Grocery expense is easily one of the essential items that eat a huge chunk of a family’s monthly household budget. We all need to shop for food and there’s no way we can avoid, this but there are ways where we can avoid over-spending whenever we walk down those grocery store aisles.
Check these seven simple ways to save money on groceries:
1. Prepare a grocery list. This is one of the simplest ways to avoid getting overboard with your grocery budget — make a list! It doesn’t matter how great your memory is, chances are you’ll forget something that you need to buy or worse grab something from the aisle that you don’t need if you go without a list.
2. Scan the shelves before buying. Look up and down, and ignore eye-level items. Why? Because grocery shops are smart, they place pricier items right at your eye level and you end up buying the more expensive item. Scan all levels of the shelf as cheaper items are usually located either on top or bottom part of the shelf.
3. Practice home shopping. While preparing your list, take time to account for items that are still in your pantry, fridge and food cabinets. There’s a big chance that you still have some items on your cabinets that you don’t need to buy at the moment. You don’t have to buy ketchup, soy sauce and vinegar every time you do your grocery.
4. Start making a meal plan. It is not bad as it seems, you might be thinking of it as an additional chore for you but actually it could be fun. Try to be creative in preparing your meal plan for the week. Create meal plans around the available ingredients you have on hand, and you might be surprised on the number of meals you can prepare out of them and not to mention the few pesos you can save from not buying extra. In today’s world where food scarcity is still one of the major problems, it’s heartbreaking to see rotten vegetables inside the fridge caused by buying too much. Having a meal plan can help in avoiding food and money wastage.
5. Do not buy pre-cut veggies and fruits. Two things; they have been exposed and most probably are not the freshest produce and could cost more, because grocery shops have to pay labor for the guys that cut and pack them. Stick with cutting your own vegetables and fruits.
6. Beware of the buy 1 get 50 percent off on the second promos. Don’t get me wrong. I love sale and discounted prices! I am always on the lookout for that kind of stuff. But you must also be smart when dealing with sale items. Always check on the expiry date as sometimes goods are being bundled on sale together because their expiry dates are nearing. Without checking, you might end up buying something that you won’t be able to consume after all.
7. Stick with cash payment. Paying in cash will help you stick within your budget and your list. Try it! It’s more difficult to take out cash from your wallet compared to your credit card. Your brain will let you feel a little bit of more pain when spending cash vs your shiny plastic.
People are creatures of habit. Whether we accept it or not, we like routines and like any other routines, grocery shopping is one those activities that we are so used in doing without giving too much thought. Meanwhile, changing a few shopping habits will not make us ultra rich, but it can definitely help in slashing down our grocery bills that leads to a few extra cash in the pocket.
If you’re working on a tight budget, even a small saving is a big win.
Jesi Bondoc is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines. He is the director of My Wealth MD and Partners, Inc. specializing in investment advisory. You can send your money questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and they’ll be answered on his next article. For more info about Registered Financial Planner program, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or text <name><e-mail> <RFP> at 0917-9689774.