The following is a guest post by Kalen Smith. Kalen writes about finance, insurance and related topics for homeowners insurance.
We are probably all familiar with the conventional wisdom about saving money shopping. We often feel better about ourselves when we follow the advice of the expert we just heard on NPR. Sometimes, we need to question that advice and take a harder look at the facts. Here are a few suggestions often made by experts that may not actually save us money at all.
Limit Your Visits to the Store to Once a Week
This is great advice, but you need to also plan your meals for the rest of the week to minimize waste. People who limit their shopping trips without thinking about the perishability of fresh produce they purchase are going to end up throwing away a lot of it later on. Either buy fresh produce regularly to guarantee freshness or better yet, just use your perishables as they look like they are about to expire.
Use a List When You Shop
I can see the logic behind shopping with a list. You want to limit your purchases to what you need so you aren’t tempted to overspend on unnecessary items. However, you may find an item you may need in the future is on sale. You also need to take into consideration that some items on your list may be more expensive than you anticipated and make a substitute.
Always Buy in Bulk
Economies of scale say that when you purchase items of the same brand in larger quantities you are going to pay less. Personally, I can’t wait for the day when consumer economics starts to follow a consistent pattern that we can all use to make saving easier.
Manufacturers seem to have picked up on consumer tendencies to buy in bulk without checking the unit price first. If you check, you will notice that some items actually cost more when you buy in bulk. That is why you need to check the unit price of everything beforehand. You may also find that items in smaller quantities go on sale when bulk items remain at their original price.
Beef Always Costs Too Much
Many people believe they will always save money buying pork instead of beef. This is not true. It really depends on the cuts. Dietitian Tina Ruggiero says that you can buy a lean cut of beef and simply marinate it. Some cuts of beef go on sale regularly and are a better deal than buying center cut pork chops.
It is Worth Paying More on Fresh Vegetables Since they’re More Nutritious
I respect this argument. You don’t always want to prioritize saving money over your family’s nutrition. However, you may not want to make the assumption that you are going to get more vitamins out of fresh vegetables. Many of us would actually be surprised to see the rate at which nutrients are lost in fresh vegetables. Fresh vegetables are likely to have more nutritional content immediately after you purchase them, but if you are planning on eating them later in the week you may be better off purchasing them frozen or in cans instead.
Be Shrewd When You Buy Food
Sadly, there are no fast and quick formulas for saving money. The experts have shared some great tips that you should take to heart. However, you need to use your own judgment so that your savings plan doesn’t actually work against you.