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Are you faced with a sudden loss of income? Going grocery shopping will seem like a real challenge and you may worry you won't be able to make ends meet. Adjusting your spending habits may make your money go a lot further. Here are some tips to get started.
Don't Forget The Veg
In Europe, in the country where I live and in many others, going to the farmers' market to stock up on fresh and nutritious vegetables is the cheapest option for the budget-conscious consumer. A food pyramid in which veg makes up the majority of your diet is healthy as well as affordable. Not so in the United States. Research shows that Americans eat more cheaply than anyone else the world, only spending a little over nine percent of their disposable income on nutrition. Unfortunately, spending less on food does not translate to eating healthier meals, because fast foods and processed foods tend to be the cheaper options.
People living on a tight budget certainly have to cut corners somewhere — organic foods will almost certainly fail to make your priority list, because actually eating enough is more important than eating all-natural produce. Still, avoid the temptation to make fatty and sugary processed foods the foundation of your diet. Planning your vegetable spending first is one way to do this.
Buy Store Brands Or Go To Cheaper Stores
Research from the Private Label Manufacturers Association shows that consumers can save as much as 33 percent on their groceries if they commit to buying store brands. If you have not been buying store-brand products yet, making the move can seriously benefit your wallet. Four in 10 Americans have already made the decision to benefit from the price of store-brand products. Many are extremely happy with the quality, and some say the quality exceeds that of the brand name products they used before.
What's more, store brands no longer necessarily represent a sub-standard quality that is in the stores only for those who can't afford something better. Indeed, store-brand products make the store more money, even though they are sold at lower prices. This is both because stores do not conduct expensive (or in fact any) marketing campaigns to boost the sales of the products: the lower price speaks louder than any advertising could. Store-brands also build consumer loyalty, so it is certainly in the manufacturer's interest to ensure the quality of these items.
You can find out more about products you are considering buying by Googling them, but it will also simply take some experimentation to figure out what you do and don't enjoy eating.
On a related note, frequenting discount shops like Aldi and Lidl can really bring your expenses down. Lidl is known for its excellent-quality veg and also offers some organic options, while Aldi has good cheese and dairy products. Lidl has special themed offers, meaning you will be exposed to a wide variety of different products.