Whenever we go grocery shopping, we bargain shop. Sure, a few items will always be bought based upon the brand we like (wines/beer, coffee, and salad dressings), but a majority of the time we will buy whatever comes cheapest. It’s always OK to go cheap on certain groceries. Find out which ones they are, and how much you can save by going off-brand.
At our local store, we can get a 24-roll pack of off-brand toilet paper for under $8, or pay upwards of $12 for name-brand items. We’ll take our $4 discount by going cheaper, thank you. Our bums don’t care so long as it’s 2-ply, and that money we save can make us feel less guilty for buying name-brand coffee.
Cereal can be purchased for over $4 a box, or we can get the super giant 32 ounce family bag for under $3. Heck, we’ll get 2 bags, and save ourselves a mint. off-brand cereal tastes exactly like the name-brand stuff, only tastes better, and lasts longer for our money. Hey, we can buy fruit snacks with the savings.
We love what we call the ‘bargain bin’ at the local grocery store. It’s where the soon-to-be-expired meat goes in the meat produce section. Don’t worry. Your store manager put it out that very same morning, so it’s still fresh. But you’re going to get that meat for a steal. You can still freeze it so it will last you a while. We’ve gotten steaks for less than $2.00 this way.
In general, unless there is something on sale, we skip the freezer aisle. It’s full of processed junk anyhow, and unless frozen juice or vegetables are on sale, we don’t fall into the freezer aisle trap. If you stay away, you can save tons of money, too. For that matter, stay away from the snack food aisle, too. I don’t care about the $.79 2-liter off-brand soda. I am not wasting my moolah on junk food.
note: if you have a sweet tooth, why not make a cake that will last you a few days? Every time I get a hankering for chocolate, I buy the ingredients for ‘better than sex’ cake, and make one for the hubby and I to share. The entire cake to make costs about $5, and the average candy bar is around a dollar. The cake lasts a few days. The candy bar? Uh, it’s gone before I hit the car…
Go cheap on cream-based soups and any canned fruits or vegetables. Basically any canned item is a great deal if you go off-brand, and will taste the same. Who cares about Campbell’s when you can get Kroger’s for less than half the cost?
By the way, never pay for pricey salad dressings. We buy the Western Family ranch dressing mix (around $.50) and mix our own ranch for salads. The single packet calls for a cup of milk and a cup of mayo and the packet poured in. This $.50 salad dressing not only tastes better than any store-bought bottle, but lasts you a while as well.
Bread is a little bit of give-and-take. I like any kind of cheap bread, but my husband likes pricey bread. So we get one of each, instead of getting 2 cheap breads or 2 pricey ones. We compromise this way.
Not every item you buy is better off cheap, however. Luckily enough, however, the items that are better off name-brand (and pricier) are items you don’t need all the time, anyhow. Items like dish soap, shampoo and conditioner, beer/wine, chips, and frozen pizza aren’t items you are constantly buying. But hey, when you do go to buy your pricier go-tos, you’ll have already done great on the cheaper stuff in savings to balance yourself out! Yay!