Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Top 5 Ways To Save Money Shopping

How often do you do your grocery shopping? Every day? Every week? Every month?

Whatever your supermarket habits are, it pays to do a little preparation before you head off to the shops to stock up. Here are our top 5 suggestions to help you save at every step.
Bulk buying rice

1.       Bulk buying

Buying in bulk always makes sense, whether you are catering for yourself or cooking for your own little army. Look out for large items that can be stored for a long time. We recently picked up a 5kg bag of rice from a delicatessen. We always use rice and if kept correctly will keep for months.
Look out for the ‘price per kg’ or ‘price per litre’ labels on supermarket shelves, they’re sometimes in quite small print but they’re there. This will help you choose the best value items that you need.

2.       Special offers

This is probably an obvious one but do you take your time in the aisles and pause before you automatically reach out for your usual brand? Take a look around the shelves; are there similar items on offer or new items on promotion? If they are a close match to what you normally buy then why not try them? You can go back to the old favourites whenever you like.

3.       Own brands

I find that supermarkets are getting better and better at providing low cost items under their own branding. Many everyday products will have an ‘own brand’ version, they're cheaper and sometimes have less sugar or salt in them because of this. You might notice a difference in taste straight away, but after a while you get used to the new versions. It could be healthier and save you money as well.

4.       Seasonal produce

When buying fresh produce make sure that you always buy in season. Look out for the ‘price per kg’ or equivalent when looking at the labels. Often goods are shipped or flown thousands of miles to get to our shops. This is not only bad for the environment, it costs money, which is then passed on to the consumer, and the goods are grown and harvested in such a way that you end up with a poor, often flavourless product. Buy in season to always pay the least and still get all the taste.

5.       Plan with a shopping list

Going shopping without a list is always a mistake for me. It helps to jog my memory for the things I might forget, but it also helps me stick to the plan and not go off picking up impulse buys from the snack and sweet aisles.
Make a list before you head to the shops to help stay on budget and stick to your diet plan.

The killer

So that was our top 5 practical tips for when you’re in the shops, but here is an extra piece of advice that will get you through the grocery run without going off plan. It has served us well over the years and we always follow it.

Never go shopping on an empty stomach

There it is. Simple and straightforward but it can be the death of any well meaning shopping trip. Your stomach is rumbling, you can’t think about anything else, the last thing you want to do is go back home and cook. When you get home you have either already fallen and are trying to hide the chocolate wrappers or you empty your shopping bags in the kitchen only to find microwave meals and packets of chips. Don't worry, we've been there too.

Stop to take a breath before you enter that brightly lit grocery store, pause and think, am I hungry now? Maybe eat a piece of fruit, take a drink of water or eat a proper meal in advance. Make it a habit to carry a piece of fruit and a bottle of water with you wherever you go.
Follow only this last gold nugget and your diet and budget plans will always stay on track.

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