By: Gabbi Sawyer
Black Friday and Cyber Monday were two of the biggest grossing sales days that take place annually. Stores of all categories offer significant discounts on their products storewide and online. It is a pity that these significant discounts don’t take place where we need it most…the grocery store.
Perhaps it’s just me, but with the current economy, I think I’d prefer a refrigerator and pantry stocked with food more than a cabinet filled with Bath & Body Works products and drawers filled with outfits from Fashion Nova (don’t get me wrong, I love me some scented candles).
Every nation on earth is feeling the pinch of rising costs due to inflation and supply chain issues. We in the Bahamas are especially feeling this pinch, as nearly 90% of our food items are imported. As suppliers continue to incur greater costs, it continues to be passed onto consumers.
It is true that we can reduce our standard of living to cope with rising costs, but some food items just cannot be eliminated. As the holidays approach, most Bahamian households are beginning the planning and preparation for their traditional meals. All are looking for ways to save money wherever possible. Here are a few tips to help you cut costs over the coming weeks:
1. Super Value and Quality Market Stamps.
Super Value and Quality Markets grocery stores have been offering their ‘Quality Stamps’ for about thirty years. These stamps are issued at the checkout register once a purchase of over $5.00 has been made. A customer receives one stamp per $5.00 spent; with 12 stamps being equivalent to $1.00. They are often useful in shaving a few dollars off of one’s grocery bill.
While quality stamps are not new, now is the perfect time to start setting them aside until they total a substantial amount or redeem stamps that have already been saved.
It is also more beneficial to shop in Super Value and Quality Markets on Sundays to qualify for double the amount stamps.
2. Cost Right.
Cost Right is a wholesale grocery and housewares store that offers two categories of membership, Regular ($50.00) and Gold ($100.00). Both categories give access to membership prices and each account is issued two cards. This means that you can split the cost of membership with a family member and still have access to your own card.
There are noticeable differences on various items between the regular prices and member prices. At the register, I have personally have seen a drastic difference to my final bill once the member discount has been applied.
An added bonus is that with every purchase, there is a link to a survey that once completed, enters you to win a $1,000.00 shopping spree. Two winners are selected monthly.
3. Wholesale purchases.
There are many wholesale outlets throughout the islands that do not require annual membership. It is economical to collaborate with family members, friends or even colleagues, to split the cost of goods that are cheaper when purchased in bulk (butter, flour, snacks, meat, paper towels etc.).
4. Simplify meal or host a potluck.
Christmas is by far the biggest food holiday in the Bahamas, and the dinner menu can be quite extensive. Perhaps this year, you can take a more minimalistic approach. If the focus is placed on the meat and just a few side dishes, you would be surprised at how drastically your grocery list can shrink.
If you decide that you just can’t do without that extra pan of beets, seafood stuffing and pineapple upside down cake, you can collaborate with other attendees. Have each person contribute to the meal financially or by bringing a particular dish (potluck style) to eliminate the burden of one person providing everything.
5. Shop according to monthly specials.
Most grocery stores (Super Value, Quality Markets, Solomon’s, Phoenix Supermarket etc.) offer weekly specials. Try to purchase items while they are on special even if they are not needed at the moment, especially non-perishables. A few cents saved per item can go a long way.
Most importantly, do not skimp on healthy foods just because of cost. Eliminate all unnecessary items, purchase cheaper brands where possible and set a budget and stick to it.