Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cut Your Grocery Bill by 5% ~ 20% or More

All over the world, groceries are getting really expensive. If you are living in Tokyo, then you know just how expensive groceries are and always have been! Well, right now, whether you live in Tokyo or not, I am going to show you how you can cut your grocery bill by 5% ~ 10% - or more - quite simply merely by being more efficient with the use of your time.

There is an OK Store nearby my house. OK Store is a large grocery supermarket chain store in the Tokyo area. It is my favorite place to shop. I first wrote about OK Store in a photo blog that appeared on Lew Rockwell in 2004. There are several huge stores that I have seen like OK Store. They remind me of a typical American-style grocery store. 

But OK Store is the best for quality and price. That's why is is packed most of the time.

If you go to OK Store at the times most people who go there do, you will encounter huge crowds and wait in a line of cars to get a parking space. I think some people must wait for more than an hour in their cars waiting just to get a parking space.

I think it is madness to go to OK Store after 9:00 am on a weekend. The cars are lined up for a half kilometer - sometimes more - just to get into the parking lot!

Once inside the store, if you go on a weekend or in the evenings, you can bet that the store is packed and there are people lined up ten deep or more waiting to get to a cash register. Go at that time and be sure that it's going to cost you an hour of time just to buy a few basics.

With leisure time at a premium, you really have to wonder what people are thinking when they willingly spend 2 to 4 hours a weekend - every weekend - just to buy groceries.

I never do that. Time is money. I never wait to get into OK Store and I always get my groceries at 5% discount or more. I figure I cut my grocery bill by 10% a month by following the plan I am going to tell you about today.

How do I do this? I go to the store right at opening time during the week. I never wait in line to park and I never wait in line to check out. I can fill up my shopping cart full and be in and out of that store in 20 minutes. Of course, I know where everything is too.

I have been to that store during rush time in the past. Never again. People were lined up 25 carts deep waiting for the cashiers. It was a madhouse. I wound up walking out without buying anything. 

OK Store opens at 8:30 am. I show up at 8:25 and walk right in. I get the pick of the discounted goods and no hassles. 

If you live in Tokyo then I recommend that you be smart too. Remember that time is money. Find out when your favorite store opens up in the morning and be one of the first ones in the door. You'll save time and money.

This also works in the west if your store is not open 24 hours a day. If your store is like OK Store (open 8:30 am ~ 10 pm or so), then they will stock the shelves early in the morning with the items that didn't sell out the previous day and discount them heavily as they must sell them quickly. This is the time to shop. 

At opening time, the good that weren't sold the day before are out on the shelves first and discounted to go quickly. And quickly they go! By 9:00 ~ 9:30 in the morning, all this heavily discounted stuff is already sold out. They have been bought by restaurant owners and by other smart shoppers who have figured out that shopping early saves time and money.

I always see the same smart people who shop early. They are the ones who get the best produce and groceries at the best price - just like I do. 

Just to show you how much things are discounted every morning, I took these photos of OK Store yesterday morning. I was probably only one of twenty or so other customers in the entire store. It's always like that when I go there. Of course there were many more items that were discounted. I didn't bother to take their photos.

But don't believe just my word for it. They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Here's photographic proof of how much you can save by being early (and OK Store is the cheapest store around even before these discounts!):

Racks of beef all at 5% off

5% ~ 10% off on bread 

30% off broccoli and alfalfa sprouts (I always buy 3 or 4 of these)

Whole fryers at 5% off

Cod at 20% off

More Cod sliced at 3% off and more

Six Pack Eggs 3% off

Ten pack Eggs 5% off

Halibut 10% off

Saury 20% off

Mango and Papaya at 10% off

Milk 3% off

30% off on sliced pineapple

Like I said, meats on sale in the morning; 5% ~ 30% off... All gone by 9:30 am

Breaded fish ready-to-cook 20% off

Salmon 3% off

Pond Smelt 20% off

Scallops 3% off

Smoked Salmon 3% off

Steak 30% off 

Cod 3% off

And my favorite Yellow Tail 30% off

Seriously folks, do yourself a favor and show up at your supermarket right at opening time. You'll save time and money and be back at home relaxing before 10 am.

Why fight the crowds? Time is money. Save it and relax!


Maggie said...

The supermarkets I went to (they were in Yokohama) had their waribiki-time in the evenings 1-2 hours before the store closed. What was really cool was that the food that was made fresh that day and didn't sell (like tempura, korokke etc.) got cheaper as well, so getting a decent meal was so much cheaper than most people think! Of course the cheaper stuff got sold out very quickly, too, so everytime I went there it was like gambling: You never knew when the staff put these stickers on the products and you never know whether you can still get anything, so I went there with my fingers crossed. Oh, those were exciting times! ;)

I don't think that they have something like that in Germany, not that I know of anyway. They just throw away the food when it expires and then it's even illegal to pick it up from the trash (can you imagine that???).

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Hi Maggie,

Thanks. Well, when it's about discount time and time for the staff to put stickers on something. When you see one of them, take something and say, "If you discount this, I'll buy it!" I've done that many times. Works almost everytime!

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