I wrote this post how to save money on grocery shopping-5 tips to chew on for a very good reason. The price of groceries just keeps going up and for many people, especially seniors, it’s creating a financial crunch. Of course, food is something we all have to have and like to enjoy, but there must be a way to come to grips with rising prices.
The rising cost in fuel, demand outstripping supply, and the screwy weather playing Hell with crops are just some reasons why food prices continue to rise.
You need big semi-trucks and freight trains to haul produce all over North America, and they require fuel to keep on moving. The rising cost of fuel that goes into these transportation modes is passed on to the consumer. So what’s new?
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The world is seeing floods, fires, hurricanes, and unending rain in amounts that never existed twenty-five years ago. When bad weather wipes outcrops, the demand outstrips the supply and guess what?
Increased costs are passed on to the consumer.
INCREASED PRODUCTION COST IS PASSED ON TO THE CONSUMER
There is one immutable truth that pertains to the retail price of any product in the world, whether it’s food, clothes, electronics, or cars. If there is any problem in the creation of the product that ends up costing the manufacturer more, you and I, the buying public, will inherit those costs by way of higher retail prices.
It’s always passed on to the consumer.
That should be written in stone because it has been the way of the world for generations. The wholesaler has a predetermined percentage he has to earn in order to pay for all their overhead, and still earn a profit. Say for example a farmer has an apple orchard. He has to earn enough to pay the cost of everything involved with the planting and harvesting plus a profit.
Then the apples go to a packer. That’s where they are packed into boxes or bags. The packer has to make his profit as well. From there the apples are purchased by supermarket buyers and shipped by rail, truck, or plane if they are going overseas. So the shipping has to be paid for.
So you can see how the cost of those apples the farmer grew is steadily getting more and more expensive.
The supermarkets, in turn, have to sell them for a high enough price to cover their overhead and still make a profit. The average mark-up is around 12%-13%, but it’s not unusual at all to have average profit margins between 1%-3% on many items they sell. Grocery stores count on volume selling to make a profit.
That’s why chains like Walmart can have such low prices all the time. They deal in a volume that many chains just can’t compete with.
So what happens if a storm decimates most of the farmers’ apple crop? The apples he can save are going to have to cost a lot more if he is going to cover his expenses. And the increase in price is passed all the way down the line until it reaches the supermarket.
Everyone along the way still has to make their profit or their business would not survive. It doesn’t matter if it’s the farmer, the packer, the trucking company, or your neighborhood supermarket.
So, we all know by now what happens next. Whether you buy apples, apple sauce, apple pies, or apple juice you are going to pay more because…….
It’s always passed on to the consumer.
It makes no difference if you are talking beef, pork, sugar, flour, chicken, coffee, or anything else that adorns the supermarket shelves. Increased production costs will make their way all the way down to the consumer in the form of higher retail prices.
So what are people to do? Well, the smartest thing you can do is start shopping with a plan in mind and quit paying such a high price for most food when there are other options.
BUILD A FOOD STORAGE CUPBOARD
If you don’t already have an area of your home to store food with long shelf life, then perhaps it’s time. I have a small one-bedroom condo and one closet has become a food storage area. It was a simple matter of putting in some shelving and I was good to go.
It’s the perfect place to store flour, sugar, cereal, canned goods, peanut butter, olive oil, vinegar, and many other foods that do not have to be refrigerated. If it’s not refrigerated in the store, then you don’t have to refrigerate it as home. Don’t forget about toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissue.
Some people can fruits and vegetables in season, and they are also perfect for storing for long periods.
Unless it’s food like peanut butter, mayonnaise, or ketchup, for instance, that should be refrigerated after opening. Until then, they are fine stored at room temperature.
If you have the room, it would probably pay dividends to buy yourself a chest freezer as well. It could very well save you a lot of money in the long run.
UNDERSTANDING GROCERY STORE SPECIALS
Almost every food or non-food item you currently have in your home will eventually go on sale. How much of it did you buy on sale?
Grocery store ads go in a cycle that repeats itself over and over again throughout any given year. Most food retailers will run ads for one week and then a new ad will begin. So if you didn’t buy the food in your cupboard on sale, why didn’t you?
I’ll give you a few examples. I know that every month, the Shoppers Drug Mart a few blocks from me will have the big cans of Maxwell Coffee on sale for $6.99. Most supermarkets sell the very same can for as much as $12.99. Why in the name of all that’s holy would I pay that much?
Once a month the Walmart nearest to me will have olive oil on sale for something like $5.87. Olive oil prices can reach up to $14 in some stores. Often, it’s the very same brand that Walmart has on sale.
I’m a big fan of Heinz beans, black beans, and canned vegetables. Every week they are on sale somewhere. I could go to the store and pay $1.59 or more for any of these items, or do what I usually do. When they are on sale for under a dollar, I stock up and into the storage cupboard they go.
The scenario is no different for produce, frozen vegetables, ice cream, meat, dairy, or bakery products. Eventually, they will all go on sale if you are paying attention. That’s why I suggested having a chest freezer. You could buy all your meat, frozen vegetables, ice cream, and bread in large quantities on sale and then freeze it. Normally, supermarkets rotate their meat sales.
