Purchasing your weekly groceries can be pricey, let’s be completely honest, with the cost of inflation so astronomical and wages remaining stagnant, it’s time to become acquainted with being frugal. Yes, that’s right it’s time to be more financially disciplined and more forward thinking when it comes to grocery shopping. You can still be cool, hip and eat healthy on a budget – the two aren’t polar opposites.
Here are some tips on how to shop for groceries on a budget…….
Analyse your Refrigerator and Cupboards
This is a really good starting point for your grocery shopping because it will give a much clearer perspective of what you currently have stocked up and what needs to be replenished.
Scan your refrigerator and cupboards, you don’t need to make a list just yet (that tip will follow shortly), just observe the types of food (fruit, veg, poultry, pulse) you buy is it canned? is it frozen? or is it freshly boxed? Also, check the frequency on your purchases.
Compose a grocery list and stick to it
Once you have scanned your cupboards and refrigerator for what you need, it’s time to make a list.
I would suggest jotting down the necessities; things you consume the most (eggs, apples, quinoa, coconut, lentils), the correct quantity and/or size. Writing down your pre-purchases is a much safer option, as it lessens the chances of impulsive buying.
Set yourself a budget
Before you even think about leaving the house, it is very important to consider applying a budget. I cannot suggest how much that budget should be, as this will vary depending on frequency, the number of people, food consumption etc… Anyway, once you have an idea of what your budget is going to be, choose a method of payment (debit card, cash etc).
I personally prefer to put the money I intend to spend on my groceries in a money box, I do this so I’m aware of how much I’m going to spend on food in advance and it helps to adhere to my budget.
I would not recommend purchasing on a debit or credit card, if you are serious about being financially frugal, as bank cards leave room for excess spending, withdraw some money from the ATM and put aside.
Designate a grocery day
Appointing a particular day for groceries will not only provide you with some structure but also encourage you to stay within your limit.
The majority of people have a tendency to do their food shopping on a weekly basis, but this day may vary. Again, choosing a particular day of the week is useful for keeping track of this reoccurring day and keeps tabs on your existing stock.
Do some research/Shop around
Nowadays most supermarkets have an accessible website, where people can take advantage of home delivery. In your case, you are comparing and contrasting the prices of your produce in advance.
Generic brands or store brand items are a lot more affordable than brand names.
Another thing to look out for is any special offers, seasonal stock or clearance sales because these are friendly on the wallet.
Ultimately doing your research, saves a lot of time when it comes to your designated grocery day, granted not everything in a particular store will be affordable, but at least find a store that sells the majority of what you want at a low cost.
Don’t shop when you’re hungry
This is budget suicide and an absolute NO NO. I know this can sometimes be an impromptu thing to do, but this could lead to steering away from your list and buying (on impulse) a bunch of random things.
Worst still there’s even the possibility of overspending…..yikes!
Bulk buy your quantities and storage
Another way of sticking to your budget is to stock up on your regular purchases, so you’re constantly replenished. A good method to utilise stocking up is to buy produce in large quantities, especially non-perishable items like dry beans, condiments, just make sure you have a sufficient amount of storage space.
When I buy perishable items i.e. carrots, bell peppers, cabbage I lock them at their peak by storing them in a freezer bag and then freezing them. I don’t suggest bulk buying perishables if you don’t intend to eat your groceries immediately or opt for freezing, you’ll waste your money!
I forgot to say pulses and beans are a good source of protein; they’re cheaper than poultry and inexpensive when brought in bulk
Club cards, vouchers and Coupons
Supermarkets pride themselves on the ability to win over consumers; they use various strategies to maintain loyalty. A club card is a good way earn some redeemable points while you shop, so be sure to sign for at least one.
The points you earn can eventually be redeemed and used supplementary as payment for groceries. Stores and even on the internet show advertisements for coupons which can be used in store, so keep a watchful eye out for that.
Opt for frozen or canned fruit and veggies
There is a misconception regarding the quality of fresh fruit and veggies vs frozen, the only difference is the immediate freshness. Mind you, fruit and vegetables are frozen are during their peak, so they’re virtually the same in terms of quality.
Furthermore, you will save endless amounts of money buying frozen and/or canned stock. If you do plan on buying the canned version, make sure there’s no additives or preservatives, the produce should be 100% in its own juice or water
Keep track of prices/retain receipts
I’m guilty of inadvertently tossing out my receipt and not paying attention when I’m shopping or at the cash register. When you’re purchasing your weekly food, be vigilant of the cost per item.
The last thing you need is to pay an extortionate amount for your groceries. Also, retain a copy of all your receipts, this will help to keep track of your expenditure.
Finally a few extra tips, I cannot emphasise how economically viable beans/pulses are, not to mention their protein powerhouse properties.
Avoid buying those pre-packaged/ready made convenient foods; remember your aim is to shop healthily, from scratch and most importantly on a budget. My very last tip, this without saying, always keep a well-stocked cupboard and refrigerator.