There are many ways one can reduce a grocery bill: you could stay away from the grocery store when you’re hallucinating with hunger; you could use coupons on double coupons day and you could decide you will only buy those items you really need.
These are all excellent tips and we should really use them more often. But there are other ways to make sure you do not receive a slight shock when you reach the checkout point.
It’s so easy to say one should always have a grocery list, but just how often do we sit down to compile one? Shopping for food sometimes becomes a race against time, shoving anything (and everything) into the trolley. Take some time to list what you need before you go to the supermarket. That should give you an estimate of what your bill would be. Make sure you have listed everything you need until your next shopping expedition and then draw enough money for it. Leave the rest at home, or in your bank account and do not be tempted to use more. This should cut down on frivolous shopping because you will not have credit cards or extra cash with you.
There might even be a supermarket nearby you with a rack that is set aside for day-old bread, or that has an “about to expire” meat section. Be careful when buying such produce, but you should be able to tell whether you could still safely use the items. To be sure it does not go off, use it right away and do not let it sit in your refrigerator for too long.
Think of the time of day, time of week and even time of month that you do your shopping. You may find that it is best to shop early in the morning so that you get all the fresh goods and when it is not too busy. You’ll be able to do a better shop and not rush into buying anything you do not need. Try to avoid the first day or two of the month. Some stores increase their prices because they know this is the time when people receive their welfare cheques.
Buying in bulk could make sense at times but you should still do your comparisons with other stores. What is surprising is that your local grocery store could be as inexpensive as the bulk store. Sometimes they might even be cheaper. Also factor in the distance you need to travel to get to a store selling in bulk. If you need to spend more petrol just to save a couple of pounds, it may very well not be worth it.
Search everywhere for savings. Grocery stores might put the higher priced merchandise at eye level and insist on placing the lower priced generic and store brands at a higher – or lower – level. While it is true that generic brands or store brands might not always be less expensive, you could sometimes get a substantial saving on your weekly shop by using those brands.
Some stores have also begun listing the cost per item or ounce. This is a far more reliable way of comparing items when shopping. You won’t be duped into thinking the 600g packet is cheaper than the 800g when you realize the latter is ₤5 more expensive per kilo!
If you have children, you may want to find another parent who is willing to trade shopping times with you. It’s much easier doing your weekly or monthly shop without children, as you won’t be tempted to buy extra items just to keep the quiet. This would also guarantee you have more time to do that valuable comparison shopping and you might even have a moderately enjoyable shopping experience!