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New trends designed to get you to spend more!

For you, a trip to the grocery store, checking the list, and maybe sneaking in a treat here and there are part of the weekly routine. For the grocery store, it’s a life-and-death struggle to get you to spend more.

Keeping up with grocery trends can help you keep your food spending within healthy limits as you make informed choices about whether to spend your own hard-earned cash on food-purchase extras. Here are three grocery trends that can cost you money.

1. Grocery delivery

This is a red-hot trend right now, and it’s all about the convenience of using an app and having groceries show up a little later. Convenience costs, though.

As of this writing, Safeway charges $12.95 for grocery delivery on orders under $150. They have the option of charging a fuel surcharge for the delivery. Publix, a southeastern supermarket chain, features subscription-service Shipt delivery for $99 annually or a cancel-at-any-time option of $14 per month. After the subscription fee, delivery is free on orders over $35, with a $7 service fee for smaller orders.

Is grocery delivery worth the extra expense? Perhaps it is worth it if you have a new baby or just had surgery, but out-sourcing anything will hit your bottom line, and grocery delivery is no different.

2. In-store dining and prepared food

What your mom told you is true; you shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Frugal mom wouldn’t approve of the way upscale groceries propose to help, however. Supermarkets are experimenting with what Steven Johnson of Washington-based Foodservice Solutions calls “grocerants,” which are restaurants inside the grocery store. Skip the sit-down and eat before you go rather than dining at the grocerant. There’s a big difference in the hit to your wallet from grabbing a sandwich at home before you shop and dining at the store.

Prepared food has its place in the frugal kitchen. I find that keeping one or two easy, quick-fix meals on hand can save the day and keep me from calling for a pizza or blowing the budget by going out just because there’s nothing to eat at home. However, prepared food will cost you more as a rule than simple cooking and often it doesn’t taste as good as what you make at home. Grocery stores love it when you buy prepared food, though, because it’s a huge boost to their bottom line.

3. Snazzy snacks

We love our munchies, crunchies, and sweets. One grocery trend to watch is that of specialty snacks, including seeds, nuts, energy bars, and meat-based snacks like jerky. Randy Hofbauer of Progressive Grocer magazine notes that consumer spending on snacks rose by 2.5 percent over the last year, and specialty snacks have shown impressive growth as Americans focus on food quality, health, and holistic alternatives to the common chip.

As a consumer, your choices are increasing. Choice is good, but choosing specialty snacks over other alternatives can bump your budget. What’s the best alternative? Go with fruit as a snack or bite the bullet and pass on the snacking. Your waistline will thank you, as will your bottom line.

Take the Next Step

  • Is Amazon Prime Pantry a good deal?
  • We are always finding new ways to help you trim food costs. Visit our food & groceries section each week to get tips for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.
  • Do you struggle to get ahead financially? Then you’ll want to subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you ‘live better…for less’. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
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Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher

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The Dollar Stretcher has supplied online readers with frugal living ideas and finance education since 1996.

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