I “joked” earlier that every time I get a Hello Fresh sponsorship offer, I’d instead share an inexpensive recipe or tip for saving money on groceries, since Hello Fresh likes to pretend it’s cheaper than grocery shopping. (For the record, if you think the cost of Hello Fresh or other similar services is worth it for not having to plan meals or go shopping as often, that’s fine; I’m mostly taking issue with their “cheaper than shopping” claim.)
Well I woke up to a sponsorship offer so today I’m sharing a tip. Recipes are fine, and we’ll get to that soon I’m sure, but recipes won’t help if you’re not shopping right, will they?
Today’s tip: Stock up with Sales
Wait doesn’t stocking up spend more?
Up front, yes. But it’ll save you in the long term.
To give an example, my local market had an amazing deal on chicken. Half the price it usually is… but only if you buy 40 pounds worth. It was kind of expensive, but we went ahead and did it. Now I know not everyone’s going to have a freezer big enough to hold 40 pounds of chicken (nor would I recommend buying that much if you live alone), this is just an example.
The point is, if something goes on sale that you normally use (don’t buy it just because it’s on sale, make sure you’re actually going to use it), don’t be afraid to stock up on it a bit. If it’s super cheap and you’re sure you can use it before it goes bad, buy a bunch of it.
That part is important. I know people who buy tons of something because it’s cheap, but never use it. If you stock up on something, use it. Otherwise you’ve wasted your money. Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale, buy things you’d normally get when they’re on sale, and buy a lot if it’s much cheaper than usual.
This goes especially well for things like rice and pasta, which take longer to go bad. Of course don’t buy bulk veggies or fruit, they go bad too quickly, unless you plan on freezing or otherwise preserving them (but make sure the cost makes sense if you’re thinking about doing this). This is for things that are either shelf-stable or can be frozen. Use your best judgement when buying things to stock up on; you don’t want a pantry full of nothing but broth. If you already have a bunch of something, you’re not obligated to buy more of it next time it’s on sale.
As a side note, pay attention to the prices of things you normally buy. You’d be amazed how often things go on “sale” but don’t actually, or are only barely cheaper than normal (Sale prices of 1-5% off aren’t uncommon). Shopping for just about anything is something of a mind game. Stores will knock a few cents off to get you to buy something (particularly wily stores will mark something with a sale tag that’s regular price), so be careful.
So tl;dr: Shop sales for things you normally buy. If it’s significantly cheaper than usual, stock up. Make sure you don’t buy more than you can use before it goes bad.