Grocery shopping is one of the biggest expenses in every household, but there are a few things that you can do to save money at the supermarket and avoid buying unnecessary items that you didn’t plan on buying in the first place.
We are all guilty of this and there’s nothing wrong with spoiling yourself with a few luxury items, given that your budget allows for it and you’ve already bought the essential items on your grocery list.
With the rising cost of fuel and living expenses, we must try and save a few bucks whenever and wherever we can.
Buy weekly or monthly
Do your grocery shopping once weekly or monthly. Avoid unplanned or daily stops at the local Supermarket. Most of the time you’ll end up doing impulse buying and buying unnecessary or unintended items.
Shop on a full stomach
Avoid doing shopping on an empty stomach at all costs. Everything will end up looking enticing and you’ll probably end up buying sugary snacks or take-aways that gives you an instant sugar rush.
Make a list
Make a shopping list before doing your weekly or monthly grocery shopping and stick to it, especially if you have the kids with you.
Don’t shop when you are tired
Shop when you don’t feel worn out after a busy day and are energized. It’s easier to focus on what you need and make wise choices when your mind is not preoccupied.
Shop at familiar shops
It’s easier to find what you’re looking for, especially when you’re in a hurry. You’ll be able to grab the few things that you need in the already familiar isles and get out of there quickly.
Make use of left-overs
Make extra food so that you have lunch for the next day or freeze them for another day. Making comfort food like stew or soup works especially well for this purpose.
Make sure your food cupboards are organized
When you know what you have in your drawers and cupboards, it is easier to make a shopping list with only the items that you need.
Buy less cans or packaged foods
Rather buy fresh foods like lettuce, carrots and sweet potato, cut them up for usage or freezing. It is more cost effective than to buy them convenience packed.
Check your fridge regularly
Check and clean out your fridge and cupboards once a month. Make sure you check the expiry dates on products and use them before they go off.
Buy bulk and package treats yourself
Buy larger packs of snacks and make up smaller bags of snacks, perfect for grabbing when you’re on the run.
Buy in bulk
Often meat, cheese and items like long-life milk or coffee are cheaper per kilogram or unit when you buy them in bulk.
Be on the look-out for payday or month-end specials
Check the internet for month-end or payday specials at your preferred retailer. You end up saving a lot if you know what you should be on the look-out for. Certain retailers provide 3 for 2 specials or bulk deals during certain times of the month.
Cut fresh fruit and vegetables
Use one day a week for cutting up fresh fruit and vegetables for healthy snacks or to speed up dinner preparations.
Do your grocery shopping on a budget
Draw up a budget and give yourself a limit of what you’re planning to spend on groceries for the month and try to stick to it.
Only buy what you can afford and need
Be careful of certain specials or discounts. Three for one specials are only a good deal if you can use three. Items that you use every month and on a regular basis are acceptable because you know that it will not go to waste or lie in the cupboard for months on end. Specials on nappies, baby wipes or toiletries for instance, are great examples of items that you know you will use.
Try new things
Try new things and be creative. You may find foods that are less expensive that you and the family enjoy just as much.
Shop with a calculator
Add up the items as you put them in the cart. This way you’ll ensure that you’re not going over your budget.
Make homemade meals
Learn how to bake or cook. Avoid buying frozen dinners or pre-made meals. Making your own homemade meals will be a lot cheaper and tastier.
Make use of loyalty cards or coupons
Swipe your loyalty cards to earn points that you can redeem on future purchases. Be on the look-out for Manufacturer or store coupons which can save you some money. At the end of the day every cent count.
Buy meat or vegetables like green beans, carrots, sweet potato or pumpkin in bulk packs, dice or cut them into smaller pieces and freeze them in family portion sizes to save you some time when preparing meals.
Use the right size cart
If you’re only buying a few items, don’t use a big cart. An experiment done by a cart manufacturer found that people that make use of bigger carts than they would usually use, ended up buying 40% more than usual.
Go shopping on your own
People going on a shopping trip alone end up spending less as opposed to taking their spouses and children with.
Buy store brands
There are a few items that we will not compromise on when it comes to the brand. But buying items such as long-life milk, eggs or refuse bags for instance are perfectly good when buying no name or store brands.
Buy fruit and vegetables in Season
Only buy fruit and vegetables that are in Season. Fresh produce that are grown locally is usually the best value for money.
Retailers often place popular and more costly items at eye level on the shelves. Look up and down the shelf for the discounted items.
Be careful of healthy marked food labels
We tend to pay more for items that are marked as healthy food. Check the nutritional labels found on the back of the items. Often healthy marked foods are not healthier than the normal marked food items. In fact, “low fat” items often contain more sugar to enhance their flavour.