January is undeniably the longest month of the year. After getting monetary hits from Divali, Christmas, fete tickets and then, preparing to pay the rest of your down payment on your costume, there is no hiding that most persons are broke during this month. With that in mind, it’s important that we cut excess spending where possible. One of the easiest places to achieve that is in the grocery store, where thousands of dollars are spent every month. So, to help you get through this never-ending month, here are 5 money-saving tips that can make the most for less out of your grocery trips.
#1 Plan Meals
Planning meals weekly help you to organise exactly what and how much you need to buy. This tactic allows you to use what you already have and stops you from buying ready-made food which is always a costly option. However, scheduling meals can be a bit too structured and laborious for some. A good way around this is to have a few meals on rotation throughout the week. This means that you have the ingredients on hand for a solid 6 to 8 meals a month which you can decide to make on any given day.
#2 Shop In Season
Shopping in season gives you double the benefits. For one, in season fruits and vegetables always taste better than out of season produce. Secondly, because produce is seasonal, many vendors and grocery stores sell, making the competition high and driving down prices. Purchase and freeze produce for use ahead of time. E.g. Peas freeze extremely well. If you see affordably priced, in season peas then, purchase them, shell and freeze. You won’t have to pay an exorbitant out of season price if you’re in the mood for peas months later. It’s really the best of both worlds: delicious produce for low prices.
#3 Don’t Shop Hungry
Shopping when you’re hungry makes everything look really good, even things you wouldn’t normally purchase. All of a sudden you may want to purchase a snack, a dessert for after and a drink to go with it. You may even be persuaded to shop for a lot of unnecessary items for dinner. It also makes sticking to your grocery list and planned meals extremely hard. Moral of the story: don’t do it.
#4 Compare Cost Per Unit
This is a tactic that everyone knows but never does. Many times the cost per unit is lower in an item that’s more expensive but that has more volume. It is always worth your while to quickly utilise your phone calculator to double- check the cost per unit. Though your initial bill may be higher, in the long-run, you end up saving. We only recommend you do this for items that will finish. If you are purchasing a one-off, special ingredient, then just go with whichever is cheapest. You won’t economically win if the item you buy isn’t even used up.
#5 Make A List (And Stick To It)
Making a list helps you curb your thrifty habits in the grocery store. It also stops you from getting persuaded by fancy new ingredients or colourful packaging. At home, make your list according to meal plans, out of stock ingredients in your personal pantry and other essentials you may need (fruits, milk, eggs). Use this list as a guide for when you are passing vegetable stalls or doing your weekly shopping. It not only keeps you on top of what you’re purchasing but, it helps you remember to purchase produce where it is seen at an affordable cost.