If you are on a tight budget, it is often difficult to reduce your expenditure on essential groceries. It is much easier to eliminate expenditure on non-essential items and activities, such as clothing, DVDs and dining out, by simply staying away from the stores, websites or companies that offer such things.
However, since we all need to eat, it is impossible to avoid the supermarket (or online grocery ordering) for any length of time. This makes it more difficult to reduce expenditure on grocery shopping, especially if you are accustomed to spending a fairly large amount of money.
The good news is that there are some straightforward ways in which you can reduce your grocery bill and save money on the items you need. Here are some tips:
Buy Loose rather than Pre-packed Fruit and Vegetables: Pre-packed fruit and vegetables are always more expensive than loose produce, because you are paying extra for the packaging. If you spend just a few extra minutes placing the produce you need in individual bags, you will save money. You will also be unlikely to buy more than you actually need and this will reduce wastage considerably.
Cut Down on Convenience Foods and Cook Meals from Scratch: It goes without saying that ready-made meals and other convenience foods are more expensive than freshly cooked meals. If it is impossible for you to stop buying convenience foods altogether, try to keep them to a minimum. You and your family will benefit from a more healthy diet if you cook as many meals as possible from scratch. However, this also takes a little organization, so….
Plan Meals in Advance and Take a Shopping List with You: You will be less likely to overspend on your grocery shopping, if you plan all of your meals in advance and take a shopping list with you. Look on the Internet, in magazines or cookery books for inspiration and new recipes. Try to base meals around inexpensive staples such as pasta, rice, and ground beef, rather than more pricey food, such as fresh fish and expensive cuts of meat.
Buy as Many Own-Label Products as Possible: Supermarkets’ own-label products are much less expensive than branded goods. However, the quality of own-label products is usually similar to that of the equivalent brand, and own-label goods are often made by the same manufacturers under contract to the supermarket. The only difference is the packaging – own-label goods have bland, basic, no-frills packaging but this should not be a concern as the packaging will only be thrown away. If you are cooking meals from scratch, own-label products will be indistinguishable from branded goods, once all the ingredients are combined.
Order Groceries Online for Home Delivery: Although it sounds surprising, most people will see a reduction in their grocery bill if they shop online, even when the cost of home delivery is taken into account. If you are skeptical, try online shopping for one month and then use your bank and/or credit card statements to compare your total spending on groceries with your expenditure at the supermarket in the previous month. The main reason for a decline in expenditure is that impulse buys are reduced to virtually zero. Other benefits of online grocery shopping are that you don’t have to fight your way through a crowded supermarket and wait in long lines at the checkout.
Hopefully these money saving tips will help you to keep some of your hard-earned cash in your pocket by decreasing your expenditure on grocery items.