Groceries: Learn to Shop
Working in a grocery store I have seen a number of people come through my lines, and there are generally two categories of them, the first who know how to shop, and the second who don't have a clue what the hell they are doing. Most of the time students fit into the second category, where they walk up to the register and look at me with a surprised expression when I tell them their total.
Math can be difficult for some people, however adding up an approximate estimate of how much your groceries are going to cost shouldn't be the most difficult thing in the world. Also glancing at a flyer to see what is on sale is usually a good idea that should become common sense.
I am usually that person that looks like the dork with a list of stuff to get and a calculator adding up what my tally is as I am shopping, and while many of you may think I look silly doing this, I don't overspend. I know exactly what my total is going to be, give or take $1 when I get to the register. Therefore there are no surprises, and when I try my credit card to pay, it NEVER declines because I know exactly how much I have to spend. So sometimes keeping track can be a good thing, its less embarrassing than when you have to go through the register and try five cards to see which ones have money still left on them. Think the cashier doesn't realize why your cards are declining, or that they would believe that there must be an issue at the bank, think again - they know your'e broke.
Point is, so many students I see can't figure out how to shop properly for groceries, so here are a few tips;
1. Shop at the discount places, not the high end grocery stores - the quality is practically the same in most cases, and you will pay $1 less per product on average
2. Make a list - feel like a dork doing it, but when you are done shopping and haven't gone over budget it'll be worth it
3. Bring a calculator - if you dare to make sure you are not overspending
4. Use coupons - A little harder to be a coupon queen in Canada, but the United States has tons of coupons, and when you see one in the store that you might use pick it up and leave it in your wallet might save you a $1 or $2 sometime down the road
5. Buy sale items - something new goes on sale every week, so if you can try to buy based on what is cheap that week
6. Buy with roommates - If you won't drink a whole bag of milk by yourself, then split on it with your roommates
Grocery shopping isn't rocket science, just make a list and stick to it!