Sunday, December 11, 2011

How To Save Money on Groceries - Or Not

When I was pregnant with my son, we took a couple of financial blows.  I had started a new job less than a month after we found out I was pregnant.  Our expectations of what would happen when I was out on leave changed a few times over the following months.  I was offered some misinformation from my human resources department and also felt I was a little deceived by the company that offers short term disability coverage.  Long story short.  I was out of work for 12 weeks and got paid only the vacation and sick time I had accrued since beginning my employment with the company 7 months earlier, so not much.

I knew we were going to have to stretch our dollars and one way that I cut some financial corners was by strictly budgeting for groceries, writing and following a list, and by buying the store brand label.  This served us well and we made it through with that, and also a few grocery store gift cards I had asked for as Christmas gifts.

After a while of grocery shopping in this fashion, and being back at work I began to slack a little.  And one day I came across an article. which of course now that I have the presence of mind to share it, I can't find it.. Sorry.

Anyhow, what is important is what should have been obvious all along and what I took from what I read.  Grocery store generics of brand name items ARE NOT the same.  At least not all of them.   You may have noticed a slight difference sometimes, or maybe not, but the bottom line is that it is not always the same exact thing in a different package.  I'll be honest, I seriously believed that it was literally the same exact thing for as long as I have been shopping.  Truth is these things are made by separate companies in order to be similar to the name brands and are simply placed beside those well known items which in turn gives them free advertising.  Grocery stores make HUGE profits because all the big brands pay for TV commercials but then someone looking to save a few bucks buys the one next to it anyway, so maybe the product sold for a little bit less but the grocery store rakes in all the money without paying for ads.  It's genius really.

Shortly after I read this currently-unable-to-locate article I was grocery shopping and happened to be looking for breakfast bars.  Since my son began eating table food, I have tried to keep things as wholesome as possible.  So as I eyed the Nutri-grain bars and the strategically placed store brand beside, I swept the boxes into my arms to inspect the label.  It was an easy choice as the Nutri-grain bars contained more favorable ingredients.

I have to say that this entire issue would have been pretty irrelevant at the time when we were really trying to save.  But when things eased up a bit, I had to really loosen up the purse strings a little bit.  I still purchase  many items in the brand that our grocery store offers when the prices are better, but I always check the labels.  If you weren't before, I hope you will now!


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