Buyer Beware: Real grocery store deals - - Columbia, South Carolina

Buyer Beware: Real grocery store deals

(Columbia) Nov. 16, 2004 - When Sandra Wolf hits a grocery store, she's a woman on a mission, "I make sure I look for sales. ... I go from store to store. I try to find the best bargain that I can."

Sandra says she usually sticks to her list, which is a good rule of thumb. When it comes to produce, though, lose the list and buy what's fresh, inexpensive and in season.

Another tip: not all bags of produce are created equal. Sandra she doesn't usually weigh the potatoes, "They come pre-bagged, five pounds, ten pounds, so I don't weigh potatoes." That could be a costly mistake.

One bag didn't quite weight ten pounds, which means Sandra would have been paying for something she didn't get. She weighed three more bags. The heaviest weighed in at ten pounds-five ounces, "I think that's a great tip. I never thought to do that. I always trusted that ten pounds was ten pounds in that bag."

Over at the meat counter, get the butcher to help you make the cut. If you find out when they mark down items that expire, you'll cook up some prime savings, "If it's real close to expiring, then I'll get it and freeze it immediately."

Sandra knows another good point about buying in bulk, "The larger items are not always the better deal." For example the bottle of Tide detergent containing 26 uses cost 7.5 cents an ounce. But, the container with 39 uses was 8.4 cents an ounce. Even with a discount card it was 8.0 cents an ounce.

And, you should always steer clear of non-grocery items in a grocery store. They can be convenient, but in many cases you double your cost. Sandra says, "I usually go to the discount stores. ... They have the same brand at much, much cheaper prices."

Plus, you can save up to 40 percent by selecting generic or store labels, "Some of them are just as good, and I hear that some companies actually make these products for the stores."

Finally, you can dial for dollars, too. To get your favorite coupons, just call and ask. Lots of companies will send them to you.

Here are a few more tips to find real deals:

Look for the area where the store puts discontinued items.

Sign up for all the discount cards. If you're worried about getting on a mailing list don't put your address on the application, they'll still give you the card.

Most people know not to shop when they're hungry, but you shouldn't shop when your tired or angry either. When you're tired you buy sweets and high carbs and when you're angry you go for the crunchy junk foods.

by Judi Gatson
posted 5:45pm by Chris Rees

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