Gas prices are dramatically affecting food prices. I talked to the checker at my local supermarket. I asked, “Is it my imagination or are cereal boxes getting smaller?” She said the store had just closed out a line of larger sized boxes and brought in the smaller sizes to replace them. I asked if the cost of gas was driving this change and she said “Yes!’
She is the store price checker and has been working extra hard marking-up prices. Manufacturers don’t want to absorb the extra shipping costs, so they pass the cost on to consumers. One of their tricks is to use smaller packages and then offer special pricing if you buy 5 or 6 items.
I’ve noticed that I am no longer getting out of the store on budget. Here are a few things I have been doing to stretch my money further:
1) Combine errands. To save gas, I do errands on one day. I try to shop as close to home as possible and try to pick a mall that has several stores in close proximity to each other.
2) Shop from a list. This helps me remember what I need, but it also keeps me from making a lot of impulse purchases.
3) Buy store brands. This is a new concept for me. I’ve tried several different products. Sugar, flour, nuts and multigrain bars all pass the taste test. Although there are other items, like cereal, that my family doesn’t like as well.
4) Avoid excess packaging. This helps the environment and saves money! I don’t buy water bottles. I filter it at home. I also watch the price per ounce. Our local store offered a 28 ounce box of graham crackers for $4.65. This was sitting next to two 14 ounce boxes for the sale price of 2 for $6.00 . My son, the junior consumer, alerted me to that one!