For many people, groceries eat up a large portion of their household budgets. This is especially true for those living in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, where certain kinds of food cost more on average. But with a few tips and tricks, you can still get some good deals at supermarkets in CNMI while saving quite a bit of money. That said, here are Tips to Get the Best Deals When Grocery Shopping in CNMI the next time you shop.
Tips to Get the Best Deals When Grocery Shopping in CNMI
Buy Produce That’s in Season
In the Northern Marianas, local produce such as green beans and onions are cheap and plentiful, usually sold by farmers along the side of the road. However, products that have to be shipped to the island (such as strawberries and blueberries) tend to be more expensive.
Indeed, out-of-season fruits and veggies often command a higher price because they can’t be grown in the CNMI at certain times of the year (or at all). This means that they’re usually imported from other regions or countries where they are in season. And because of the distance, time, and labor involved in the importation process, all of the extra operational costs are passed on to the buyer.
On the other hand, produce is said to be in season when the supply is at its peak. Because of this abundance in supply, farmers and distribution companies can transport more fruit with each delivery, driving down the cost of each item. Additionally, these fruits and veggies don’t have to travel as far as they’re grown within the same region or country, decreasing the total shipping cost.
The benefits of in-season produce don’t stop there. Not only are they cheaper, but they almost always taste superior to their imported counterparts. For one thing, they’re often harvested at the peak of freshness. Additionally, they’re less likely to spoil during delivery due to the shorter travel time. So if you still want to enjoy fresh produce without the hefty price tag, try creating meal plans that incorporate any fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Opt for Generic Brands
Many of us are used to our favorite name brands. Whenever we go to the supermarket, we always reach for the same products without a second thought. But while sticking to familiar products makes the shopping experience easier, it’s not exactly the most cost-effective strategy.
While a high price can certainly be indicative of quality, this isn’t always the case. When pricing their products, companies factor in more than just the costs of the ingredients or labor. They also spend a significant amount of money to market and advertise their name brands, from the commercials all the way down to the packaging. Thus, their marketing and advertising expenses are built into each product’s final price, essentially passing on the cost to the consumer.
At the end of the day, what the consumer is really paying for is not the quality but the brand. So, if you really want to trim down your grocery expenses, you may want to consider switching to generic brands instead.
At first, you might think that generic brands are inferior due to their lack of marketing or less-than-impressive packaging. But you may be surprised to learn that they generally offer the same quality as name brands. In fact, generic options can cost up to 40 percent less than the most popular name brands.
So, the next time you go shopping, go for generic brands whenever you can. To make sure that you’re getting the same quality as a name brand option, you can refer to the product’s ingredients list for a better idea of what to expect.
Always Compare Prices
Before you add any items to your cart, make sure to check if you’re getting them at a good price or if you’re being ripped off.
One strategy you can use to get the most value for money is to compare the unit price of each product. Put simply, the unit price is the item’s price divided by its total number of units. For instance, a liter of milk priced at USD 2.00 would cost USD 0.002 per milliliter.
With this in mind, check if different sizes of your usual products offer a cheaper unit price. You may also want to check if another brand has a better unit price than your usual choice. Most of the time, you can save a lot of money by buying a larger container of product. However, you’ll only end up wasting money if you don’t use up all of it before the expiration date.
We also recommend checking out prices between different stores, as some establishments offer certain products for far cheaper. For example, you may be able to score produce for cheaper at your local farmers’ markets compared to some supermarkets.
These are just a few ways to get the best deals when shopping at supermarkets in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. With proper planning and preparation, you’ll be sure to make your grocery budget go a long way.