With prices on food items rocketing, keeping the grocery budget under control has become a cause of concern for families worldwide. In curtailing the family spending, we often tend to make the mistake of choosing between essentials like utilities, medical expenses or food. Reworking the grocery list, it is seen, could be an excellent way of making your money stretch. To make the job easier, there are coupons, daily sales and discounts by supermarket chains everywhere. All it needs to figure out the best deal is a bit of hard work and serious research. However, discounts and coupons aside, budget grocery shopping could also be a lot more about applying a few simple strategies. Want to know more? Read on.
Make a list
A majority of people have difficulty buying what they actually need and return home laden with extraneous items. It should be remembered that impulse shopping affects your grocery bills negatively. If you belong to the category of impulse shoppers, then the only way you can avoid those heart wrenching grocery bills is by bringing along a specified and detailed list. The list should include items that you need. Keep the list handy while shopping and consult it before lifting an item straight off the racks. Reducing the purchase of things you don’t really need is likely to save a great deal of money on groceries.
Also, make a detailed plan before you hit the store. This could mean knowing just what you want before you shop or even going to the extent of creating meal plans. Knowing what you plan to eat each day of the coming week and having all the ingredients saves you extra trips to the grocery store, thereby lowering your chances of buying unnecessary stuff.
Buy generic items
Don’t refrain from buying a different or generic brand. Most people tend to have a particular brand that they find trustworthy. However, when it comes to saving money on groceries, you should put all allegiances aside. Purchasing generic can actually help you save a bundle, since a majority of generics are similar to the big brand names in more ways than one. If still, the idea of getting generics does not tempt you, consider buying a competitor’s brand. For example, it may happen one fine day that you hit the grocery store in search of butter and your particular brand is out of stock. Under such circumstances, the competitor’s brand may always be marked down with electronic coupons that you can take advantage of by getting the store card scanned while checking out. If savings are the first consideration you have in mind, then the competitor’s brand is always worth trying out. The idea here is to save as much as you can on groceries.
Be specific about what you want to buy
It is always advisable to scan your refrigerator, cupboard, or pantry before you leave for the store. Purchasing duplicate items always adds up to a hefty grocery bill. True, you will need them at some point or the other. But unless and until the coupons or electronic savings are being deliberately used to buy items in bulk, it’s thousand times more feasible to buy them as you need them. Perform a quick condiment check, for instance, before you hit the store. You may find that you have enough noodles to last a couple of weeks more. If you don’t need noodles this week then simply drop it from your list Therefore, be aware of things you have in hand before leaving for the store.
This tip might appear at the outset as something that is not worth much. However, research shows that you tend to spend more when shopping in a group. If you are shopping for groceries, make sure that you do it alone. So how do you save money by shopping alone? In the first place, it gives you the opportunity to focus on your list. Secondly, you, in all likelihood, will have better success sticking to the list when there aren’t friends or family members around. Thirdly, you will also be able to perform the complicated mathematical calculations uninterrupted and unhindered. This invariably ensures that you get the best bargain for the money. Last but not the least you might also come around to minimizing impulse shopping, especially without kids in tow.
Eat well before hitting the store
When we advise you not go shopping on an empty stomach, we mean business. Grab hold of something to eat before hitting the stores. The question is why? Well, quiet simply, with your stomach growling, you will be tempted to put stuff like chocolates and potato chips into your bag. Hence, make sure that your tummy is full with food and drinks before you embark on the “grocery mission”. You will be able to shop freely without thinking about how thirsty and hungry you are. Neither will you feel the urge to spend money on bottles of juice or water. So, while it might not appear that this would really add up to your savings, it, let us assure you, actually does.
Read the unit price
In determining the exact value of a product, it is always advisable to read the unit price. The package price is not to be given through consideration while shopping for groceries. You can find the unit price details on a sticker on the shelf which holds the item. The package price will tell you the cost of the item. The unit price, on the other hand, provides a more detailed overview of things, showing the cost per unit. Hence, take some time out and get the information on similar products compared. This can help you save a great deal on grocery items. Also, be sure to check the expiry date on products so that you know you are buying a fresh product.
Pick the right store
When it comes to saving money on grocery items, choosing the right store can make all the difference in the world. True, that every store offers discounts and sales from time to time. Yet when you know which place provides goods at discounted rates consistently, you start buying items from the store everyday. This can maximize your savings and minimize the overhead costs in an amazing way. All major supermarket chains offer discounts on a regular basis. The best part about shopping from renowned chains is that their prices keep shifting on a day to day basis. Hence, you get to enjoy newer discounts on the very same product everyday. Therefore, take some time to find out which store has the best price for the items you buy. It may seem, at the outset, like a lot of hard and tedious work, but remember that you need to go through this only once. So, if you can take time to shop around for the best price on a big ticket item like a television set, then why not put in the same labor while purchasing groceries? After all, when calculated, the total amount spent on groceries will far exceed the sum you invested while buying electronic items. Hence, if you wish to curtail that amount, then do good research.
Shop in bulk
Purchasing non perishable items in bulk at certain warehouse stores can actually end up saving you a great deal of money over time. Canned goods, pasta, rice, detergent, are things to look for in this particular category. The most important part is to buy items that have a long shelf life and that, in all likelihood, will not go bad before being used. Otherwise, chances are that you will only end up wasting tons of money. Warehouse stores are often found offering great discounts on vegetables also. Hence, if you can find one in your locality that provides vegetables at amazingly discounted rates, then do start shopping from them right away. However, the only, somewhat, shady side about the whole strategy is that half the time when people buy grocery items in a bulk, they are not able to finish it in time and the food goes bad and the money stands wasted. Small families where food is cooked for two or three people should better refrain from applying the strategy. Big families, on the other hand, consisting of more than five members can make the whole “bulk buying” thing work amazingly to their advantage.
Do not buy prepared foods
If you want to save money on grocery, prepare yourself for a tedious kitchen schedule ahead. A majority of us, in order to avoid kitchen chores, more often than not, end up buying prepared foods. Convenient or prepared foods are the biggest contributors to an expensive grocery budget. For example, instead of buying cut, packaged and washed veggies, buy them in their natural form. It costs you much cheaper that way. Another reason to stay away from the convenient or prepared food section at grocery stores is that you actually pay a premium for dishes or salads already made for you. Moreover, once you are it, assembling a simple sandwich with cheese, meat and bread won’t look much of a chore. At least, by putting in a bit of hard work over culinary discourses, if you can save some money, then it should not be considered much a problem, should it? So, maintain a safe distance from all pre-cooked stuff, if you don’t want to spend extra bucks shopping.