It’s all too easy to walk into the supermarket to buy bread, only to find yourself leaving with everything from stuffed olives to that new chocolate bar. Spending less at the store is one of the best ways to save money. Here are some simple tips to save money on groceries:
1. Create a weekly meal plan.
Flip through recipe books and browse your favourite foodie blogs to create a meal plan that fits your household budget. Aim for a week's worth of recipes that use up all the ingredients you buy so nothing goes to waste.
2. Make a shopping list and stick to it.
Plan your shopping list from your meal plan and don't add anything else to your basket.
3. Shop once a week.
The less you go to the store, the more likely you are to stick to your personal budget.
4. Identify your most expensive items.
Check your slip from the last shop and circle the most expensive purchases, then see whether those can be substituted with something cheaper.
5. Buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk is less expensive for certain items. However, it’s wise to compare prices and check expiry dates before you do.
6. Shop on a full stomach.
Grocery shopping on an empty stomach leads to impulse purchases. Skip the tempting rotisserie chickens and stick to the list!
7. Look high and low.
Stores lay out their shelves with the priciest items at eye level, so check above and below for the same product at a more competitive price.
8. Chop your own veggies.
Pre-packaged vegetables and fruit are more expensive because you’re paying for the convenience.
9. Skip the toiletry aisle.
It may be convenient to buy everything in one go, but toiletries are often cheaper at health and beauty retailers.
10. Don’t be seduced by brand names.
The store’s own nameless brands are likely cheaper and, more often than not, excellent quality.
11. Skip the ready-made meals.
The convenience range is enticing, but it’s also going to rack up your grocery bill. Rather buy the elements of a Greek salad or ham sandwich and make it at home.
12. Eat seasonally.
In-season fruit and vegetables aren't only tastier, they’re more affordable too.
13. If you can, leave the kids at home.
Chances are they’ll want something that you don’t need and it’s not that easy to say no when there’s a tantrum brewing.
14. Grow your own herbs.
You can buy a whole plant for the price of a few sprigs at the store.
15. Hunt down the specials.
Look for in-store specials in pamphlets, the local paper or visit your store's website.
16. Stick to specific aisles.
The more aisles you walk through, the more likely you are to add unnecessary things to your basket. Focus on your list and avoid unplanned purchases.
17. If it’s on sale and you use it, stock up.
For example, buying 10 on-sale packs of toilet paper instead of one will save you in the long run.
18. Keep an eye on the till.
Keep a look-out when the cashier scans your purchases. Sometimes special deals don’t reflect, so pay attention and check your slip afterwards.
19. Join loyalty programmes.
Sign up and learn how they work. Cash-back deals and grocery coupons can help you save money on groceries. Every little bit helps.
20. Use what you have.
Regularly do a check of what’s in your fridge and pantry and plan meals around what you have.