Reviewing my list of expenses for the past few months, I noticed that I have been able to successfully lower the amount of money I spend. Less eating out and getting rid of power-hungry appliances greatly helped.
My grocery bill, however, is another story. While each receipt never amounted to more than a few dollars, their total amount was staggering. It was nearly double of what I’d normally allocate for groceries in a month.
I won’t be surprised if I’m not the only one with this problem. Here are a few tips that I tried to save money on groceries:
- Shop alone. One of the biggest factors why my grocery bill balloons is when I shop with the kids. They’d grab things off the shelf and beg like mad when I try to get them to put it back. Giving in shouldn’t be an option, so to avoid a confrontation, choose to shop alone. A work around? Ask them for one thing they want and buy that as a treat.
- Do a scheduled grocery run. I used to run to the grocery every time I needed something. It’s just one or two items, and I’d throw in something extra just to fill the basket. Suffice to say the money I spent in total would’ve been better spent had I gotten what I needed in one go. So set a specific time — maybe once every two weeks — to shop. Don’t forget your grocery list.
- Make a list of the things you want to buy. It’s easy to lose track of what you’re getting if you don’t have a list. Wandering aimlessly down the aisles and taking what catches your attention is impulse buying. Make a list of what you need and stick to it.
- Go price shopping. Knowing how much the items you usually buy cost allows you to compare prices not only among brands but also among stores. Some stores have a difference of a few cents, but if you’re buying a lot, it can total to a substantial amount. Keep a list of the regular prices and update it when you can.
- Plan your meals ahead. By planning your meals ahead you have an idea of what ingredients you need. This limits the chances of you buying products that you most likely won’t end up using.
- Don’t be afraid to buy the store brand. Store brands may be the lower quality versions of the brand name products, but they usually have the same ingredients and have the same purpose. Better yet, they cost so much less. Give it a try and if it works just as well, stick with it.
- Buy in bulk… but don’t hoard. Buying in bulk means you get the items that you need in bigger quantities that you normally would. This is ideal to do when the item is marked down. Don’t buy items you don’t need or use just because it’s cheap. Get only the necessities, get a lot of them and make sure that you can use it all up before the expiry date.
- Check for special offers. If you shop in a particular store on a regular basis, chances are you’ll see notices and fliers for special offers or sale and whatnot. Keep a note of these and sign up for a newsletter if there’s any (particularly if it’s free) to be updated. You may not find a bargain now, but you may find use for it later on.
- Make sure you calculate the cost accurately. By knowing the exact amount of the items you are buying, you’ll be able to properly adjust your purchases and stick to your budget.
- Check if you have a local farmers market. Most supermarkets don’t really have the freshest produce available. Find a local farmers market, support your neighborhood’s economy and get fresh (and most likely organic) produce to boot.
- Grocery shopping is a chore, and can definitely be a pain in the wallet if left unchecked. However, it’s easy enough to cut back on the expenses by keeping a close eye on what you’re doing and getting. You’ll also end up with healthier food options.