Showing posts with label saving money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saving money. Show all posts

The easy way to buy cheap food to $ave money

Sunday, August 29, 2021
How to save money on the food bill

How to save money on your food bill

Saving money on the food bills a great way to help ensure you have enough cash for other things like bills, bills, bills.

Groceries can be dreadfully expensive at the best of times (even worse during a flu pandemic!), so putting a few items back on the self and choosing to purchase in bulk will help you save money.

You can also try to save money on shopping and yet still manage to eat quite happily and healthily.

One does not have to entertain a diet of 'bread and jam' all month (or noodles if you're a 'poor' student)  you can enjoy a wholesome variety of food on your set budget.

To make an immediate impact on shrinking at food bill, you can start by not spending your cash on the obvious and easy things such as fast food (Big Macs and supervising gotta go), potato chips and lollies.

It's probably too obvious a thing to say but cutting back on the booze consumption is an easy way to save money. We're not saying to become a teetotaller but maybe don't drink during Monday Night Football?

But you are an adult so live your life how you see best.

Planning ahead of time 

You've probably already planned ahead for the week's meals already - because that helps you allocate according to your food budget. When you did this, you may have already checked your pantry for what you already have - so you don't buy something twice and also because it may give you meal ideas to base around things you already have.

That's a fancy way of saying make a list and stick to it when you are inside the supermarket.

Easy tips to spend less cash on food:

  • Buy meat that is on special or sale. Consider eating more pork as it is usually the cheaper option over beef. 
  • Avoid splurging on pre-made food packages and meals. They are money makers with good margins for the supermarkets. If you can make your own meals at home as much as you can, this will serve your wallet well in the long term. 
  • Use the phone apps that big chains like Walmart offer - there's plenty of deals to be had. 
  • Do not shop on an empty stomach or you will buy that cooked chicken that smells so good (supermarkets like to have nice smells in their stores)
  • You could try to take a set amount of cash and spend that and no more.  
  • Don't throw away leftovers. Made too much pasta tonight? That's a tuna bake for tomorrow. Or so the classic and take your leftovers to work for lunch. 
  • Consider growing vegetables or herbs and spices - spring onion and chives are dead easy to grow! Our potato garden at home is doing quite well!
  • If you have time, go to two supermarkets and only buy the specials that you need. But don't spend an hour driving to the second supermarket as any savings gains could be erased when you factor in the price of petrol. 
  • Do you really need all that bottled water? Unless you reside in Flint, Michigan, your local tap water is probably fine. 
  • Try to shop without your beautiful children  - little ones can often make angry demands of you which you can often fall into the trap of giving into to avoid an 'in-store moment' ;) It's always nice to have some alone time if possible. 
  • Anything precut or prewashed is going to cost you more. Save money and buy the whole head of lettuce. Pre-cut grated cheese? Give me a break and as for pre-peeled oranges, wrapped in all that plastic, give me strength!
  • If you realize that something perishable won't be eaten before it goes off - freeze it. Maybe you were going to eat those meatballs before you went out - instead freeze your balls!
  • Purchase 'bagged potatoes' in bulk over loose potatoes as they are usually are much cheaper to buy. 
  • Get a Soda Stream and make tonic rather than drinking sugar fizz pop. 

Buy generic value brands

Most big supermarkets have a 'house brand' that offer genuine value.

I personally use house brand shaving cream because it saves me a small fortune as the big shaving brands are stupidly priced!

Items like household cleaners will usually contain the exact same active chemical as the fancy name brands - this means they absolutely work just as well but are often priced 25 per cent cheaper (washing laundry power is a great example (the cheap wash powder is great for homebrewing too!).

Many such value brand products are simply made by the producers of the name brand but are re-packaged and re-marketed. Value brand pantry staples such icing, flour and other such staples of the baking industry won't make your cake taste bad, and sugar is simply sugar, no matter how it's packaged or branded.


Most 'cheap' or 'mid-range' shampoos will clean your hair just fine - why buy shampoo from the salon then? Apart from natural vanity of course...

One product we totally think is always overpriced is plastic rubbish bags. While the world seems to hate plastic bags and straws these days, we still need strong trash / bin liner bags.

Swapping to generic bags will usually do the same job as name brands.

Swap to cheaper pet food

Many animal lovers will hate to do this, but your pet dog or cat can live on generic or low budget branded pet food quite easily and at least for the short term.

