternative options. Taking the time to be mindful while food shopping is an easy way to save money and prevent wasteful spending.


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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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