Have you seen a financial advisor but can’t stick to your weekly grocery budget? Do you impulsively pick up everything off the shelves at a grocery store and add it to your cart? Regardless of whether you need the item, do you still feel like buying it?
You’re probably wondering why you lose control over your purchasing ability and always buy more stuff than you need instead of trying to save money on groceries, and you may be doing so for various reasons. For example, were you aware that supermarkets strategically shelve items so shoppers buy more than what’s on their grocery lists? In this article, we break down this grocery shopping tip and more to help you stay within your budget while purchasing groceries from the store!
Best 12 Tips to Save Money on Your Grocery Bill
1. Avoid Wasting Food
When you waste a lot of food, you buy more groceries. Make it a habit to save leftovers and eat them later on. That will keep you on budget. Sometimes, your food may spoil because of storage mistakes such as leaving an item out on the bench too long, and failing to store it in an airtight container. To prevent food spoilage, properly pack your food in a clean container and pop it in the fridge as soon as possible. Sometimes, food in the fridge can grow mold. If you preserve food properly, it can stay fresh for longer. When visiting the grocery store, you need to consider what items you already have in the kitchen and buy the remaining from your grocery list.
2. Plan Your Meals
Save money on groceries by planning your meals properly. Avoid cookbooks or cooking videos by fancy chefs when you prepare food. You’ll find that these recipes often use expensive ingredients, but you can save more money by keeping your food plan simple. Another way you can keep track of your food is by cooking one ingredient more than once a week. You should also cook extra and keep room for leftovers. Many people avoid keeping leftovers, but taking your extras to work for lunch is such a simple way to save and avoid the temptation of eating out. Simply cook, portion and eat your dinner at night and store the leftovers in the fridge for lunch the next day. This way, you cook fewer meals in a single day and save time as well!
3. Make a List
Listing your grocery items is one of the most effective ways you can save money on groceries. If you leave for the grocery store without a list, you may end up purchasing more items than you need and forget essential items. Whether you use an app on your phone, or a pen and paper, either way is going to keep you on track. If you go to a wholesale store to buy your groceries and forget to buy some essentials, you’ll end up purchasing them from a local convenience store, which may cost more. Hence, try shopping with a list as you buy the bare minimum items. Sure, you will need some time to make it a habit, but you cannot lose track or buy more items once you begin following a list.
4. Understand the Strategies of the Store
This is one of the best grocery shopping tips that the big retailers, such as Coles, Aldi and Woolworths, don’t want you to know about! Most grocery stores follow shelving strategies that force you to buy more or expensive items (middle aisle at Aldi, we’re looking at you!). Most of the time, grocery stores place less expensive items on the top or bottom of the shelf, and the most expensive items in front of your eyes. By being smart and doing your research on affordable alternatives, you can take advantage of this knowledge to save money and spend less. Try this trick the next time you go shopping, and you will find cheaper alternatives that are just as good but will help you save money on your weekly shop.
5. Shop from Local Stores
The bigger the store, the more expensive the items they have – so save money on groceries by shopping local. All the items that you require are likely to be available at your local produce discount store. The reason why the big retailers typically charge higher prices is because they stock so many items and brands. However, when you have too many options as a consumer, you can feel confused as to which cracker you should buy, and quite often default to picking the one in front of your eyes. Local stores have lower prices as they target the local shoppers who spend less on groceries!
6. Follow Loyalty Programs
Some stores offer loyalty programs that you can take advantage of to save money on grocery bill (i.e. Woolworths Rewards and FlyBuys). Depending on the retailer, you can take advantage of benefits such as cashback or some percentage off when you collect enough points. You can save a lot on your budget by subscribing to these loyalty programs and remembering to scan your card at the checkout.
7. Shop Once Every Month
The more often you visit the grocery store, the more items you will purchase. Make a list, and challenge yourself to visit the store once every month to buy everything you need for that month. Even if you visit the store to buy one or two items every week, it is easy to be tempted to buy more due to display and marketing techniques. Buying more from a grocery store is consumer behaviour, and the big retailers know exactly how to use this behaviour against unwitting consumers.
8. Start Couponing
Many stores offer coupons to attract their target audience – you should go for it. These coupons can help you cut off a lot of expenses in purchasing grocery items.
9. Shop When You Are Alone
When you have a list and know what you want to buy from the grocery store, you should visit the store alone. Visiting the grocery store with your spouse or children can lead you to purchase more than what you want. You will not realise how many products you have in excess until you check your bill.
10. Shop during Day Time
Shop on weekends or when you are fresh. Working for eight hours and then visiting the store can force you to buy extra items – especially when you feel tired, hungry, and lazy, or when you are returning home from work. If you aren’t in the headspace to save money, you will not want to spend your time finding the cheapest items. Furthermore, when you are hungry, you will find every food item delicious and add more stuff to your cart.
* Read More: Emergency Funds - Why You Need It?
11. Cook Simple Food
Simple food is better when you have to stay under budget. When you try different expensive and complex recipes, you pay more than your expectations. Most food recipes have expensive ingredients. Plan your meal according to your monthly budget so that you do not buy expensive items.
12. Pay with Cash
When you visit a grocery store and pay with your credit card, you have no control over your purchasing. You will add everything you will find attractive in your cart because you know that you won’t have any problems when you swipe your card at the checkout. Even if you try to control it, when you know there is nothing stopping you from buying whatever you want, you may purchase two to three more items than you really need. Try to carry cash when going to the grocery store for shopping. When you have a limited amount in your hand, it’s much easier to control how much you purchase.
When changing your habits, you may find it challenging, but eventually, you will get used to it. Just keep your mind focused on one goal: spending less on groceries. When you follow all the above tips, you can save more on your grocery items.
Contact Credit Counsellors today to chat with our team about debt, credit or financial concerns, or visit our website to find financial tools to help you get back on track.