Frugal Living 
18
comments

Supermarket Psychology (and a few insider tricks)

View from inside a supermarket shopping cartThe Economist is known for its deep analysis and heavy topics, but I found this article about supermarkets and the science of shopping . The first time I heard about supermarket psychology was when someone explained to me that the most appealing products were always shown at eye level. When the product is placed at eye level, you are more prone to picking it up and subsequently buying it. That’s only the beginning.

If there’s one lesson to be learned after reading this article, it’s that supermarkets are one big maze and we’re the rats running through them.

(Click to continue reading…)


 Frugal Living 
21
comments

5 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill

Ghirardelli Pancake StackIn today’s economy, it seems everyone is looking for ways to cut back. The problem is, most people don’t know where to start. If you’re looking to cut back, I suggest starting in the kitchen. There are a multitude of ways to save money in the kitchen, and you can tailor how you cut your food budget so it doesn’t impact your lifestyle.

If you eat a lot of convenience foods, you can save time and money by doubling each recipe you cook and freezing half for those busy (or tired) nights. If you are attached to eating meat with every meal, focus on cutting your use of paper products or expensive side dishes. You can save a lot of money by making small changes. You put in minimal effort and get maximum savings! Don’t believe me? Here are 5 things I do to save money in the kitchen, and my family doesn’t even notice. (shhhh! don’t say a word!)

(Click to continue reading…)


 Frugal Living 
6
comments

MSN’s $100 / Week Food Bill Challenge

Supermarket Grocer Produce StandMelinda Fulmer and her family of four went from a $250/wk grocery bill down to a $105.03 bill when they tried to spend only $100 a week on food. They had some really good lessons learned from their little test, as well some advice if you’re looking to do the same, but there were a few thoughts I had after reading the article that they didn’t mention.

Here are some lessons I learned from her challenge:

  • It doesn’t hurt to try. $100 a week for four amounts to $1.19 per meal per person. Anyone with an elementary grasp of math knows that $1.19 is not a lot and you might be tempted to give up right there. For Melinda and her family, that was less than half of what they normally spent. They were able to do it, why can’t you?
  • They saved $150 that week. She was able to get within spitting distance of $100 a week but it was clear that wasn’t sustainable week after week, given her ground rules. If you were to take those away, perhaps she could’ve by growing some of her own vegetables and shopping at bulk discount stores. However, she saved $150 that week and that’s something she could do every month – that’s a savings of $1,800 a year. Granted, it does simply shift some expenses from a $100/wk to a $250/wk, but you still would save a large percentage of that $1,800 a year.
  • $100/wk is too restricting, a rolling monthly limit makes more sense. In this experiment, they went with an artificial $100/week limit when food often lasts longer than that. If you truly wanted to save money, using a rolling four week limit of $400 is probably more realistic than a weekly limit. They made mention of this in the later parts of the article when discussing stockpiling.
  • Use canned goods when the entree isn’t a single piece of something. I wasn’t sure how to title this lesson but it refers to the idea of using canned fish or chicken if the fish or chicken isn’t the headline entree, as in a casserole. It’d be tough to use canned chicken or tuna if you just wanted to prepare a piece of the stuff, but if you are integrating it into a dish then it’s not a bad idea.

If you’re seriously considering doing this, The Hill Billy Housewife has two menus that can provide much needed inspiration. The first is her $45 menu, which is a weekly menu of Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks that will cost you $45 a week. The list includes a scheduled menu, along with nutritional information, as well as a full shopping list. The menu doesn’t assume you have something already, which makes it great, and the nutritional information is a great touch. There is also a $70 version.

The menu doesn’t strike me as something you can eat every since week for a year, but it can be a good source of inspiration if you’re looking to trim from your food budget. Also, the prices were gathered in Feb 2006 so it’s likely a little pricer than $45 or $70 week now.

(Photo: benjaminkrause)


 Credit 
9
comments

5% Cash Back at Supermarkets & Gas Stations

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Rewards CardThis offer has expired.

Well well, it looks like we finally have the return of a long lost cash back favorite from a year or two ago… the coveted 5% cashback on supermarkets, drug stores and gas stations credit card in the form of the Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards card. (if that’s not your thing, here’s my list of the best cash back credit cards)

A few years ago, there were a dozen of these types of cards. In the last year, that number dropped to zero. Those that did exist only offered it on gasoline and imposed ridiculously low limits such as the Discover Open Road card (gives 5% on gasoline but only up to $5 a month!). Back in the heyday, each were vying for “share of wallet,” the industry term for how much of your spending gets put on their card. They often earn a couple percentage points per transaction so the hope is that you use the card for more than the 5% categories, which is a loss leader for them (this ignores the finance charges, fees, and other charges they impose for a variety of reasons).

Looks like they’re making a come back with the Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards card is leading the way.

Any catches? Yes, there are a few. Like all Citi cards, the cashback now comes in the form of ThankYou Network points rather than straight up cash. Those with student loans can convert the points into “cash,” making it a truly 5% cashback card. If you don’t have student loans, you’ll have to take it in the form of gift cards to get a full percentage value. You can always sell the gift cards and still get close to 5% cashback in the worst case.

Another catch is that the 5% promotion is for the first 12 months. I normally don’t like promotional offers (with the exception of when the Citi CashReturns had 5% cashback on everything) but right now this is the only card that offers 5% on the “everyday shopping” category (which includes supermarket, drug stores and gas stations). There are a couple alternatives if you’re looking for a gas cashback credit card, but none exist (to my knowledge) for supermarkets.

Finally, the only limit on cashback is an annual limit of 75,000 ThankYou points – it’s unlikely you will reach that limit ($15,000 in spending in the 5% categories!).

Some other features that may be of interest: 12 month 0% APY balance transfer, no annual fee, 1% cash back on everything else. The 12 month 0% APY balance transfer is nice but it has a balance transfer fee of 5%, I’d pass on that. The no annual fee is standard and the 1% cashback on everything else is also pretty standard.

Overall, I think this card is a good option if you’re looking for a way to shave 5% off your supermarket and gas bills.

Blue Cash from American Express. The Blue Cash from American Express offers 5% cashback at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations with no limit whatsoever. The card also offers a 0% balance transfer for 12 months with a 3% transfer fee capped at $99.


Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2014 by www.Bargaineering.com. All rights reserved.