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Saving Money on Food & Drink

Chemain Evans -- In any economy, saving money on food and water doesn't require going on a starvation diet. It just requires a little up-front planning. You know the saying: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Make planning a habit and watch the savings rack up.

Have you ever just about died of a heart attack at the checkstand of your local grocery store? It seems like the price of food and beverages keeps escalating, with no end in sight. Higher transportation costs (especially fuel) are only one of the many factors have significantly impacted the price of goods at your local store. This article will discuss some of the ways you can cut back your expenses on purchased food and water.

Food Purchased at Markets

You can save hundreds of dollars a year by shopping at the lower-priced food stores. Higher-end grocery stores may have a nicer, brighter, more spacious shopping area, but you are paying for that in the form of higher prices. Some grocery chains offer a "preferred" customer card, supposedly to give you the best price over the "non-preferred, non-cardholding" customers. You would probably be unwise to shop at these stores without such a card (although it may be necessary when traveling, etc.), but you would be even more wise to look elsewhere. Sometimes that "preferred" customer price is higher than the regular price at the store just down the street. Resist that urge to shop at the convenience store on your way home; you pay for that convenience in the form of often significantly higher prices.

Shop with a list!

This little bit of planning can also save you hundreds of dollars annually. How many times have you gone to the store just for milk (that you forgot to buy earlier in the week when you were there) and come home with $30 or more worth of groceries? Grocery stores are purposely designed to keep you in the store as long as possible; for example, on your way to the back of the store to get milk (even this is on purpose), you pass by hundreds of products and colorful displays, not to mention delicious smells enticing you in their direction. And, oh what luck! There is a cookie display right next to the milk. Even the music over the loudspeaker has been specifically chosen based on market analysis of what age brackets of shoppers shop at what times of the day (and thus what kind of music they like). Make out a list and stick to it!

As with all other things, comparison shop.

You can save hundreds of dollars a year by comparing price-per-ounce or other unit prices on shelf labels. Stock up on those items with low per-unit costs. Store brands are often just as good or better than national brands, at sometimes almost half the cost! Try some; you probably will be pleasantly surprised.

Water

When you go out to eat, don't buy a drink. Ask for water instead. You probably won't notice the difference (if the food is good enough) and you will be drinking a healthy alternative to soda or alcohol.

Keep a water bottle near you at all times. When you start feeling hungry or thirsty drink some water instead of heading for the vending machine or that stash of candy bars in your desk. Many times we feel hungry when we are instead thirsty. Satisfy the thirst first! You will save money and improve your health.

If you prefer drinking bottled water, look into purchasing a water purifier or purification system. Over the long run it may be much cheaper than purchasing bottled water. In addition, a good filtration system could improve your health, considering all the microbes and chemicals found in the water coming out of the tap!

Saving money on food and water doesn't require that you go on a starvation diet. It just requires a little up-front planning. You know the saying: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Make planning a habit and watch the savings rack up.

Chemain Evans is a quality control specialist for Simple Joe, Inc., makers of the popular Simple Joe's Expense Tracker PC software. Expense Tracker is a quick and simple way to keep track of your expenses and stay within your budget. Expense Tracker is ideal for tracking personal, business, home, and club expenses. Visit Simple Joe at www.simplejoe.com for more information.

© 2009 Simple Joe

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