How can you save a buck or two at the supermarket?
I went to the grocery store in our berg this morning and found that I had left my wallet at home. What happened is that my bulging wallet was stuck in my pocket and I decided to work it out of the pocket and drop it back in again. By wife distracted me and I put the wallet on the mantel of our monstrous fireplace. So, with no wallet, I could not buy. It was a horrible feeling. It reminded me of the depression, that hopeless feeling of not having money to purchase what I needed.
Many of us have a horrible feeling when we go to the grocery store these days. I put five bucks worth of groceries on the counter and the cashier said, "That will be $57.90."
I said, "I object!"
She laughed and said, "I know just how you feel." A senior lady in line agreed with her.
I remember during the Great Depression when somehow my folks got some money and purchased $25.00 worth of groceries, an unheard of sum in our house. We had a big kitchen table and you could hardly get that many groceries on the thing. Now that same amount of cash will buy you a bag of groceries you can lift with one finger.
Times are hard and they are going to get a lot harder. I saw a news clip the other day that showed folks in a food line not getting the food they needed. You can't afford food in the store and now you can't get it in some areas from charity.
The Postal workers in our town collected food last month as they made their rounds. I put a case of canned goods out by my mailbox and they picked it up. My mailman said they made quite a haul. The scouts do this too but sometimes they leave a bag for the food, then never come back. I have to scoot around town trying to find where my food should go.
I do my shopping at a small grocery store, by current standards, but it copies the tricks of the big boys. The owner, my friend, Don, uses all the tricks to keep his store solvent.
When you go into the store you are greeted by the odor of fried chicken, burritos, corn dogs and egg roles. These are in the bakery where donuts, eclairs, pies, and cakes stare you in the face. If you were not hungry going in, you soon will be.
That is why they say to never go grocery shopping when you are hungry.
I tell the bakery clerk to bag me up some chicken and a few eclairs.
Now that I'm in the store, I must watch for more of Don's traps.
The bananas are always at the end of the bakery counter. There they are stacked on high like a banana tree. I quickly grab three or four clumps and in the cart they go.
Well, that trap got me.
Sometimes we have enough bananas in the house to feed the primates at the Bronx Zoo. If you want to see how many primates they have at the zoo, go to the Bronx Zoo web site and look at the video.
Fortunately my wife will only eat bananas that have turned black. I like them green myself. So they are seldom wasted. If they are medium ripe neither of us can stand them, so we always split one to share.
I slip over to the ice cream freezer and grab a package of the soft ice cream Don sells in the bakery. They run the soft ice cream in these cute little tubs and place them in the freezer so that the customers will not always be bugging them while they are trying to bake. We love banana splits. I grab a jar or two of "banana split" syrup.
Now I hit the first end-of-aisle display. It must be a bargain item, right? It must be on sale.
I find it is not a bargain nor on sale. Don wants me to buy a roll of spiced meat that I can cut up like a cucumber and put on my favorite Ritz® Crackers.
How did those crackers get right next to the luxury meat?
I toss both into my cart.
The dairy case is on the right. I came for milk and bread, but the bakery, bananas and the end-of-aisle display have already caught me. I grab a gallon of orange juice carefully looking to see if the good stuff is on sale. I buy the store brand.
I grab a pound of butter and three gallons of chocolate milk.
My wife hates regular milk. It goes sour if I buy it. So I don't buy white milk anymore unless we have company who don't like chocolate milk on their cereal.
I grab a carton of cottage cheese and a half-quart of buttermilk. I plan to make waffles with the waffle maker I bought for $5.00 at a yard sale. I could have got it for less but the sellers were handicapped. That's the kind of guy I am.
Now there is another end-of-aisle exhibit, an open-top freezer that blocks my path. I look in to see if my favorite Claim Jumper® TV dinners are on sale. They are not today, but I grab a couple of Chicken Fried Steak dinners and a package of their delicious lasagna.
The cookie aisle is on my left. I love those Oreo® cookies. I grab a pack.
The deadly meat counter is on my right. I look and sniff and pass the bacon, the fresh Italian sausage, and the ham. I go back and grab a package of precooked bacon.
I'm an expert at saving money at the meat display. I buy only pork only on sale. Pork is cheap, and the way I cook you can't tell if it's beef or rhino when I'm done with it.
