Want to make your money stretch? Here are 6 grocery shopping tips to help you save time, money and even energy! Okay, maybe I’m over-selling here, but you sure can make your shopping trip more efficient.
1 – Know your budget
The first and most important point is to have a budget! If you don’t have one yet then you may want to start by taking the 30-challenge of tracking your everyday expenses. This will give you a good idea of where and how you’re currently spending your money. This is a great way to start your budget.
If you already have a budget; well-done!
2 – Make a list
Having a shopping list will not only clear your mind and take the “I’m forgetting something” feeling away, it can also speed up your shopping. You can keep a list on your fridge or on your phone and add to whenever you find you need something. Then, before your next shop, read it through and add any extra items you need. Be like Santa and check your list twice.
If you are doing a big shopping spree then categorize your groceries by the following (or something similar that works for you):
- Fruit & Veg (fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs)
- Frozen goods (anything in the freezers)
- Dairy (any dairy goods)
- Meat (if you eat it)
- Dry goods / Other (tins, spices, bread, juices and anything that you would store in your cupboard at home)
- Toiletries (not really groceries but needed)
- Cleaning products
Generally stores keep similar type items together and if you have a list of what you need from each area it saves you from walking around the store several times. You can categorize your items in whatever way makes the most sense to you, but don’t make your system too complicated as you probably won’t keep it up then.
3 – Don’t shop when you are hungry
If you’re hungry you’ll probably pick things off the shelf that you want to eat now! You’ll also over-cater for your next meal as your poor starving brain cannot deal with the sight of all the food. Another concern is that if you are really hungry and feeling that your blood sugar is low, then you will most likely rush to get through your shopping as quickly as possible. Saving money and sticking to a budget will be your lowest priority. Hangry is a real word!
Keep yourself from temptation and rather delay your shopping trip if you’re hungry.
4 – Shop online
Depending on where you live, you may be able to shop online with free (or cheap) deliveries. Most stores are now offering same-day deliveries such as the Checkers 60 sixty and Woolies Dash. Firstly, make sure you know what the charge is (if there is any) and be sure to factor that in. However, shopping online makes one far more conscious of what you are buying as you’re not distracted by thousands of products on shelves, the sweet aisle at checkouts, and the smell of delicious freshly baked goods. Also, you should have a kind of standard weekly list of items that you use. You kind of know what you need.
5 – Check prices per unit
Stores change their prices often and we’re conditioned to think that the larger quantity “bulk buying” is always cheaper. Well, it isn’t! Don’t assume something is cheaper just because it’s in a bigger box or because the packaging tells you to “buy in bulk and save”. Always check the price per unit. Not all stores display the “per unit” price but that’s when you need to take out a calculator and work out which size is best to buy.
6 – Use cash
If you only take cash to the store and no credit or debit cards then you really have no option to spend too much. The embarrassment of not having enough money will surely drive even the most out of control shopper to calculate exactly what they have in their trolley. It’s amazing how good you become at shopping when you only have a set amount of cash and no more.
7 – Join the store loyalty program
Most stores have a loyalty card (points card) of some variety. The savings vary but it’s generally worth joining a loyalty program and using whatever savings you get. Especially useful for stores that you frequent often.
Be aware of the marketing though and remember that they will try to entice you to spend more. So remember your budget and shopping list and don’t be tempted to veer off.
Let me know if these grocery shopping tips help. And of course, let me know your best tips.