Are you paying twice as much for groceries as you should? It’s easier than you think to cut your bill in half. Here’s how one shopper does it:
- Shop once a month. This demands discipline, organisation and the ability to think and plan ahead, and it keeps you from making wasteful ‘impulse’ purchases. I have a large refrigerator (with no freezer) and a separate chest freezer and storage area with shelves in the garage. Fresh fruits and vegetables will easily last throughout the month if kept sealed and the refrigerator temperature is set to cold. I use a refrigerator thermometer and keep the temp set at 34 degrees F.
- Go prepared. I take a spreadsheet that I developed which shows exactly what items I’m going to purchase at each of the two stores where I shop. My list is generated based on historic purchases, plus any changes I want to make for the current trip and allows me to compare prices right on the spot. If you just grab stuff off the shelf as you go by, your plan to save money is doomed from the start.
- Know your ingredients. If the products you choose are loaded with chemicals and empty calories, what are you really getting for your money? Answer: You’re getting fat, stupid, unhealthy and broke!
- Pay attention to the ‘Unit Cost’. If you can buy 20 ounces of cereal for $3 or 35 ounces for $5.85, which is the best deal? Many grocery items have the ‘unit price’ posted right on the shelf label, but for those that don’t, you’ll need the calculator on your phone or pocket calculator to figure it out. There’s nothing more important than knowing the unit price.
- Stay away from prepared meals. They’re expensive and usually loaded with stuff your body doesn’t need.
- Canned goods are cheap and contain relatively healthy ingredients. Stock up and use them. There are tons of excellent recipes online if you need a little help.
- Know your products. Many so called ‘bargain brands’ (dish soaps, laundry detergents, shampoos, condiments, etc.) are watered down and offer poor value compared to concentrated brands. Read labels carefully and pay attention as you use them.
- Shop online, but take the time to learn your way around. 20% of my grocery and virtually 100% of pharmacy type purchases are now made online. I use eBay and AliExpress mostly. I’ve found Amazon too expensive and don’t appreciate their efforts to make real comparison shopping extremely difficult.
- Never shop in Laurinburg/Scotland County. Prices here are brain damaging budget busters. No exceptions, not even Wal-Mart.
- Shop in Rockingham. It’s well worth the trip. I go to Aldi first because they are the least expensive by far and purchase most stuff there. I take my own reusable boxes which makes checkout a snap. I would go to Lidl (which is right next door to Aldi) second, but I’ve learned not to bother. They’re cheap but carry too much esoteric stuff I don’t need which just wastes my time. I go to Wal-Mart last to pick up the few items that Aldi doesn’t stock. Yes, Wal-Mart’s Rockingham prices are lower than in Laurinburg, but they still can’t compete with Aldi.
- Join Costco Wholesale (Charlotte) and buy stuff in bulk. Costco offers great values on canned goods, condiments, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, dish soap, etc., which are expensive at most grocery stores. I stock up there once a year.
- Remember, nobody looks out for your interests and well being better than YOU.
I’m saving thousands of dollars, eating healthier and feeling better than ever. Here’s what got me started:
Scotland County, North Carolina business owners are toughing it out, but negative population demographics, exploding property taxes, government subsidized competition, the Internet and neighbouring counties willing to offer better services at lower prices are stiff headwinds to buck.
Even local used car dealers, which had been considered largely immune from current trends, are experiencing erosion as buyers increasingly migrate online (in some cases to dealers hundreds of miles away) for the largest selection, best pricing and lowest cost financing. Online dealers generally guarantee their vehicles to be exactly as advertised and often offer free delivery right to your door. You never have to visit the dealer or haggle with a salesperson.This trend, while still in its infancy, is moving fast and is about to shake things up big time.
Our family used to spend over $2,000 every month shopping in Scotland County. Today, we don’t spend a dime. I haven’t shopped in the county for over two years now because I found many local businesses are simply not doing their best to help customers, themselves or their community.
Despite Laurinburg citizens being up in arms over the city spending millions of dollars it didn’t have on an extravagant new ‘Colonial Williamsburg’ style Municipal Complex, most businesses chose to remain silent as this disaster played out. The money squandered on this worthless boondoggle meant already hard pressed customers would now have even less money in their pockets to spend at local business for the next forty years while this projects debt is being paid off. Unfortunately, none of this seemed to matter to the local business community.
If the business community doesn’t care about its customers, let alone itself, why should we care about them? If the business community thinks higher property taxes, higher sales taxes and more taxpayer funded (but privately owned) ‘Art Parks’ and art studios with trendy coffee shops are going to turn things around, they are truly delusional.
Rotten apples spoil the entire barrel. Our family used to do business with numerous small mom & pop businesses in Laurinburg. One example, was the Machine Shop. They were absolutely great. Their pricing was fair, they were creative, hard working, on time and never said No to any project we brought them. Unfortunately, once we stopped shopping in Scotland County, it no longer made sense to travel there and we needed to find a new machine shop in Rockingham. We did, and while this was great for us, it meant that another good Laurinburg business lost our trade forever. This is true for many other Laurinburg small businesses.
This is the hidden cost of local business leaders standing by as customers are abused and bled out by high taxes, a government operated Chamber of Commerce and a parasitic Ruling Elite bent on feathering their own nests.
We now save a solid 50% on our grocery bill alone by shopping outside Scotland County. This allows us to have a nice, relaxing sit down lunch for free in Rockingham while still leaving plenty of money in our pockets for other things. Who said there was no free lunch?
Things are never going back to the good ole days when local Laurinburg businesses had customers by the Gucchi’s, and it’s going to get even tougher for those who refuse to understand what’s happening and adapt. Scotland County shoppers now have plenty of options to get virtually everything they want and need for less from neighbouring counties and online.
CCN pays close attention to rapidly changing economic, social and political trends. Here’s a video from one of our favourite financial gurus Gordon T. Long. We hope you find it helpful.
Best wishes on your money saving adventure!
Gordon T. Long
Scotland County North Carolina Property Taxes on the Rise Federal Employee Pay & Benefits Scotland County EDC – Blood Sucking Vampire?
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