I recently read an article in the USA Weekend Magazine titled “5 Surefire Ways To Lower Your Food Costs”. Some of the information the author gives of the ways to lower food costs were much the same as the ones I prefer to use. However, after reading that article I came up with my own ideas including “eating out cheaply”. So with that in mind, here are my own six simple ways seniors and senior citizens can cut expenses for groceries.
1. List what you need
If you will just keep a notepad handy on the counter-top or table, or even one of those neat little magnetic pads to hang on the refrigerator, it becomes simple to keep up with the particular items you are out of or will be needing soon. Now the trick with this item is “don’t forget to take your list to the grocery store with you!” It simply does you no good at all to have a list sitting home on the counter when you are walking into the front door of the community grocery store! This is a very specific and easy remedy to over-spending and purchasing items that aren’t practical on a budget.
2. Good use of coupons
The use of coupons is great but here is my take on that issue. Do not be trapped into the “I have a coupon for so much off on this item, and I must buy it!.” That is just too easy of a trap to fall into. It will cost you money you could have better saved. I have learned to not gather up coupons heedlessly. If I do that then I expect myself to utilize them. That seems to be the case even if it is something I have never even tried and know my husband won’t help me to eat. We simply do not have the money for extra purchases that are unneeded.
So the trick to saving money for me, ironically enough, is to not take very many coupons with me. If I don’t have a coupon for it then I am not apt to buy it! (especially when I didn’t need it anyway.) The most often used coupon which I utilize is for toilet tissue. Sometimes the price is higher with the coupon as opposed to the store brand without the use of a coupon. So I really try to avoid that trap of ‘have coupon, must buy!’. Senior citizens must remember that sometimes the utilization of what seems to be great coupon deals sometimes equals bad spending on a budget. Remember when shopping that you are cutting back on grocery expenses so items need to be prioritized as such.
3. Utilize store brands
I have heard many people exclaim “oh, but I would never switch from my favorite brand to a store brand”. Perhaps that was in a kinder economical age of the distant past (about 2 years ago or more). Now the shoe is sometimes on the other foot after someone has lost a good paying job or gets down on hard times. In that case, a person may be ecstatic just to be able to purchase the so-called ‘store brand’ on their limited food budget.The senior or senior citizen, who is living on a ‘limited income’ with no wage earner in the family, may be very well satisfied to at least have the funds for those once-scorned ‘store brands’. Whether you are cutting back expenses at Kroger’s, Schnucks, Walmart or any other reputable big name grocery store, chances are a generic store brand will offer you an opportunity to cut back on expenses as a Senior.
4. Buy what is considered to be ‘in season’
Sure this makes sense. You might buy strawberries in the spring in you live in Tennessee.
You also may buy any farm produce when you can get it cheaper in the summertime. I will add to this and say to check around your area for any small produce stores which may have fruit and veggies cheaper. Also, feel free to check out any local Farmer’s Markets.
You should not fall into the trap of “it is so cheap, I must buy a lot of it”. A senior may only spend money needlessly in that instance. Often when you get home you have more than you can use in a reasonable period of time. My son once bought 15 huge oranges for an unbelievable 10 cents apiece in a grocery store clear out. Needless to say he never utilized every orange. Wasteful spending certainly won’t help you cut costs at the groceries if you are a senior citizen.
5. Watch for overcharging
This is something that may or may not be true in your own area. I advise you to check around your local stores to see what the policy is on overcharging. Here is the way it works for my family. We often frequent one of the local stores near our home. If you are overcharged then you point it out, and you will get just one of those particular items free of charge. I love that policy. I don’t always remember to check my receipt while at the store. Making a trip back can certainly be an inconvenience for a dollar or two. The particular store in question evidently changes certain prices on Saturday night. We went to the store one Sunday afternoon and simply by checking my receipt before I left the store I actually received about 5 items free of charge!
6. Eating out is cheaper sometimes than buying groceries
My husband and I are both retired. We can very happily eat a lunch meal on less than 5 bucks – between the 2 of us! See two of the slide-shows I have published on ‘eating on the cheap’ by visiting here. It’s evident that sometimes dining out at casual fast food chains can still be a simple way to cut expenses on groceries for senior citizens. The deals for senior citizens range anywhere from less than a dollar off to saving a few bucks because of your age. It’s an obvious way to save money on groceries if you can eat out for the same relative price-of course, minus the work cooking.
1). USA Weekend Magazine, Sept 3-5,2010
2) 5 surefire ways to lower your food costs, by Sandra Block,
USA Weekend Magazine, Sept 3-5,2010, pp.12