Your Receipt LIES To You

A Safeway before opening time. (This is NOT a ...

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Every time I go to the grocery store and when they hand me my receipt they say, “Thank you Mrs. B. Congratulations, you saved yada, yada percent today.” I smile, nod, walk out the door and whisper to myself, “Lies, I saved more than that!”  But sure enough when I look at the receipt, there’s only yada yada percent listed. Now according to my local Safeway, I usually save around 30%, but I put time and effort into making sure we save as much as possible, without ending up on a TLC reality series. After thinking about my shopping habits, I came to a comforting realization. The receipt lies!

Your grocery receipt only tells you how much you saved by taking advantage of store rewards deals and coupons. That is NOT how much you save on your groceries. The real amount can be much higher. How can you save money on groceries?

  1. Buy Private Label. I save approximately 30% by not purchasing brand name goods. In most cases, the private label is identical to, and even made by the brand name company. It just resides in different packaging.
  2. Purchase based on the per weight price. I once saw two sizes of barbecue sauce. The 8 oz. sauce cost $1.50. The 16 oz. sauce cost $3.25…for the exact same sauce. It was cheaper to buy two of the smaller bottles because the cost per ounce was less.
  3. Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. Buying something because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you’ll use it, and spending extra money on something you’re going to throw out or forget about isn’t saving any money. Have you seen the pantries of the Extreme Couponers? Half of the stuff I can’t eat, and I don’t believe the average family could eat all of that before it expired.
  4. Eat seasonally. As we discussed earlier, eating seasonally can save you 66% on your produce alone. Out of season produce isn’t readily available and is sold at a premium.
  5. Use a meal plan. Going to the grocery store with no idea is a recipe for a full refrigerator that still manages to provide “nothing to eat.” You can make a plan yourself by picking out a few recipes, converting those into a grocery list, checking it against your pantry, and going shopping. You could, of course, have us plan your meals for you.

If I didn’t use these methods and buy the way that I do, I’d easily double my grocery bill. Do you have any other ways you think your receipt lies to you?

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8 Responses to “Your Receipt LIES To You”

  1. Matt says:

    I didn’t realize you had a subscription based portion of your site! That is way cool.

    I am fortunate that I have a wonderful wife who takes care of all the meals and most of the shopping in my household. She has her own system of pretty much doing everything you’ve suggested here. We do use coupons, but not to the extreme! We buy in bulk when things go on sale, and rarely is anything ever wasted. Great tips here.

    By the way… as a trucker I’ve seen and heard about, first hand, off-brand items being produced and packaged at the exact same plant as the name-brand stuff.

    • Andi B. says:

      Thank you, we put together meal plans based on what’s in season, without processed foods. I know what I’m doing helps people eat better and save money, so that makes it more fun to do. And it sounds like your wife is fortunate to have an appreciative husband as well.

      We saw a lot of private labeling, even in the spa industry. It amazes me how easily people confuse diversity of product with diversity of label.

  2. 101 Centavos says:

    Spot on with the dollar-per-ounce label. Larger “family” sizes are not necessarily cheaper.

  3. [...] Plan Rescue: Your Receipt LIES to You – Every time I go to the grocery store they try to convince me I’ve saved less than I [...]

  4. So many people think it’s better to buy in bulk. That just isn’t the case every time. I always check unit price when I’m buying something.

    • Andi B. says:

      I just relived that again yesterday. The bulk “sale” package of meat was 30% more expensive than buying a single steak. Ludicrous!

  5. Savvy Scot says:

    Good Post – I think you highlight some fantastic additional ways to save money other than beating the other supermarkets!

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