We understand that many of you may not be in a position to shop for food in a traditional way. If you are having a food emergency, please let us know and we will open our Community Choice food pantry to you.

With that said, food insecurity starts with people who are living in a traditional home/family unit. It’s often an early indicator of more serious financial waters to come. We at Pinnacle Resource Center always want the best possible outcome for you. That begins by early intervention. We want you to avoid dipping into the dangerous waters that lead to homelessness.

10 Tips for Saving at the Grocery Store

Here are a few tips for food shopping. Some of you may know some or even all of these, but many of you may be newly on your own and new to shopping. With inflation raging it’s extremely important to maximize every dollar and that especially goes for food cost. 

Tip #1: Comparison Shop

This doesn’t mean go from store to store comparing prices. You should know where you’re going and what you want to buy before you step out the door. Food outlets will generally always have their latest sale paper available online. Find it and try and find the best available price on any item you need. If you do this often enough, you’ll begin to see patterns in each individual retail outlet. The same items will go on sale at around the same time each month in these stores. That makes it easier to know when certain items return to sale.

Tip #2: Get Free Store Discount Cards

This should be obvious, but most stores require you to sign up for their store discount card to take advantage of their sale prices. The sign up is free and it takes only a short time to sign up. This can lead to significant discounts on items and some cards allow you to earn perks, such as discounted gas.

Tip #3: Buy Proteins in Bulk

If you have freezer space, keep an eye on sales papers as noted in tip #2. Keep watch for steeply discounted proteins. You will occasionally find it on sale for up to 40-50% off the normal price. Buy your proteins in bulk and freeze it. I’ve done this for years and as long as it’s well protected and eaten within a reasonable amount of time, you will find it tastes as good as fresh meat after thawing.

 In addition to buying in bulk, buy chicken or other poultry bone-in. Retailers will often have a major discount applied to bone-in meats. De-boning poultry is quite easy and their bones weigh much less than pork or beef bones. If you’re unsure how to de-bone meat, look it up on YouTube, if you can’t access YouTube at home, try a local library.

Also look in the discounted meat bin for items that are close to going out of date. These items will be up to 60 percent lower in price and are still good. Just freeze or prepare them when you get home.

Tip #4: Generic/Store Brands

When possible, stick to generic or store brands over name brands. Store brands are virtually always cheaper than name brands and for the most part, the quality is the same or very close. Buy everything you possibly can this way. Some retailers even offer additional incentives for buying their store brand. It’s well worth learning these and it’s easily done by using the sales listing as noted above.

Tip #5: Lead me not into Temptation

Do not go to the grocery store hungry if you have any possible way to avoid doing so. This leads to impulse purchases more than any other thing. You will often find yourself picking up things you don’t actually need if you go in hungry. On a related note, do not buy anything around registers or checkouts. These are there just to tempt consumers into last second buys at very large markup rates. For the most part these tend to be food that the average person doesn’t need anyway. If for whatever reason you feel you must have these items, check bulk prices. You will often find packages of six or more will cost about the same as any two items near the checkout.

Tip #6: Price Per Ounce/Unit

I noted above, always buy your proteins (meats) in bulk if you have a freezer. That isn’t always the case with items from the store dry goods section. Stores will often price smaller sizes cheaper per ounce because they assume most people believe that buying more nets them a cheaper per ounce price. Recently while shopping at a major retailer I found that the per ounce price of peanut butter was cheapest in the smallest container, next was the largest and the medium sized container was the most expensive per ounce. So always look at this price per ounce/unit, it’s usually on the tag, but if not do the math yourself or use your calculator.

Tip #7: Substitute Proteins

If you find a dish that calls for an expensive protein, look for one that’s cheaper. For tacos, consider ground poultry or ground pork. The taco seasoning is the main taste you’ll note. The same applies to chili or even burgers. The substitute meat proteins are often 25 to 50 percent cheaper than beef.

 For a tasty protein boost, don’t sleep on pork tenderloin. It’s an extremely tasty meat that is tender, easy to flavor and easy to prepare. It’s also a bulk protein that can often be had cheaper than chicken and much cheaper than a tender muscle cut of beef. One whole pork tenderloin could feed a hearty family of four for three or four meals. You will often find it for $1.99 or less per pound. That’s a large amount of protein for a low price.

Tip #8: Never buy at non-Traditional Outlets

Do not buy food at convenience stores or other similar retailers if you can possibly avoid it. These retailers are always going to be more expensive than the traditional grocery retailers. They count on people buying on the inside to make up for lack of profit margin on gasoline.

Tip #9: Do Not Buy Bottled Water

If you like drinking water, do not buy it in bottles. It’s cheaper to get a filter pitcher and you will get the same taste profile as you get from bottled water.

Tip #10: Make a List

Always make a list and stick to it. It will minimize your shopping time and it will keep you on budget. When money is tight every penny counts. You will find yourself being able to approximately plan your exact food expenses each month this way.

We hope these tips help you become a more effective shopper. Times grow increasingly hard each month it seems and we at Pinnacle Resource Center want to see you succeed in the face of any adversity you may be facing. Please feel free to reach out to us if you find you are in danger of running out of hope. We are here to offer you a hand up.

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