5 Tips to save on groceries

Grocery shopping tips and tricks

5 Tips to save on your Grocery shopping

As our financial constraints are increasing and our cash is getting less, it is important that you start shopping smartly. Here are some tips that you may find practical and implementable to save you a rand or six when shopping.

  1. Start with the malls

Find cheaper malls (where you pay less for parking and without ‘luxury’ shops), avoiding the mall that has all your favourite shops and restaurants.

Find a ‘mediocre’ store - a store of your favourite chain, but not the biggest, prettiest or best stocked, and not too far away from home or the office. These stores stock the essentials and basics but have none of the treats and temptations.

  1. In store

Do a price watch at all times and do a double-take when there are specials. Some no-name items are sometimes displayed as cheaper, but the real bargain is often found on the very same shelf. Do price comparisons, and if your chain displays the rand per gram price on the shelf (most useful), compare if bigger is really better. Sometimes two of an item is cheaper than one big package.

Bulk-buying is not always cheaper or better, but if your favourite, often-used, non-perishable brand is sold at a real discount (know your prices!) – Stock up!

  1. Shop with a plan

With ongoing fuel price increases, regular shopping trips for small items is not a great idea. So plan ahead and shop for what you always need and use, only once a month. Make and keep shopping lists continuously and shop accordingly, only the items on the list.

Deciding on menus for the week or the month means you buy only items you need, avoiding having meat in the freezer for extended periods which may rot during power cuts. It also removes the anxieties of “what’s for dinner?” and “do we have (item you need) at home?” Planning, preparing and cooking meals in advance means you buy your meat and veggies in bulk, prepare and utilise it for multiple meals with less waste, and you save a lot of electricity and stress and have more time in the week if you just have to take dinner out of the freezer on the day.

It is better to buy the fruit and veg that you need regularly and eat raw or fresh, on a regular basis. But do it on the way to work or home only once a week, so as to be fuel and time efficient, and to avoid having fruit go off.

  1. Keep calm

Some of our lifestyles do not allow the luxury of shopping at any other time but weekends. So we shop when there are huge crowds, month-end specials, and a recent pay check in the bank - this is not a reason to go wild. Don’t get overwhelmed, swept away by or along with the crowds: keep calm. Hordes of other shoppers who overload their trolleys does not mean you can afford (or need) all those items.

You could shop online, with the added luxury of having things delivered, but the net could be hazardous to impulse buyers.

  1. Plastic bags

If taking used plastic bags to the shop with you makes you feel like a pauper – get over it. The average price for a plastic bag is 65 cents. Re-using and recycling plastic bags is good for your cupboard, your wallet and our planet.

Start buying less treats. You might ‘deserve’ it, but being in control of your finances is the treat that lasts longer. Money in your wallet is better than an item in your pantry for months, and every cent not overdrawn or in the red is a bonus. So shop smart, and rather keep your money to yourself.