They will alternate between pork, beef, and chicken. Another week they will have sandwich meat, sausages, weiners, and bacon on sale.
Toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, dish soap, and all your cleaning supplies also go on sale on a rotating basis. You just have to be patient and do your homework and you can the same enormous amounts of money on food and non-food items.
I suppose I should’ve mentioned at the beginning that I just finished my 50th year with the same retail grocery company, so I know of what I speak.
ONE-STOP SHOPPING IS NO MORE
There was a time in the retail grocery industry when chains advertised one-stop-shopping. The idea was to have a wide range of items for sale that would encourage shoppers to buy much more than food items.
Grocery chains started selling sleeping bags, tents, lawn chairs, and coolers in the Spring and Summer and Xmas decorations, Xmas trees, and strings of lights in the Fall and Winter.
These, of course, are just a few of the seasonal non-food items they sold, but in reality, the list was very extensive. It got to the point where around 25% of the store display space was for items that had nothing to do with food.
However, one-stop-shopping was a poor business model and is no more. Grocery chains have gone back to selling mostly groceries and very few items not related to food.
There are still companies that are trying to become one-stop-shopping destinations. Walmart saw an opportunity and this is exactly why they decided to fill the void. They did the exact opposite of grocery chains and added produce, meat, bakery, and aisles of other food products to many of their stores.
In many ways, it’s far easier to add food products to a thriving variety format than it is to add various items to a store set up to sell groceries.
Just the same, Walmart can only run so many sales, and other chains can still sell some food products on sale at a lower price than Walmart.
Essentially, the best way for consumers to truly save money shopping for groceries is to shop at a variety of locations. Every single week, every grocery retailer will run a new ad just like clock-work. If one outlet doesn’t have what you want on sale, another most likely does.
So, how do you find the grocery sales in your area on any given week? Do you have to hope that you get their flyer in the mail? Do you check the newspapers? Perhaps you check online, or listen to the radio?
No, none of those! You simply get one of the most useful free apps ever created.
YOU JUST HAVE TO GET THE FLIPP APP
I believe everyone, especially seniors on fixed incomes, should have the Flipp App installed on their I-phone or tablet. It’s an amazing app that couldn’t possibly be simpler to use.
All you do is type in the name of the retail grocery chain or specific food item into the search bar. If you type in Walmart for instance, their current ad for the week will pop up listing all their specials.
In Canada, they run their ads from Thursday to Wednesday the following week and then start a new ad all over again. It may or may not be the same in the USA, but most likely their ads run on a week to week basis everywhere, just like all other retailers.
No grocery chain can get away from running weekly ads. If they don’t, shoppers will head to the chains that do. Weekly ads have become a necessary part of doing business in the grocery industry.
Typing in a certain grocery item into the search bar is the coolest function of the Flipp App. This is where it really shines, and this is where you can really save money.
For instance, at this very moment, I typed olive oil into the search bar of my Flipp App. You can access the search bar by clicking on the magnifying glass at the bottom of your device.
It shows me all the stores in my postal zone that are featuring olive oil and what price they have it on sale for. Here is what I found for a one-liter bottle.
- $8.99 Loblaws
- $9.98 AG Foods
- $7.99 London Drugs
- $5.97 Walmart(the same brand as London Drugs)
- $5.99 Co-op
So, where do you think I would go to buy olive oil? I use it every day and if I was on my last bottle, I would go to Walmart and buy three of them and into my storage closet they go.
Because they are a dated product I usually will only buy three at a time. My theory is, that by the time I run out in three or four weeks, someone will have olive oil on special again.
Say for example I opted for the store closest to me and it was London Drugs. I would be paying two dollars more per bottle. So in essence, by purchasing three bottles at Walmart, I saved six dollars.
This is why you should designate an area in your home to store non-perishable goods. When you see great prices on products you use on a daily or weekly basis, buy extra and by the time you run out, someone else is likely to have it on special.
The Flipp App can show you prices in other regions as well. It’s just a matter of changing the postal code.
In the USA, digital coupons can be clipped directly to your favorite store loyalty cards.
People have been saving hundreds of dollars a month, and thousands of dollars a year by making use of this free app. So why not you?
IS SAVING MONEY ON GROCERIES FOR YOU?
For many seniors, it might be too much of a chore to do their shopping at a variety of locations. It’s simpler to go to their closest neighborhood store and pay whatever price the grocery store is asking.
You are paying so much more, that perhaps it would be worthwhile to have someone help you with your shopping just once a week and make the rounds of stores in your area in order to save money.
Personally, I believe it’s worth the effort if you can find a way to do it. You could be paying as much as four or five dollars more for just one item, like the coffee I mentioned.
If you could find a way to go to where the best price is and buy two or three cans, you could save $12-$15 on just one item. You might not have to shop for coffee again for two or three months.
There are also seniors who have plenty of money and price is no object, so they just pay the higher price. Just the same, the time will eventually come when shopping and cooking become a chore.
Maybe for those seniors, the best option is to have quality meals delivered to them on a regular basis. The home meal delivery service is becoming more and more popular, and one of the best is HOME BISTRO. You might want to give them a try if grocery shopping and cooking is becoming too much of a chore for you.
Would you like to share your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.