How to Correctly Compare Grocery Prices

How to Correctly Compare Grocery Prices

The produce section of the store is the first place I look for frugal alternatives. Make sure to check local shops with direct from the farmer, seasonal items for great taste, budget friendly prices and the best quality.
Budget friendly, frugal produce shopping will save you money.

Grocery Price Comparison To Live Frugally

Over the past decades, we have all witnessed a shift slowly gaining momentum in the Western world, where people increasingly have the need or the wish to significantly change their spending habits. Among those people are students who want to minimize their debt, parents who are struggling with unemployment or cut backs, and others who just want to get out of the consumerist race and rethink their spending. If you find yourself in one of those groups, or in a similar situation, then this article is just for you because it will focus on cutting down your food budget with better planning and teach you how to compare grocery prices.

Food is one of the most important categories when it comes to a household’s monthly expenses. It isn’t necessarily that the food item is the largest one in the budget, that is probably rent/mortgage, but food expenditure is actually one of the easiest things to reduce without giving up a lot i.e. it is a relatively painless budget cut. This is because a lot of households waste a lot of the food the buy and by eliminating this waste they can save up to one quarter or more of their regular food expenses. For example, one survey showed that households waste over 7 million tons of food a year. Per household, this is the equivalent of $175.00 worth of food a month! With the average household spending about $200.00 a week on food, this already constitutes a 25% decrease in food expenses per month, even before taking in consideration the benefits from comparing grocery prices when shopping.

Analyze All Grocery Stores When Price Shopping

Some people think that doing an extensive grocery price comparison is not worth the effort. Who would even go that far to do their shopping? Well, a lot of people would actually find the time well worth it, especially those who are working with a limited food budget. There are two main reasons why. First of all, once the initial analysis is done, the inconvenience of shopping in different or far-off stores can be significantly reduced by proper planning. In other words, it’s not like you are going to be visiting many of the stores each week – rather, you will probably end up visiting the far-off stores once to twice a month at the most. Good planning ahead will help you make sure that your visits coincide with the deals you’re after and you will be able to maximize the usefulness of each trip.

The initial analysis of various grocery stores will show you where the ingredients you use the most are the cheapest and also each store’s notable deals on certain items. Depending on where you live, you might have to do this analysis by yourself or you could use a grocery price comparison website or app. If you have to do it by yourself, then it helps to know that most big supermarkets have their online websites where they regularly post all the discount deals and you can often subscribe to a newsletter too, so it is easy enough to stay updated on those. Smaller local stores probably won’t have a website, but these are still worth including in your grocery price comparison because they often have (cheap) products which are not offered at other supermarkets.  In my area there are several local shops, each dedicated to very specific items such as meats and cheeses, breads and pastries and one that sells pasta by the gram. The meat shop has the very best prociutto and the price is better than what I can find at any meat counter in any other store but, it is also something that has to be used very quickly or it will go bad. The breads and I can buy daily in the morning when it is still hot and it is priced by weight which keeps the cost down. The bread also has to be eaten right away as there are no additives to keep the bread fresh for a long time like in most supermarket breads. Any bread that is left over can be dried and grated into tiny pieces to either use as a breading agent for fried foods or can be mixed into meatloaf, meatballs, stuffed peppers, bread pudding or however else you can think to use it. This makes buying fresh bread an extremely budget friendly shopping idea as well as a frugal alternative to buying in a big store.

The quality of items in the local shops in my town are really fantastic. I know if I buy cheap produce in the bigger supermarkets, whatever I purchase will probably go south before I can use it all. Local products are fresher as they are purchased straight from farmers who have the best and freshest sources of food. I have a pretty good idea how much of everything I will need on a weekly basis and keep it to just that minimum. This keeps our food waste to a minimum, gives us the highest quality food with the best taste while, allowing us to have a budget friendly grocery shopping experience.
Local grocery shops are a treasure trove of quality foods with budget friendly grocery shopping prices.

These products can add much needed variety to your meals on a budget, while still keeping costs low. Once you’ve done the grocery price comparison, it helps to make a general plan of where and when you get most of your staple foods like rice, beans, meat, and vegetables, and then make annotations for certain cheap buys that add variety or nutrition to your menu.

The second reason why grocery price comparison is worth doing is, of course, the considerable savings! Many supermarkets regularly offer all kinds of budget friendly shopping on foods at 35% or 50% off. It is absolutely possible to purchase over 90% of the food you eat on a discount. It might not give you a lot of freedom to have a different menu every day, but there are certainly a lot of different things you can do. The Internet is a great place to get some inspiration and connect with people who are or were living on a similar food budget as you are. Always do your research, know what stores are worth a visit comparing grocery prices for your budget friendly shopping trips. Keep in mind local shops for frugal alternatives on fresh items where the quality is, more often than not, better.

The ultimate guide on comparing groceries right here

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