by Melesha Bailey,
UniteNews Contributing Writer
Springfield, MO— Everyone eats. Whether you eat out or cook, eventually, you have to brave the aisles of a grocery store, and with the price of food these days, it can be frustrating. Food prices have increased by 7.9% as prices fall, but not for food. It’s a pain point for most households, with seniors getting hit especially hard. According to a CBS News survey, 63% rated food cost as the spending category that increased the fastest in homes. Lower-income families feel the brunt of the rise in food costs as they stretch their dollars to feed their families.
Healthy and affordable food is a basic need for survival. Unfortunately, unhealthy food costs less, and when making buying decisions, many are perplexed about eating for health or survival. For many, grocery shopping is incredibly overwhelming. Around every corner, the lure of thousands of products is well-planned. You must know the tricks of food manufacturers to get you to purchase. Learning to read food labels is vital because many can be misleading. Then there’s the debate about organic or non-organic, cage-free, pasture-raised, grass-fed, no-antibiotics, no hormones, fresh, or frozen. It can be very confusing. (You can learn more in my next blog post).
We must understand what’s in our food and how it can affect our health when we head to the grocery store. Armed with this knowledge is essential because all food is not created equal; the more information you have, the better it will be for your wallet and health.
Before heading to the store, check your refrigerator and cabinets. With outrageous food costs, you don’t want to buy something you don’t need. Don’t be tricked into buying the 10 for $10 offers that many stores use to sell low-cost food with little to no nutritional value. These dangerous foods are usually highly processed with salt, sugar, trans fats, and corn and have been on the shelves for a long time. Some stores receive a discount to buy in bulk and push those items on the consumer.
Grocery shopping can be a fun experience if you come locked and loaded and know what you need and don’t need (junk food) before you head to the store. Planning is vital, make a list, and stick to it to help save money and only get what’s essential. Be methodical about shopping, know the layout of your store and stick to the areas you need to complete your shopping list.
Do you know that grocery stores are designed to keep you shopping as long as possible? All essential items (milk, bread, produce) are on the extreme corners of the store. The most expensive products and kid’s products are at eye level. Items on display at the end of aisles are usually not on sale. Once you know these facts, plan your shopping list according to the store’s layout and save time and money by avoiding impulse buys.
Eat before you enter the store, wear comfortable shoes, bring your list, and be prepared to take your time so that you can read labels and make informed buying decisions that will affect your health. That will make you a savvy shopper and save money. It’s a win-win!