Groceries is an expense that you just can’t get away from, in addition to that food prices are soaring all the time while salaries are not increasing at nearly the same rate.
If you can make any savings on your groceries then it will be well worth your while to give that a go.
Here are some super useful tips for your grocery shopping that will save you time, effort and money:
Plan Your Meals
If you plan all your meals for the week or even the whole month in advance you will know exactly what food you need to buy and you can budget for it better. There is also bound to be less waste if you know what meals you will be preparing.
Check the bottom of this post for a free printable weekly shopping list with meal planner.
Make Use of Leftovers
Plan to use your leftovers and make sure that every time you have leftovers you include it with your next meal. A great example of this is to get a whole chicken and the first night you could have a roast chicken, the second night you could have chicken a la king. You can also use the chicken for sandwiches or salads for lunches for school and work the next day.
Plan Your Shopping
Always go to the shop with a list, this will ensure that you are able to budget easier, you will also be able to get your shopping done in much less time than if you went without a list.
Plan for one big shop every month to get all the essentials you will need for the month, then plan also for a weekly shop for fresh products. If you plan your meals weekly it is a good idea to shop for those meals once a week and it will make your shopping list so easy to make.
Always stick to your shopping list and avoid all impulse buys.
Download the free printable shopping list at the bottom of this post.
Use Your Freezer
Make sure to really make use of your freezer. There are so many things that you can freeze perfectly which means you can buy them monthly or in bulk instead of going to the shop every day or every second day.
So many people go to the shop every day or every second day for milk and bread. Both milk and bread can be frozen beautifully and thawed as needed. If you take out a loaf of frozen bread and leave it to thaw it will be just as soft and fresh as the day you bought it. You can also toast frozen bread without having to thaw it at all.
Cutting out these daily trips to the shop not only saves you time, but it saves you on fuel money to get to the shop as well as all the extras you inevitably buy when you make all those extra shopping excursions.
Cheese can also be frozen very nicely, just grate it first and put it in a freezer bag before freezing it. Butter and margarine also freeze well.
When your bananas start going off pop them straight into the freezer and you can take them out at a later time to make banana bread. Very ripe bananas make the best banana bread but you don’t want to be pressured to make banana bread every time your bananas start looking a little worse for wear. Chances are you throw your too ripe bananas out.
Watch Out For Specials
You can save a fortune by buying in bulk when there are specials going.
However you also need to watch out for “specials”. What do I mean by this? Well I saw some great prices going on meat in the supermarket and I started to load up my trolley, luckily I took a closer look and all those items had a sticker on them saying that they were previously frozen but they were thawed. This means that all that meat would have to be cooked immediately since refreezing food is risky.
It is always best when you see a special to compare it to other brands and similar products. It is amazing how many times I have seen specials giving insane discounts yet when you work it out and compare it to another brand for the exact same thing you are still paying much more.
Another thing I have seen so often is over festive season where prices go up steeply just before Christmas and then they all go on a crazy “sale” but the end price is still much more than the price was a week prior to the hefty price increase.
Never Shop With An Empty Stomach
I’m sure you’ve heard this before and there is a good reason why you shouldn’t do this. If you shop with an empty stomach chances are high that you will be making lots of impulse buys. According to research these impulse buys are not just limited to food, but also to non-edible products too.
Apparently if you are hungry when you go shopping your grocery bill will be considerably higher than if you are not hungry.
So have make sure to have something to eat before heading off to the shops.
Try Shopping Without Kids
Yes I know, chances are that if you are shopping with your kids then you probably don’t have another option. However it may be worthwhile chatting to your hubby and making a set time every week where he will look after the kids while you go shopping.
There are numerous ways that this will benefit you. You will be able to concentrate on what you are doing and be able to properly evaluate sales offers and calculate the real cost.
You will also probably not buy as much considering you don’t have two or three little voices badgering you for toys, sweets and everything they see.
It is so easy to get distracted by kids and forget something meaning that you need to make another trip to the grocery store.
In addition to that you may get a nasty surprise, like I did last week when my three year old son threw a tray of eggs in Pick N Pay because he was angry I didn’t get the more expensive eggs he thought I should get. Thankfully management told me not to worry about it, but if this happens to you chances are you will be paying for the expensive tray of eggs and the cheaper one that you initially wanted too.
Coupons, Loyalty Cards and Cash Back
Almost every single shop these days have loyalty cards, think Clicks Club Card, Pick n Pay Smartshopper and even FNB eBucks where you earn eBucks back on purchases at certain shops.
Very often you get rewarded to shop at certain stores. I’m not necessarily saying shop at a store that offers a loyalty card or gives discount coupons. What I am saying is that if you do shop somewhere that has a loyalty program then sign up and make use of the discounts on offer – they do add up over time.
There are also some really great ways to earn cash back on your shopping and even make money online too. Do a little bit of searching online to see what is available for earning cash back at your favorite stores.
Buy Bulk Packs
Buying bigger packs almost always works out much cheaper than buying smaller packs. Buy big packs of meat and get freezer bags so when you get home you can divide the pack up into smaller meal portions.
Look Up And Down The Shelves
While shopping make a point to look at the top of the shelves and the bottom. It is common practice for shops to pack the most expensive items at eye level where you are more likely to buy them. If you look at the top and the bottom of the shelves you are bound to find better priced produce.
Compare Unit Prices
When things come in packs compare unit prices too, in large supermarkets this pricing will also be given on the shelves. Even though a pack may be cheaper when you look at the unit price and the size of the unit in comparison to “more expensive” packs you may find that you are paying more for less.
Ditch Brand Names
There is such a misconception that Brand Names are better quality. Yes it is true that at times they are, but very often no name brands offer exactly the same quality for a fraction of the cost of Brand Name products.
Online shopping is convenient and it can work out so much cheaper for you. You can compare prices from the comfort of your own home, place your order when you have had time to plan your meals and shopping list plus the best bonus of all is that you don’t have to leave your home which saves you time, fuel expenses, wear and tear on your car and also the added stress of a busy shopping center.
Lots of online stores deliver free of charge if your purchase is over a certain amount and even if they do charge a delivery fee compare their price to the cost of driving to the store and you will most likely find out that you are saving by ordering online.
Free Printables To Make Your Life Easier
Here are some free printables to make your life a little easier. A weekly shopping list with meal planner – make sure to print it out in landscape. This will make planning your weekly meals and your weekly grocery shop so much easier.
And for your monthly grocery shopping list here is a pretty little printable to keep you organized and help you to save time and money while out shopping.
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Also published on Medium.