I have been fortunate at certain points in my life to be able to go shopping and not really have to worry about the cost of getting almost everything I wanted or needed from the grocery store, or any store for that matter. This has not always been the case but I have picked up a few good tips and tricks along the way and use a lot of these tips and tricks even when I can afford not to.
- Never, ever go to the shop on an empty stomach. Make sure you get something to eat before you shop because I have been shopping numerous times on an empty stomach and ended up not only overspending but also with a whole lot of junk food that is definitely not good for me.
- Make a list and STICK TO IT! This is so important. Whenever we make a list and we are on a budget, we always stick to our list. If we want to buy any junk food, it goes on the list as well. This rule is absolutely important because when combined with the other rules on this list, it will make or break your budget.
- Always look at what is on sale. When I was working, there were three different supermarket chains on my way home from work and when I planned my shopping lists well, I ended up saving a lot more money just by splitting my shopping trips into three separate trips. Another tip from using leaflets and knowing when they had bulk items on sale and using this and sacrificing some other non-essential items and sometimes spending a little more on groceries one month than I usually would, I ended up saving over the long term because I didn’t need to purchase those items for a few months and sometimes for almost a year.
- Frozen is not bad. A lot of people prefer to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and in the case of berries, frozen is often cheaper and I have found that the quality (depending on where you purchase it from) is not bad at all. I use a lot of fruits and vegetables for smoothies during the summer and tend to lean more towards veggies as a side to my meals and frozen has by far worked out cheaper than fresh. Also, if it is frozen it lasts a lot longer than fresh especially if you don’t always have time to meal prep when you purchase the fresh fruit and veggies.
- Meal Planning is a time and money saver. When you plan your meals, you know exactly what you need and how much of each item you are going to need to buy. This helps a lot with budgeting and reduces waste while saving time because the bulk of your meals will be planned out and made for you so you won’t have to stop to get food on the way home from work because there is always a meal ready for you.
- Keep your fridge and cupboards organised. It is so easy to dump everything in the cupboard or pantry when you are tired from a trip to the shop but when your pantry or grocery cupboard is nice and organised, you are able to see what you already have so that you don’t buy things that you don’t need.
- Shop once a week. It is so easy to overspend when you just ‘pop’ into the shop every other day. Shopping once a week allows your spending to be budgeted and planned properly to only buy things you actually need.
- Don’t buy pre-cut products. Often times fruits and vegetables and cheese in some areas are already cut or shredded and they are usually a lot more expensive than the whole fruit. You can dedicate an hour or so each week to cutting and cleaning all your fruits and vegetables. It is a small price to pay for when you are on a tight budget.
- No-Name or store brands are often just as good as the name brands. I cannot tell you enough about the times I have tried no name or store brands and discovered that they were exactly the same quality as the more expensive name brands. Although there are some that have questionable quality, you will have to check which no name brands work for your taste buds.
- Not all ‘sales’ will save you money. We have all been a victim of this scam where an item goes on sale in bulk, as a buy three for a set amount or something similar which sounds very cheap, but what actually happens is that the product price per unit stays the same but because of the marketing technique, you think you are getting a bargain. While this is not always the case, you should always be cautious and plan accordingly.
These are the top tips I use when I am shopping on a budget. What tips do you use at the moment and what tips do you plan on using in the future? I would love to hear from you!
-The Uninspired Blogger