Thursday, April 18, 2019

Shopping the Perimeter Makes No Cents

One of the frugal tips I read time and time again is one way to save money on your grocery bill is to only shop the perimeter of your grocery store. 

The theory here is that the food in the middle aisles of your grocery store are expensive, highly processed, and filled with artificial ingredients. The advice is that you will save money by by not buying these foods and only shopping the perimeter. 

My problem with this advice is that if you only shop the perimeter then you are missing out on some very frugal foods that will save you money. 

Foods like oatmeal, dried beans, rice, popcorn, canned tomatoes, pasta,  etc., can only be found in the middle of the grocery store. 

These frugal foods lie at the very foundation of a frugal lifestyle. Taking these frugal foods items off the table would not be a wise financial move. 

Besides I enjoy going down the grocery store aisles to see items they have on markdown. If I didn't do that I might miss out on a good deal. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

20 comments :

  1. You make a good point. I think the premise is "fresh" is best. Many grocers in our area have bulk bins for rice, oats, popcorn, nuts, etc. in the outer perimeter. I use a ton of pasta - but it probably isn't that healthy - unless homemade. I agree, there are just some things I use a lot of and don't really want to give up.

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    1. Same here, Cheryl. I agree that fresh is best and can see shopping the perimeter for that reason. I think that "shop the perimeter" works more for the healthy viewpoint more so than the frugal one.

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  2. Belinda, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. Just because I'm in an aisle with processed foods doesn't mean I have to buy them.

    Not food but I found a great buy on my favorite cleaner for my glass cooktop. The store had the product on clearance at over half the regular price. If I hadn't been shopping the center aisles I wouldn't have found this particular bargain.

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    1. That's great about finding your cleaner half off the regular price. I found some goo gone wipes in the regular aisle this winter on markdown and I wouldn't have found them if I hadn't been in the center aisles.

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  3. I agree Belinda, as we eat so much rice, and beans. Winco has their 25 pound bag of oats on the perimeter of the store.

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    1. Interesting, Kim. I would love to shop at Winco sometime, but they are not in this area unfortunately.

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  4. We primarily shop at Costco, and stick to produce & lean meat, spices, etc. At the grocery store, I do shop around, because man of the aisles contain markdowns, as you mention.

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    1. I love looking for bargains and markdowns at the grocery store. I know some people don't like to grocery shop, but I do. I've not been to Costco, but would love to go sometime.

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  5. Very good point, Belinda! Foods like rice and beans are the backbone of some of my most frugal meals.
    Have a wonderful afternoon and evening!

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    1. THank you, Lili. I knew other people would feel that same way I did. I hope you have a great evening too.

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  6. My husband and I took that to understand shopping the perimeters was more an effort to get folks to eat more basically healthy food; i.e. less snack items. Obviously, there are non-snack items in the aisles, but many, including my own family, find themselves eating ALOT of junk food as 'in between mealtimes" fillers. Be honest...how many of us are eating 'too many oreos, chips, … CRAP' and laugh about it? I will attest I am guilty of that. Who can eat 2 or 3 oreos?! LOL.

    The aspect you bring up is good. But you have omitted the bigger problem of us and our children. We eat WAY more than our ancestors did. And that is what my husband and I took the "shop the perimeters" to mean. Not necessarily to save money: to save our HEALTH.

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    1. Yes, I think "shop the perimeter" is better geared towards being healthy and not saving money.

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  7. Just to assure you I do understand that for frugality's sake you are correct. However, the sources that we read on the 'shop the perameter' wasn't about saving money and we also don't think that's realistic to filling up. But the sources we read were about achieving a healthier eating lifestyle. Sorry...that needed to be included in my original comment.

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    1. I read articles regarding healthy living and frugality and both of them mention "shop the perimeter". Therefore, there are sources that "shop the perimeter" are being used as a way for shoppers to save money and I don't find that to be true. I think shoppers miss out on good frugal foods if they only do that.

      Here are some examples:

      https://www.thefrugaltoad.com/frugal-living/10-frugal-ways-to-save-on-food

      https://www.lifeorganizeit.com/frugal-grocery-shopping.html

      https://www.dummies.com/personal-finance/budgeting/frugal-living-for-dummies-cheat-sheet/

      I do agree with you that "shop the perimeter" works with the healthy lifestyle, but I don't believe it fits with the frugal one, which you also agree with. :)

      Delete
  8. Here are two of several articles of what the root of the message meant:
    https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10-tips-for-healthy-grocery-shopping#1

    https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/grocery-store-tour-shopping-the-perimeter

    I'm sorry but I have a problem with bloggers who take an article and twist it to fit a different agenda, i.e. saving money.

    Now I have no idea if I'll even see my comments here, sadly. But I hope your readers google 'shop the perimeter'. They will see that the intent was never about 'saving cents'. I respectfully understand if my comments aren't approved but you have done the authors of the two links a disservice. I won't be back. God bless, seriously. I am a sister in Christ. I wish you well.

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    1. If you read in the comment section you'll find that I mentioned this was more geared towards healthy living and not frugal living. Now I wish I had included it in my blog post. I can provide you with multiple links to articles by frugal bloggers who tell readers to shop the perimeter and they are doing them a disservice. Even with healthy living, foods like brown rice and beans, which are both healthy, are found in the center aisles.

      I'm sorry you won't be back.

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  9. I agree wholeheartedly! The perimeter frugal aisle mantra is one of my big pet peeves in the frugality world.

    The bulk of my shopping is perimeter because of my food allergies. I am always perplexed why anyone thinks this perimeter thing is frugal? I can see with my own eyes it's not.

    Stores have gotten wind of this perimeter trick and now stock the perimeter's with very expensive gourmet food. Have you seen the deli section in the middle of produce? The liquor section next to meat?

    I don't go down every aisle of my stores. Lot of those items I can not use. I do have my aisles I always go down no matter what. Those aisles are full of frugal treasures and nutritious food. Even more so than perimeter.

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    1. Excellent examples, Safyne. I have seen those gourmet deli sections in the middle of the produce aisle. I'm glad you agree with me. It does a person a disservice when you tell them to shop the perimeter of the store when you know they are trying to be frugal and so many good and healthy frugal foods are located in the middle of the store.

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  10. I shop the whole store too. I don't want to miss out on any specials. Plus it helps me get my steps in.

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    1. That's a great way to look at it, Kim. Bailey usually always gets her 10,000 steps in each day.

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