In the past, I would spend hundreds of pounds on my weekly shopping and would ask myself, “How in the hell did this happen?” Then, I’d return the very next week and dance the same tango. Eventually, I had a very emotional conversation with my wallet and together we decided to make some changes in order to save its life.
So here, I put together a list of 18 tips that may spare you some of those WTF moments after your shopping.
- Make a shopping list.
Are you afraid of turning into your mum? Well, I think you’d find that she was thinking along the right path. Besides, a list allows you to have a battle strategy for when you get into the store. And don’t just make your list; you NEED to stick to it, as much as possible. I know, easier said than done but it would save you from having that pesky buyer’s remorse later.
- Do some research.
I know this may seem daunting, but if you’re really serious about saving on costs, it really is worth it. Go to the online store and check out the prices of all the items on your list. This would give you an idea of how much you’re likely to spend in store. Also, taking this a bit further, what I find helpful at this point, is to withdraw said amount from my account. This would serve as a way to limit me to that amount. Don’t forget to bring your calculator with you to the store.
- Compare prices.
Part of the earlier point, you could check the price of items on your list on a few other stores for comparison. You’d be surprised how much you could save this way.
- Shopping bags.
Save a few pennies on those shopping bags and bring your own from home. Most times, cause I walk to the store, I also bring my wheelie to make it easier to transport.
- Don’t be tempted to overfill your basket.
If you’ve followed the tips above, you’re already on your way to fulfilling this point. But just for good measure, avoid the bigger carts if you don’t need it. Also, you may want to consider putting your shopping bags in your basket/cart to take up space to avoid the temptation to overfill.
- Location, Location, Location.
From my own experience, I find that it is easier on my wallet if I do a big haul in a bigger store. I usually find that all the best deals are in the big store and sometimes; the prices of individual items are lower in bigger stores. Plus if I get everything I want in a big haul, I’m less likely to spend randomly during the week.
- Skip aisles.
Is there an aisle where in your heart you know there’s nothing you need? I advise you to skip it. Save yourself from temptation. Plus it also shaves off time from how long you need to spend in store. Remember, the less time you spend in a store, the more you’re likely to avoid temptations.
- Ditch the brands.
I know you’ve seen these brands, millions of times on TV and in store. You probably even normally use it. But how about you try store brands? Or less known brands. You may find it’s the exact same quality, just less money. I usually use this for things where taste is not a factor.
- Reward system.
Does your store have some kind of reward system for shopping? Like a Clubcard? Use it; you’d be surprised how much you could save like that. I know most stores give you coupons and vouchers. Use them cause, every penny counts.
Be on the look out for those juicy deals. Is there anything you know you normally use? Is it on offer? Go crazy. The other day, my bestie went shopping for shrimps to make a meal, she found them on offer but only got what she needed for that meal. I warned her to indulge in the deal and freeze whatever she didn’t need. Did she listen? Nope. Trust, the next day she wanted to use shrimps for another meal, she went back to the same store and the offer was off. She ended up spending more than if she had just listened to me in the first place.
On the other hand, be very wary of these deals. You need to ask yourself if you really need x amount of produce for y amount of money. If the answer is no, then pick exactly what you need and move on.
- Yellow sticker deals.
Do you normally see those yellow stickers on some produce which read reduced for clearance? Don’t be shy of them; get in and save yourself a tonne of money.
- Discounts on items about to expire.
Employees may be able to offer you a discount on bakery and meat items that expire the next day – just ask. Worst-case scenario, they say no. What have you got to lose?
- Bulk buying.
Consider buying bigger quantity for non-perishables you normally use. For me, it was stuff like rice, pasta, toiletries, cleaning products and beauty stuff.
Also, don’t forget tip 10?
- Do a little math.
Don’t be afraid to do some basic math – is it cheaper buying per pound or buying multi-packs? Besides, this way you have control over the quality.
- Shop inside out.
Normally, the produce section is in the front of the store. I don’t know about you, but whenever I get to that aisle, I get very excited cause I know this is where the “healthy” stuff is and I want to feel good, so I go on a spree and get every fruit and veggie known to man. But I find that it helps if I start inside and make my way to the produce section. That way, I have a system, I’ve built momentum and I’m not as eager to pick just about anything. Also making a list of exactly what fruits and veggies I want helps.
- Alternative stores.
Sometimes, buying some items at a different stores could save you some money. Try the local hole in the wall stores, sometimes; they have some pretty good deals. For example, I normally got my cleaning products from the Poundland rather than the other stores as I found it was cheaper but basically the same quality.
- Don’t be afraid to ditch items at the last minute.
That an item is in your basket, doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Do you think you don’t need something? Put it back where you got it from or give it to one of the staff in store.
- Be creative.
Normally, I would buy bread and have it sliced in store and once I get home, I’d freeze it and take each slice, as I needed it. That way, I could use the bread for longer and wouldn’t be bound by the expiry date and have to spend more money to replace it
What are some of your money saving tips at the grocery store?