Grocery Shopping Budget Hacks

Grocery shopping as a single person can be tough. Spending just enough so you don’t run out of eggs for breakfast or waste the rest of the dozen in the carton cause you forgot about them, can be a great balancing act. Oh yes, and there’s the limits of our budget. Nonetheless it is possible.

So to help you with that, here are :

Save Money at the Store - The New York Times
Source: New York Times

1. Start with a budget

This is a no-brainer. Start by allocating a certain percentage of your take home pay towards groceries and set that aside. To do this, you’ll probably have to sit down and figure out your other expenses first. Check our our blog post on how to budget here.

Then, match that with the frequency in which you go out grocery shopping. For example, I go every weekend, so I would divide the amount into an average of 4 weekends in a month. This is just so I know how much I can spend per trip. If you go every fortnightly, you may adjust accordingly.

If you overspend on a trip, treat it as borrowing from the next trip’s budget. So technically, spending more on this trip will give you less to spend on the next. And vice versa. This teaches discipline and foresight as it makes you think twice before you purchase something.

2. Make a checklist beforehand

A checklist will help to keep you focused and avoid straying from what you really need. Buy only what you’ll use for the week.  I would suggest checking your fridge or pantry while you do this , just so you have an account of what you still have and don’t double buy. I have this thing called Fried rice Fridays where I basically clear my fridge of produce before I go grocery shopping on Saturday. It serves to: 1. Help me keep track of my what I have and what I’ll need to buy, 2. Meal prep for the week, 3. Challenge Uncle Roger’s fried rice skills, 4. Make my Asian mum proud

Your checklist can furthur be divided into essentials and fun stuff. If you have a little leftover budget and you’re really craving that bag of chips, go for it.

The FDA Will Name Affected Stores In Food Recalls More Often - Food & Drug  Administration News

3. Shop on a full stomach

How many times have you been tempted to throw into your cart a bag of nachos or that packet of chocolate cookies? I have, and I realized my level of control is always weaker whenever I shop when I’m hungry. It is scientifically proven that we tend to over- purchase when we are hungry, most probably due to or brains instructing us to fulfill a basic human need. To avoid that, make sure to always go out shopping when you are adequately satiated. Grab a snack or a bite beforehand if you’re heading straight from work.

4. Do some research beforehand

Grocery stores are always having promotions, and different grocery stores would have different promos at different times .Make the most of that! Refer to your checklist and look through the weekly store pamphlets online to see where you can get the best deals. You can check out this Hargapedia app if you grocery shop in Malaysia.

It helps to know how much a product would roughly cost originally so you can compare if it goes on discount. Not all items labelled to be on sale is actually cheaper!

Sainsbury's warns on 'competitive' UK grocery market | Financial Times
Source: Financial Times

5. Make use of loyalty programs

Grocery stores such as Aeon, Tesco and most of the other bigger retailers would have loyalty programs that help you collect points with every spend. You can then accumulate and exchange those points for discount vouchers or food vouchers and even home & living appliances. So ask how you can apply to be a member today and sign up. Most of them are free!

6. Buy local, Buy seasonal

Support local ! Local fruits and vegetables all bear lower costs due to lower shipping rates involved to get the items to you. That means more savings for you as a smart consumer. For example, you could consider purchasing local fruits such as bananas, watermelon and papayas instead of imported fruit once in a while. Local fruits and veg are just as great a source of nutrients in addition to being kind to your wallet. Do take into account the seasons because when there is a surplus of harvest, the prices tend to be lower too! This usually applies to food such as berries, peaches, mangoes etc

Larger hypermarkets such as Tesco and Giant carry their own in-house products of many food and household items that are significantly cheaper. So you might want to consider alternating to these.

10 Expert Tips for Grocery Shopping on a Budget – Cleveland Clinic
Source: Cleveland Clinic

7. Scan the shelves

A tactic that supermarkets employ to get you to buy what is most profitable for them is by placing such items at eye level so that there’ll be a higher tendency for you to reach out for them. So next time you have something on your checklist but have no particular brand in mind, try looking on the lower and higher shelves to assess all your options.

8. Buy bulk

More often than not, buying in bulk would give you a bigger bang for your buck. From your prepared checklist, try to see what are the items that you regularly need and is not easily perishable. And get those in larger quantities. They help you save in the long run and reduce the number of grocery visits you have to make. Take into consideration that these bulk items should be not easily perishable goods or stuff you are certain you’ll be able to finish or at least store it properly to last. Examples include Olive oil, oats & various grains, spices, peanut butter, shampoos, conditioners, dishwashing liquid, etc.

Another option would be to buy bulk direct from producers. For example in Malaysia, you can get your seeds and nuts from Signature Market .

9. Pay with E-wallets or cards

Somewhat similar to loyalty points, E-walltes like GrabPay and TouchnGo allow you to collect points with every transaction which you can redeem for vouchers for petrol, food delivery, car rides later. Also, apps such  as FoodPanda have their own Pandamart with really good promo codes and cash rebates. So you can save money on grocery shopping and have your purchases delivered to you. Do compare  individual prices though as some items on the app tend to be priced higher.

Beli Barangan Runcit Kini Lebih Mudah Dengan foodpanda pandamart, Hanya 30  Minit Penghantaran!
Source: FoodPanda

You could also use credit cards with special cashbacks for grocery shopping. Check back with the credit card company and read through the terms and conditions to see which would suit your spending habits best !

10. Stick to the aisles & carry a basket

So this is a physical mind trick rather than a direct money saving tip. Supermarkets are designed in such a way that the outer aisles are where the fresh fruit and veg and meats are located. Thus, walking along the outer perimeter averts the temptations of the snacks , ice cream and candy aisles located in the middle. Out of sight, out of mind.

The benefits of carrying a basket instead of pushing a trolley prevents you from filling it with stuff you don’t necessarily need. Visually, it would be more obvious when a basket fills up, indicating you might be overbuying. And you’ll definitely feel the weight of it too. So you’ll def know when it is time to check out.

Maaskarooyinka Wajiga | Face coverings, masks and COVID-19 (Somali) |  Multnomah County
Source: Multnomah County

11. Reduce to Clear

Okay so this may not be for everyone, some people get a little iffy on food that is not in pristine conditions . And that is OK. Though the truth is, most of these food are still edible. That is why they are still being sold instead of thrown out completely. They are usually placed in the reduced to clear corner perhaps due to a crushed packaging, an approaching best before date, wilted leaves, etc and can still be consumed safely. That being said, trust your gut. Check these items thoroughly before purchasing and Stay away from leaking items, dented cans and mouldy food.

So there you have it, tips to help save on your grocery spending! Make a plan, and shop smart!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s