If you think you can't starve poor Felix of their precious snippets and bites sourced from the local vet clinic or butcher, then perhaps mix it up a bit and every second round, add some house brand pet food into the mix.

Whether dearest Felix chooses to eat it is another story... the reality is that your family household needs should come before your pet's. Many pet owners will disagree of course but they have to ask themselves why that's the case for themselves.

buying in bulk to save cash
Ross Geller always knew that bulk buying washing powder was a great way to save cash - Uberweiss!

Sometimes buying in bulk is actually a scam!

Bulk-buying can save money, no question BUT you must keep a sharp eye out for the shameful tricks supermarkets will pull on a buyer who is looking to buy in bulk.

The classic trick is to charge a price for an 'in bulk' item which is actually more expensive per unit or gram than the individual unit. What they are doing here is preying on the mindset of shoppers that 'buying in bulk' is always cheaper across the board.

It's not.

Supermarkets are relying on the belief that their customers will continue to buy the bulk item reasoning it's mere existence will mean they save money. Supermarkets take want to take advantage of that psychology and pricing decisions accordingly.

If you have to do some maths comparing bulk-sized when buying in bulk, it's worth your time. I trust the supermarkets that actually disclose price per gram or unit labelling.

You may wish to buy only what you actually may need. There's no point stockpiling 30 pounds of flour is there?

Depends on what you do during your weekends, I guess.

That said, stocking up is not a bad thing per se. If you have a spare freezer to put some of that mincemeat you got on special, then why not.

 A well-stocked freezer is always a source for homemade meals - especially if by knowing you can make pasta and meatballs, you won't go to the supermarket just to source that one meal, because what happens when you are there?

You buy many extra things you didn't intend to!

So, check the freezer before you go shopping. You might not need to leave the house!

how to save money your food bill

Shop around for vegetables at local markets

Some supermarkets charge killer prices for vegetables, especially when food stock is out-of-season.

The solution?

Visit a good old fashioned gardener's market. Odds are on that you can save around 20 per cent on quality fruit and vegetables.

Many markets spring up in urban areas on weekends. Check some Facebook groups in your local areas for details.

If you have little time, this one will be hard. But, this is one of those times when you should take the kids out - veggie markets can be fun - ours is near the harbour and the kids love buying fish from the boat - well the love the fisherman throwing fish cuts into the water and watching the Eagle Rays come in for a bite or two.

Check the Facebook groups too, many niche providers are bypassing supermarkets and selling directly to consumers via Facebook pages, their own sites and subscription services too. 

Loyalty cards help save you cash 

If you are not too fearful of Big Brother, consider joining up for the loyalty card.

Sure, a loyalty card means the supermarket can analyze your spending habits and market to you accordingly but who cares if your goal is to save money.

Loyalty cards will often give discounts to only customers using those cards and they will often have a rebate or voucher system that basically gives you some of your own money back to spend in-store when you have spent a certain amount.

If you save them, up, this can be pretty handy at Christmas time!

In the same vein, using coupons is still a really big thing in several countries, particularly in America. The wise use of coupons, particularly on products you already intended to buy, will totally lead to savings on your food bill.

Let's talk about meat 

We are not saying you need to go vegetarian but cutting meat from a meal or two each week will save you plenty of cash as it's often the most expensive component of the grocery bill.

Many families and roommates often choose to do 'Meat Free Mondays' or similar and make a simple dish such as mac n' cheese, tacos, lentils, bean burgers with avocado or fried vegetable noodles.

My personal favorite at the moment is a dish where the remain ingredients are onions, garlic, peppers and oil mixed with whatever other veggies are in the fridge...

If you make the meals flavoursome with additional herbs, chives, and other goodies like spring onion, you're onto a winning meal and no one will complain about there not being any meat!

Now you've got your saving on groceries sorted, perhaps it's time to think about how to save money on the power bill!

How supermarkets use psychology to trick you into spending more money

Monday, September 21, 2020

How supermarkets manipulate you into buying more food in store

How supermarkets manipulate you into buying more food 

While an old school economist from Chicago may tell you that's upermarket customers are 'rational actors' who make decisions based on price efficiency, supermarkets - with their behavioral analysis knowledge - have their customers so well figured out, they know what they will do before they even enter the store. 

