Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Confessions of a Grocery Store Junkie – Book Review

Better Groceries For Less CashDo these ring a note of truth:

  • Are you buying the newest / biggest / fanciest foods to buy your family’s love?
  • Are you a sucker for Madison Avenue’s slick marketing to get you to spend more on food than you should be?

If so, you could be spending 30% to 40% too much for groceries, according to the author, Randall Putala, in his new book on discount grocery shopping titled “Better Groceries for Less Cash: 101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food”. 

According to the author, the grocery industry has many ways to trick shoppers into overpaying for our food:

  • Frozen Dinner Mixes.  “You can buy the same ingredients for less than half the cost and then bag your own frozen mixes.  You can have ready-to-go meals for a month!”
  • Buying Only Name Brands.  “Did you know that most food factories produce the same product 24/7, and just change out the boxes when they reach “quota”? You can get the SAME QUALITY in many cases with the store brands”.
  • Coupon Phobia. “Many people think that coupons are only for poor people.  But if you take advantage of “BOGO”s (buy one / get one free) and promotional cycles, you can save up to 75% on an advertised product.  It’s true – and it really does work! Coupons are for SMART people.”

Another example cited by the author is shelf positioning.  He claims that food companies pay top-dollar to buy the eye-level position on the grocery shelves, and that the bargains are often found on the top & bottom shelves.  “I also learned that stores must sell items by their expiration date, even though these items could last for another year or longer on the shelf.  When you buy close-outs, the only thing you’re cutting back on is the price,” he said.  

The author makes the interesting analogy of taking a $1 coupon and a $1 bill, and how would you feel about shredding both of them in the shredder?  The point is that they both can count as money.

There are a few simple concepts: stockpile cheaper items, look for sales, plus use coupons.

Here’s a quick rundown of the chapters:

  1. What Color is Your Shopping Cart? (which of 5 types of grocery shoppers is most like you?)
  2. The “7 Deadly Sins” (signs that you may be losing the “grocery game” — such as your family is unhappy with the food you serve, you throw out food that you don’t eat, people are hungry, binge snacking, etc)
  3. Here’s Your Sign (pitfalls for each of the grocery shopper types)
  4. The “12 Steps to Recovery”
  5. The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons
  6. Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet
  7. Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons (8 envelope categories and how to be organized)
  8. The Currency vs. Coupon Litmus Test (what coupons are really worth)
  9. Clubs, Cards & Counterintelligence (explains how frequent shopper cards really work)
  10. The Power of Rebate Clubs, aka “Your Check’s in the Mail”
  11. A Rebate Returned is Money Earned
  12. The Economics of Food
  13. Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients
  14. Real Food, Real Cooking
  15. A System for Cooking = A System for Savings
  16. Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier, Healthier Meals
  17. Planning Your Menus
  18. Miscellaneous Cost Cutters
  19. Online Coupon Hunting
  20. Grocery Store Etiquette
  21. Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips

You can buy the book here.  It will more than pay for itself.

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