In 1956, I drove through Iowa and the pigs were as big as tanks, just like the ones on our Church hog farm in Utah. When I went back to Iowa in 1996 to teach engineering at Iowa State University, the hogs were lean and mean. So now days, you get meat instead of fat when you buy pork and it is a lot cheaper than beef.
To spend the money I saved on the pork, I buy a package of frozen stir-fry shrimp with vegetables. I grab a bucket of potato salad and cole slaw, the later for my wife who will not eat potatoes because of her arthritis. Of course, I'm at Don's limited deli counter. I by jumbo eggs and fat free baloney. Not too many saving there.
Next are the rows of canned goods. I skip those aisles, but grabbed a frozen pizza and a big bag of frozen, store-brand, Southern Style Hash Brown potatoes. I studied all of the hash browns carefully to get the best deal. It was like the attorney that interviewed several secretaries and when asked by a friend which one he hired, he said, "The one with the big breast."
You might ask, "Why did the Hack Writer skip the canned goods?"
Oh, you don't care why!
Well, I always buy canned goods by the case. Don always accommodates me on this. I have a secret money-saving strategy too. I wait for the canned goods to go on sale. Then I buy the cases. Don always lets me know when there is a big sale because I'm his favorite customer. My neighbor says he tells everybody that.
I skip the cereal aisle. My wife lives on cereal but she will only eat Waffle Crisp®. I buy them by the case and save a buck a box. I have found it best to buy two cases at a time because they seem to disappear as fast as snow on a hot sidewalk. (That simile is for folks that have heated sidewalks, the idle rich.)
I skip the aisles with toothpaste, soap powder, and all that kitchen stuff. I buy paper towels and tissue and such by the case. If I buy other items like deodorant, I fill the cart so I won't have to stop every time I go to the store. How rapidly we run out of these items, anyway, is beyond me.
Next at the bread aisle I grab a loaf of bread at the lowest price and a box of Twinkies® and cupcakes. I'm not going to give up my life style in these hard times. I run back to the deli case and grab a pack of store brand hot dogs, ignoring the fat label which just makes me nervous.
At last I'm at the fruit and vegetable counters. Ah, good health! I fill my basket with every fruit and vegetable in sight that seems reasonably priced. Don't you love fresh pineapple? I feel guilty skipping the pomegranates. I run back for jalapenos. I ask the veggie man if the cantaloupe are good. He says that they are okay. I buy one anyway, not the usual four.
Trying to escape the chips, I buy a bag of the "groovy" kind that are on sale. I skip the pop today. I still have a couple of cases. I also have three cases of apple juice in the garage that we need to drink.
Of course, the above is the reason you should always shop with a list and buy only what is on the list. We usually put a list together before I go of to Don's Market. When I get to the store I never can find it. I suggest that old folks make a list at home and memorize it. Then burn or swallow it. When you get to the store, you will have forgotten half the list.
Now, that is the way to save money.
P.S. I've got go back for ice cream cups and those frozen ice cream cones with the chocolate and nuts on top. I can get my big-mark-up candy bars at the counter.
P.P.S. ?What about coupons?, you say.
Well, I don't like the pesky things. Sometimes I stand in line for an eternity while an old lady pulls eighty coupons out of her bag. It's not that I'm not an expert on coupons. (Nor am I against old ladies with coupons.) If you study what you are buying you can save some dough. They are like cash, so you can trade them with your neighbors and your Aunt Bev. You can give too save 10¢ "can of beans" coupons for one 20¢ "can of tuna" coupon. If you wait until things are on sale and you buy the smallest size, you will probably save a lot more. I told you that I'm an expert on coupons.
Now for mail-in rebates. Unless it is from Proctor and Gamble,® forget it. I carefully find labels and proof-of-purchase and all that, and I mail them it, but I seldom get the promised rebate. I may get a postcard saying I didn't do things right and to go fly a kite.
Isn't America Great?
Fly Old Glory!
John T. Jones, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org), a retired college professor and business executive, Former editor of an international engineering magazine. To learn more about Wealthy Affiliate University go to his info site. If you desire a flagpole to Fly Old Glory, go to the business site.
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