And while you may think you are shopping on price alone, it is not that simple when you are walking into a real time shop experiment and you are the little mouse looking for some cheap cheese. 

The psychological tricks that supermarkets employ on customers are quite simple but they come with a science pedigree - just like Walmart knows your sixteen-year-old daughter is likley to be pregnant, they know what day you like to shop and what specials you like to buy.

The classic trap is to advertise cheese so cheap that you come into the store because you cannot resist the price in the hope you''ll buy some extra items and then check out with your...

Ever heard of a loyalty card?

The data collected about your shopping behaviours can now dissect your buying habits into ones and zeros. 

Is that loyalty card connected to other businesses? The supermarket now knows that you like to fill up the car with petrol on the way home for example. So, hence they sell you receipts that come with fuel discounts.

Once they have you in-store, that's when the sneaky supermarkets launch their playbook of tricks and psychological ploys to get you to spend longer in store to spend more cash.

Which can be really tough when you are trying to save money on the food bill!

Supermarkets are living laboratories that study human buying behavior.

Have you ever noticed all those cameras in the modern shopping complex and asked yourself, why so many security cameras?

They are not just for catching cheeky shoplifters (a money-saving measure we do not recommend you try!) - the majority of them placed down the aisle are there to monitor and observe consumer traffic patterns. No doubt they will also be monitoring your physical appearance too. 

What body shapes are customers?

What sex? 

Do different sexes and body shapes behave differently?

When and why? 

Where do they look first?

You can bet they are using this data to figure out how to sell more to you.

This is because supermarkets that understand how their customers think and make purchasing decisions are able to plan the shopfloor layout more efficiently.

The classic example of this is supermarkets know that people will often tend to enter the store with a set mental list of what they want and it's usually the basics like bread and milk.

And that's exactly why eggs, dairy & milk, and bread are often positioned farthest from the store's entrance as possible so you walk all the way past other attractive food items. 

Indeed, eggs are often situated in random or seemingly 'unnatural' places to encourage first-timers to the store to walk around looking for them!

Lean mean green vegetables

why fruit is at the front of supermarket entrances

Vegetables and fruit are placed at the entrance deliberately  - this because it's well proven that consumers are vastly more inclined to pick more items at the start of their shopping experience. 

Your brain's wiring also comes into play here. You are buying 'healthy food' so you feel good about yourself. Maybe you will add an extra 5 carrots to your bag, 

At the same time, your brain is being brutally bombarded with a range of vibrant colors and wonderful smells.

The bakery is usually right next to the vegetable section because the bread smells nice. 

Fruit displays are often backed against well-cleaned mirrors to add volume and light vibrancy to the fruit. 

The supermarket is appealing to your brain with these signals saying, yo dude, this is a great place to shop!

Note when we say bakery, this does not include standard loaves of bread for making sandwiches with, other than speciality items. 

No, your standard sliced loaf of bread will be far away from the vegetables. You want toast bread? Sure but you gotta walk to the other side of the store. 

Maybe along the way, you'll discover and pick up a few well-placed items at the end of the aisle... Maybe a copy of Dune?

The supermarkets are hoping that you will feel a little bit smug about all the healthy food that you put in your shopping trolley that'll you'll consider that enough of a reason to buy some biscuits or other junk type food.

So how does this affect you, the keen dollar saver? 

The eyes have it

Forget the shop layout, you're already a modest mouse caught in that well-planned wheel, look at the shelf layout (whilst staying true to your shopping list of course).

Your eyes will naturally gravitate to the product that's been placed in your eye line / at face level.

This is where the most expensive goods and groceries are positioned. Because your eagle eyes will often become psychologically attached to the first item that you find when you are looking for a particular item.

Would it also surprise you to discover that many brands hand over cash to the supermarket for the right to having their goods placed directly in the customer's line of vision.

This practice is known in the business as paying a 'slotting fee'.

Supermarkets will also put kid-friendly things at the kid's eye level.

That's some real street-level cunning right there.

The implication of this of course if you are looking for cheaper items, look on on the bottom shelf for them. 

Impulse power, Mr Sulu

Another classic trick played on shoppers is to put goods that could be bought as 'impulse purchases' by the checkout lanes.

Lollies, magazines, those small hand-sized deodorant sprays, magazines, chocolate, and the classic packet of 'chewing gum' - these impulse items are placed there so you will add a couple of extra dollars to your shopping total. 

