10 Simple Grocery Tips That Can Help You Save Time and Money
Groceries. One of the necessities that families should consider when making a budget. An expense that is totally unavoidable but can actually be controlled.
Mastering the art of smart grocery shopping can actually help you in saving time and money. The next time you find yourself in a grocery store, follow these simple and easy hacks that will save your precious and limited time and will also make your wallet smile.
- Create your budget and assess it.
Grocery shopping usually takes up a huge chunk out of your budget. It is important to check on how much money you can allocate for grocery shopping so you can avoid unnecessary expenses. Envelope system may come handy when assessing your budget. In envelope system, you label each envelope for different spending categories and set aside money for each of the labeled envelopes. In this way, you will avoid overspending as you have separated the budget for your different needs.
- Plan your meals and list down all you need.
Now that you have a budget for grocery shopping, it’s time to plan your meals.
Meal planning can be a great way of saving money. Simply put, meal planning allows you to know exactly what you’re going to buy. Make sure to list down all the ingredients you need per meal and check if it can already be found in pantry or refrigerator. If you have items that will soon perish, plan meals which will make use of them right away. Lastly, stick to your list and buy only what you will need.
- Check the current inventory of items and list only the things that you need to buy.
Is there enough sugar? Is the detergent enough until next grocery day? Do we still have milk?
These are just some of the common questions when doing grocery shopping and can be a total waste of money if you bought an item only to find out that you still have enough stocks at home. Avoid this mishap by doing a check on your stocks and listing down all the items that you really need. Determine how much you would like to spend and stick to your list. Always shop with a plan.
- Avoid shopping on an empty stomach.
You’ve probably heard this a lot of times already but this is one of the clever ways to avoid overspending during grocery shopping. Shopping on an empty stomach can magically turn foods into “magnets”. These “magnets” shine in the grocery racks and it will attract you to buy them — only to find out later that you don’t need them and, lo and behold, you already wasted money. Avoid impulse buying by having a good meal before you head out to the grocery store. You’d be surprised how many fewer items a full stomach will try to convince you to buy versus a hungry one.
- Stick with your list.
Now that you have your planned meals and your list ready, you are now ready to head on to the battlefield. Having a list during grocery shopping can help you to focus and prioritize only the things that you buy. It also saves you time and effort as you have already planned your route to the grocery store. Make sure to stick with your list at all times.
- Buy only in cash.
When doing grocery shopping, make sure to only bring your cash with you and leave your cards at home especially if you have a tendency to do impulse buying. In this way, you won’t be tempted to purchase something that is not on your list and spending using cash will make you think twice compared to card purchase.
- Leave your kids at home during grocery shopping.
We know that you love your kids but bringing them to the grocery store might impose some dangers on your budget. Let’s face it, children usually pick up all the items they want in a store and do a shopping spree — thinking that mommy and daddy will pay for it. Also, leaving the little ones at home can give you the advantage of being able to take your time and concentrate on your list.
- Don’t be afraid to look for substitutes.
When shopping for your groceries, look for alternatives. Don’t let that known label or fancier packaging fool you. The known brands usually inflate their price because they know people will buy them. So check out the other lesser known brands (usually the store brand is the cheapest), of the product you want. Most of the time, the ingredients are the same and the only difference is the price tag. Always monitor the prices and buy what you only need.
- Always read expiration dates.
Aside from the price tag, checking the expiration date is one of the important things to do during grocery shopping. Most of the groceries do a stock rotation where they put older items in the front and newer items at the back. With this in mind, you can avoid wasting money by buying the freshest items and have the longer shelf life.
- Shop within the perimeter.
The ultimate rule of thumb when grocery shopping: shop the outside aisles of the store and avoid shopping in middle aisles as much as possible. There are few reasons for this. First, the outside aisles of the grocery are where fruits, veggies, meats, and fresh grains are kept — which makes up the majority of your list. Another reason is because middle aisles are a marketing ploy. Grocery stores are designed to funnel you to middle aisles so that you wander on them and end up buying things you don’t need. Fight this urge and shop within the perimeter.