Thursday, January 14, 2016

grocery shopping myths + the truth behind them.

everybody eats, so everybody needs to buy groceries. it seems like it should be a super straightforward thing, but in all honesty, learning to buy groceries (without going broke and/or eating junk al the time) was one of the hardest "adult skills" i had to learn not only are there about ten million variables when it comes to grocery shipping, there are a lot of "rules" and "methods" out there that are "supposed" to help make shopping faster/easier/cheaper/whatever. the main problem with a lot of these rules/methods/whatever, is that they dont really account for the fact that not all families have the same needs/preferences, and they definitely dont account for the fact that grocery costs/options vary widely depending on where you live (trust me, i could write a novel on the differences between buying groceries in rural arizona vs. southern california). 

over the past five years, ive tried quite a few of these different "rules" and "methods" that frugal living bloggers share promising huge grocery savings and frankly... theyre chock full of lies. ok maybe not like, malicious lies, more like well-meaning myths that got passed around without really checking how factual they actually are. so before i get started with sharing tips and tricks for eating healthy on a budget, here are a few of the most common "grocery myths" and the truth behind them: 

myth: you have to use coupons. 
truth: coupons are actually not an easy way to save money. can they be helpful? absolutely, but coupons alone will not solve your grocery budget troubles (trust me, its been over a year since i last clipped a coupon and were spending less on groceries than ever before). 

myth: you have to keep a database of prices and memorize "price cycles" 
truth: not really. if youve ever watched "extreme couponers" or read a lot of frugal living type blogs they talk a lot about these two things. frankly, both of these are HUGE time investments that may not be all that worth it (unless you live entirely off packaged foods). 

myth: you have to shop at a lot of stores. 
truth: nope (i only shop at one!) technically, if you wanted to get the BEST possible price on EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL ITEM you ever buy, then yeah, youll need to go to a lot of stores, but will this save money in the long run? probably not. 

myth: you have to buy in bulk. 
truth: it depends. im going to be completely honest: there are a TON of benefits to buying things (food and otherwise) in bulk, BUT its not necessarily practical for everyone/every thing. weve gone through phases of buying a lot in bulk and not buying anything in bulk and... its kind of a wash. 

myth: saving money on groceries is hard and time consuming. 
truth: absolutely not. again going back to the extreme couponers and frugal living bloggers, they make it way more complicated than it needs to be. i promise, the more you simplify your grocery shopping, the less youll spend, and the less youll want to rip your hair out. 

myth: healthy food is too expensive. 
truth: junk food is actually WAY more expensive. i know packaged foods have better "deals", but thats because theyre marked up so much. when you buy fresh food, youre just paying for the food, but when you buy packaged, processed food, youre paying for the ingredients, the processing, the packaging, etc., typically paying more money for less, lower quality food. 

myth: you have to have a "stockpile". 
truth: its better to just buy what you need. even though "stockpiling" food when its cheapest to last until its cheap again sounds like it would save money, it really doesnt: first, you have to spend the money up front to buy the huge quantities, then you have to store all of it, then you have to make sure you actually eat it before it goes bad. its also super time consuming AND gets you stuck eating the same things over and over again. 

saving money on groceries has a reputation for being a complicated code that needs to be cracked, when really, with some simple common sense, anyone can do it. 

have you ever run into these "grocery myths"? what are your thoughts on them?

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