Now if even one in ten or twenty customers does this, those sales will add up for the Supermarket Owners over time.

To be fair some product placements will benefit the customer, such as peanut butter next to the jelly. and beer next to crisps and chips, baking yeast next to flour ...

Keep a beady eye out for 'pricing specials' scams

Ever seen a supermarket market pricing sticker with the words 'best buy' or 'great deal'? 

Is it really a good deal?

How do you know it's a great deal? 

Is there actually a price saving on offer or has the item simply had some puffery on the sticker placed next to it?

Perhaps a sign that simply says 'Three for a dollar' when the single item is also a dollar?

You would of course never fall for such a simple pricing scam, would you?

Of course not.

Well, people do and that's why supermarkets will keep advertising this way in-store.

Other tricks supermarkets do:
  • A few select products are sold at a loss to the store. This is so you recognize the price as being really good and it gets you into the store. Meat is a classic 'loss leader' as is orange juice.
  • Larger shopping trolleys will tend to be filled up more by the user
  • Supermarkets and strip malls will play music with a slow tempo so your walking around speed matches the music and you spend more time in the building which increases the odds of you adding that one extra thing to your basket.
  • The most profitable products are often placed at the end of the aisle. People often notice them....
Now you've learned about this, you know it's a shopping trap. The best advice is always to stick to buying what you need and not what you want!
One final, teach you to suck eggs thing   - write a shopping list out on your cell phone!

How to teach & help your kids save money

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Teaching children about saving money

When I was a kid my Dad would put all his spare coins into a giant tin money box.

To us as kids it, it seemed massive - it was probably about 4 litres in size. He'd fill that tin with all his silver. It took him at least I year I imagine.

When it was full, he'd open it up with a tin opener and us kids would get to count it up.

If we were lucky, we'd get to put a few coins in our own money boxes too - the banks used to hand them out like candy - we definitely had the classic piggy bank but I also remember a rugby ball shaped one and a house.

Anyways, that's probably how I learned about saving as a kid.

Times have changed in many ways we are a cashless society. I can pay for my groceries with my cell phone now!

So, responsible parents, you're here to learn of the ways you can help teach your kids how to save money.

If your child understands money, chances are they know about saving. But do they know why?

The first step is to teach your child why they should save money.  The age group we are covering here is around the 4 - 6 year old mark.

Do they have a specific goal in mind?

Do they want a new skateboard, or Frozen doll?

Or do they need to learn about rainy days?

So, step one. Just like my dad did in my family - start with a piggy bank.

It's easy to save money and they will be able to visibly see how that money grows over time.

You can take this opportunity to create a timeline that your child can follow. If they are saving their 5 dollars a week pocket money to buy a $50 item, you can plot out 10 weeks of savings - teaching them how savings add up by crossing off goals (such as quarter, half and three-quarters of the way there) will help them learn that savings is a time progression.

The next step works if the above has been a success.

The next step you can do is to open a bank account WITH your child. Don't just open one for them. Make the opening of the account part of the experience?

Have your child count the money and be the one to hand it over to the bank teller.

Most modern banks have accounts tailored for child use, such as accounts that do not have a debit card.

You can also connect them to your online banking so you can help keep tabs and transfer money over and the like.

For this way to save money to work, your child now needs to be invested in the concept. They have to want to physically hand over the money. So, it's up to you as a parent to teach them how banks work. Explain to them it will always be their money and the bank is simply looking after it.

Explain to them they will always be able to get the money out. And no, the bank cannot give it way.

This is perhaps even a chance to explain how interest works...

It's not just about helping kids learn to save by getting them in the habit. It's also about helping them realize opportunities to earn money.

For example, on what basis do they get pocket money? Do they have to do chores and jobs around the house?

Have a discussion with your child about how other people earn and use money.

  • What's the difference between a wage and a salary?  
  • How do retired people get money? 
  • Why do banks lend money?

It's really important that if you have money stresses in your life, that you do not transpose these to your child. Don't make them feel that they have any ownership of a lack of money in the family home. It's an unfair burden on a young child. While you are possibly doing this unconsciously, being mindful of such matters will make for a healthier money mindset.

A classic example I once heard was the story of a young girl who broke her glasses and was terrified to tell her dad because she knew how much they cost and was worried more about her Dad's reaction than getting new glasses. 

Kids will learn this stuff over time, no need to put pressure on them. 
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