Grocery Savings – What Worked For Grandma Probably Won’t Work For You
Something that has not changed in this fast-paced technologically advanced time we live in is the simple need of most families to save money on their monthly grocery bill. But grocery savings in your grandma’s time and even in your mother’s time were not necessarily the same as grocery savings today.
How does such a fact impact you, today, in your quest for a lower monthly grocery bill? Simple. If you were raised by your mother (!), then you are probably still using her methods of saving at the grocery store.
Now you’re paying attention.
In the last twenty years several things have changed in the way we shop for our groceries. Convenience food, once that little-used novelty, has morphed into, quite simply, the way we choose our food. I think my personal favorite in this category (I’m being a bit sarcastic here) is the friendly fruit snack. Don’t get me wrong, we buy our fair share of fruit rolls, fruit chew-y things, and fruit-stretchy-pieces in our household. But let’s be honest here. The grocery industry started with a highly nutritious and CONVENIENT food (a piece of fruit) and, well, changed it. Somehow along the way, we as consumers have begun believing this ‘change’ is more convenient (huh?), more tasty (yum…added sugar) and better for us all around (now we look for percentages of fruit…instead of a piece of fruit…which is one hundred percent fruit).
Now I know it’s no accident that our thinking as consumers has changed when it comes to a piece of fruit. Huge amounts of money are spent every year through marketing campaigns to convince us to change our thinking.
And that’s something that has changed quite a lot since mom and grandma’s day in our friendly grocery store.
What used to be gentle persuasion is now serious business. Your grocery store wants your business so badly that your whole shopping experience is manipulated from the moment you walk in the door. Personally, I don’t think this is such a bad thing. Grocery shopping has risen to the level of art in many stores, providing the consumer with a quite pleasurable experience.
Nonetheless, as an adult in charge of your family’s grocery budget, you had better be paying attention or you can kiss all grocery savings goodbye.
I know my mom would’ve laughed at the idea that she was supposed to hand over extra money because someone had repackaged a piece of fruit. But then my mom cooked, too. She worked full time and came home every night and put a complete meal on the table.
What she didn’t have to contend with was long commutes, rampant amounts of afterschool activities and a culture which was telling her kids daily that fast and yummy beats nutritious and cost-effective every time.
Today’s mom is fighting an uphill battle if she wants her family to eat together more often than not and if she wants that food to be healthy and fit within her food budget. (If you would like more strategies on grocery savings, see the resource box at the end of this article.)
My mom gardened, froze and canned food. Today’s mom needs to be a savvy label-reader and able to discern when ‘convenience’ means buying pre-packaged or when it is really more convenient for her to cook her own meal. Both can be true in our current food economy.
So…if you’re still clipping coupons because your mother did, better get out a calculator and a clock to see what you are really saving on your groceries, and if it’s worth your time to do it. (The answer is, it depends upon your buying habits and your family’s eating habits.)
Today’s consumer has to think on her feet and be aware that she is a player in the grocery game, whether she wants to be or not. It is not difficult to maximize grocery savings for your family, but you’ll need to have the knowledge and resources to do the job. In addition, you need to give yourself permission to learn a few new tricks that can get your monthly grocery shopping done more efficiently plus save you money at the same time.
That’s something I’ll bet your mom would be delighted for you to learn.