Shopping for Groceries

  1. Make a list prior to going shopping, and stick to it.       

 You are far more likely to buy unnecessary items if you don’t have a list prepared.  Ideally it will be stuck to your fridge (horrible but useful) or a nearby bulletin board so you can write items on it as you run out (much nicer).         

  1. Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. 

Make it a habit to go to the grocery store after a meal, on specific weekdays, and preferably at night when you’ll have less distractions or sample food vendors unless you can hit them for something that will fill you.(never the case, unless a ritz cracker with a slice of weenie does it for you)

  1. Buy seasonal fruits or vegetables or frozen. 

 Fruits and vegetables are picked at the height of their ripeness and then flash frozen, they typically retain their nutrients and are typically better priced than their “fresh” counterparts.  This is because produce is perishable and when something spoils it needs to be thrown away, and who do you think pays for the waste? That’s right you do. 

  1. Consider store brands. 

 The erroneous idea that store brands or “generic” foods are of inferior quality is, for the most part, simply not true. In fact a good amount of the goods you can buy with a store brand are produced by the same manufacturer with the fancy label AND in many instances it is this blogger’s experience that they van be of higher quality. Don’t let the consumerism pressure get to you. 

  1. Buy and cook in bulk amounts. 

A good part of the price you pay for groceries comes from the packaging so if you consider the purchase of a larger amount in one package, go for it. As long as its a staple you commonly use.  Fortunately most grocery stores are now forced to tell yo how much you are paying for the product so you can compare different package sizes and brands. A big mistake is then putting all that ground meat away in the freezer, cause you’ll forget about it. If you’re going to cook it, cook it all put it into containers and label it (c’mon you can do it)

  1. At the grocery store only buy groceries.

It seems obvious, but we all make the same mistake.  You go by the checkout and pick up a pack of batteries, light bulbs or some non-food item. It has been estimated that batteries are marked up by as much as 700% ! So go to specialized stores to buy non foods and compare prices. Shopping clubs can be great bargains for sundries like toilet paper tissues etc. and if you can’t use the amount they sell, consider forming a small shopping club amongst your friends and family and split the amount to your comfort level. A case of cooking oil with 12 bottles can be split by four and the savings are considerable.

  1.  Don’t be afraid of frozen seafood or fish.

The bottom line here is that most fish today is flash frozen at the fishing ships then thawed and sold to you as “fresh”.  The thawing process will cost you additional money because the store is in jeopardy of spoilage, so you pay for their “insurance”. In fact I am a fan of certain types of sushi and I have long learned that fish carry nasty parasites. The only way to get rid of them is by freezing.  Not even cooking at high temperatures can get rid of some parasites but freezing almost always does.  Fishermen you know what I’m talking about when you catch that huge black drum only to find nasty surprises lurking inside.  The same goes with steak and other meats you can buy frozen, and, if you “age” your beef in a freezer avoiding freezer burn you’ll end up with a nice and tender steak (the protein breaks up and tenderizes it).

  1.  Buy bulk spices.

Many health food or specialty stores sell items in bulk bins.  How many times have you bought a spice that has now been around in your pantry for years ? Right ? Especially when trying new recipes with out of the ordinary salt and pepper seasoning.  Buy small amounts of spices, and you’ll gain a number of things : space in your spice cabinet, you can by and label your own spices in a nice rack and you’ll get rid of old spices that loose their fragrance quickly. You can even buy a small plastic container and keep your spices in the zip lock baggies they came in or get as fancy as you like, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll save. When was the last time you found just a pinch of a spice you needed, manufacturers force you to buy amounts they can justify putting on the shelves, don’t play their game. Curry is a classic example for me. I have a jar my grandmother left me.

  1.  Psychological traps set for you and how to avoid them.

How many times have you found yourself in the checkout lane about to leave an item you really don’t want but the line behind you forces you to just leave it be ?  Find out when the least amount of traffic hits your favorite grocery store and go at that time AND take your time. Have you ever found yourself listening to that annoying elevator music they play / It increases sales by a reported 20 to 30% by slowing down shoppers, some blogger even suggested you take your ipod and listen to peppy music ( I suggest Steven Tyler but that’s because I can only take so much screaming, so I rush) get in and get out, mission accomplished. Don’t start the way the store is layed out its done with psychological trickery for a purpose, go to the middle of your store and stick to your list.  Always buy seasonal produce. When in season you can buy iceberg lettuce or cantaloupes for a song and so on.  Try buying pineapple in the winter and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll think the descendants of King Kamehameha planted them especially for you in Hawaii.

  1. Look Down

A supermarket is nothing but real estate for the vendors, those that sell better get the “eye level” prime spots (location, location, location).  Sometimes their greater sales are due , not to better products, but more advertising , which you pay for, or attractive packaging, which you also pay for. So next time you go to the grocery store look at the bottom shelves you’ll be surprised at the price difference.  This is true particularly with wines but works for everything. Those poor souls you see stocking shelves at night and look at you as if you were insane when you ask where the restroom is, its because they don’t work there, they are just stocking their company’s real estate. David Harari

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    By: David Harari

    David Harari’s experience in the financial world spans well over two decades ranging from: hedging currency to financial advisor to broker and now, as President of his own independent personal consulting firm, with no product sales. David studied in Europe (where he found his calling for finance in Switzerland). David has attended the University of the Americas Business Administration School and has passed the Series 7, 63, 65 financial exams and a General lines Insurance License Group 1 exam (which includes: Life, Health, HMO, Long Term Care and Disability). David has founded his company to provide a “kinder side” to the industry as he strongly feels that individuals, with proper guidance, can make their own decisions. Since his company has no product sales this takes all conflict of interest out of the equation.

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