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Smart Grocery Shopping: How to Save Big on Your Grocery Bill in 2023

Are you feeling the pinch of rising grocery prices? You're not alone. In today's unpredictable economy, keeping your grocery bill in check has become more challenging than ever. But fear not! Larry and Hope from "Under the Median" are here to share their savvy grocery shopping hacks that can help you save money without sacrificing the quality of your meals. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve deep into their strategies to help you make the most out of every grocery run in 2023.

Section 1: The One-Fifth Method - A Simple Yet Powerful Budgeting Trick

The Basics of the One-Fifth Method

One of the fundamental strategies that Larry and Hope swear by is the "One-Fifth Method." It's a straightforward, easy-to-follow budgeting trick that can make a significant difference in your grocery expenses. Here's how it works:

Divide Your Budget: Take your entire grocery budget and divide it into fifths. For instance, if your budget is $500, set aside one-fifth, which is 20%, for stocking up on great deals.

Eliminate Overspending Anxiety: With 20% reserved for stocking up, you can confidently take advantage of fantastic markdowns without worrying about blowing your budget.

Equally Distribute the Rest: The remaining 80% can be divided equally among the four weeks of the month, ensuring you have a consistent spending plan.

Let's illustrate this method with a hypothetical $500 grocery budget:

  • Stocking up: $100 (20%)
  • Weekly budget: $100 (4 x $100 = $400)

By following the One-Fifth Method, you can maintain control over your grocery spending while taking advantage of discounts and promotions.

Benefits of the One-Fifth Method

Larry and Hope have found this method incredibly effective for several reasons:

Financial Peace of Mind: Knowing you have a dedicated portion for stocking up eases the stress of seizing great deals.

Consistency: Equally dividing the rest of the budget ensures that you have a steady financial plan throughout the month.

Reduced Food Waste: Planning ahead helps prevent food from going to waste, which is a common issue in many households.

Efficient Meal Planning: The method encourages you to create a weekly menu plan, making meal preparation more organized and efficient.

Section 2: The Power of a Shopping List

The Importance of a Shopping List

Have you ever wandered through a grocery store without a shopping list? It's a common mistake that can lead to impulse purchases and overspending. Larry and Hope emphasize the significance of creating a shopping list before setting foot in the store.

Taking It to the Next Level

But they don't stop there. They introduce a pro-level tip—conducting an inventory of perishable foods. This game-changing technique can significantly impact your grocery budget by reducing food waste. Here's how it works:

Prioritized List: Create a weekly prioritized list of perishable foods. Items nearing expiration go to the top of the list, ensuring they get used first.

Menu Planning: This list helps you plan meals around the perishable items you already have at home, reducing the need for additional purchases.

With this approach, you'll find yourself creating a substantial portion of your weekly menu plan before even stepping into the grocery store.

Section 3: The Art of Meal Planning

Topical Menu Planning

Larry and Hope's meal planning approach takes a unique twist with what they call "topical menu planning." Instead of the traditional days-of-the-week plan, they categorize meals into themes:

  • Four main dishes
  • A couple of soups
  • A few sides (maybe a salad or two)
  • Occasional desserts

This approach allows for flexibility while ensuring you have enough meals to last the entire week, thanks to planned leftovers.

Access Their Menu Planning Resources

If you're intrigued by their meal planning method, Larry and Hope offer their menu plans and grocery store shopping lists. You can easily access these valuable resources to streamline your grocery shopping and meal preparation.

Section 4: Harnessing the Power of Store Apps

The Store App Advantage

In the digital age, store apps have become indispensable tools for savvy shoppers. Larry and Hope recommend downloading your store's app for a variety of benefits:

Digital Coupons: Add coupons to your shopper card directly from the app, even while in the store.

Price Checks: Verify prices for items using the app's barcode scanner to ensure you're getting the best deal.

Track Rewards: Monitor your gas points and cashback offers conveniently through the app.

But that's not all; Larry and Hope introduce a fantastic rewards app, Fetch, which offers a unique twist on saving money.

Introducing Fetch - Your Ultimate Rewards App

Fetch is a free and user-friendly rewards app that stands out in the crowded market. The app's standout feature? You earn rewards for every purchase, whether it's from a physical or e-receipt.

Here's how Fetch works:

Snap Receipts: After each shopping trip, simply snap a photo of your receipt using the app.

Earn Points: For every receipt, you earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards from popular retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, and Sam's Club.

Partner Brands: Keep an eye out for partner brands within the app; shopping with them can earn you even more points.

Larry and Hope share a personal anecdote of renewing their Sam's Club membership with a gift card earned through Fetch. It's proof that every shopping trip can help you save and earn.

Section 5: Scoring Big with Lost Leaders and Markdowns

What Are Lost Leaders?

Lost leaders are items that stores put on sale, often below their cost. While the store incurs a loss, savvy shoppers like you gain tremendous value. These deals are usually featured prominently in the weekly store flyers.

However, Larry and Hope make an interesting observation about Kroger stores in their area—they've discontinued physical flyers. It's now more critical than ever to have the store's app on your phone to access these vital sale details.

The Markdown Shark's Guide

Larry humorously refers to Hope as the "markdown shark" because she has an uncanny knack for finding markdowns. These markdowns aren't confined to one section of the store; they can appear almost anywhere. Here's where you should look:

Produce Section: Look for colorful markdown tags that signal discounts.

Dairy Section: Even if you're plant-based, don't skip this section; you'll find markdowns on plant-based dairy alternatives.

Meat Section: Check for markdowns on both meat and plant-based meat substitutes.

General Merchandise: Explore the store's "markdown islands" for unique finds.

Frozen Foods: Keep an eye out for special price tags that indicate markdowns in this section.

Bakery: Sometimes, you'll discover discounted bread hiding in shopping baskets.

Manager Specials: Be on the lookout for random carts filled with manager specials offering incredible deals.

Larry and Hope's shopping philosophy is like a treasure hunt—you never know what fantastic bargains you might uncover.

A Frozen Food Reality Check

While exploring the frozen food section, Larry provides an eye-opening example. He compares the cost of an 8-ounce bowl of pre-packaged rice and beans to the cost of purchasing one pound each of rice and black beans separately. The result? Making the dish from scratch costs significantly less. Larry demonstrates the size difference between the packaged meal and the ingredients, highlighting the potential savings of cooking from scratch.

Conclusion: Navigating Grocery Shopping in 2023

Navigating the world of grocery shopping in 2023 may seem daunting, given the rising prices and evolving retail landscape. However, armed with the insights and strategies shared by Larry and Hope from "Under the Median," you can take control of your grocery budget and make every dollar count.

Remember these key takeaways:

Embrace the "One-Fifth Method" to budget effectively and take advantage of great deals without overspending.

  1. Always create a shopping list to stay focused and avoid impulse purchases.
  2. Conduct a weekly inventory of perishable foods to minimize food waste and plan meals efficiently.
  3. Explore the world of topical menu planning to simplify meal preparation and reduce grocery costs.
  4. Maximize the benefits of store apps by utilizing digital coupons, price checks, and reward tracking.
  5. Don't miss out on lost leaders, markdowns, and manager specials scattered throughout the store—they can lead to significant savings.
  6. Consider making meals from scratch rather than opting for pre-packaged convenience, as it can be more cost-effective.

As you embark on your next grocery shopping adventure, keep these strategies in mind. By implementing these tips and tricks, you can not only navigate the challenges of 2023 but also enjoy delicious meals while keeping your budget intact.

So, what are you waiting for? It's time to become a savvy grocery shopper and make 2023 a year of savings and culinary delights. Happy shopping!

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