6 ways to save money while grocery shopping during this pandemic:
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with grocery shopping. Especially during this pandemic. We love to restock our favorite snacks and essentials, but also dread how it burns a hole in our already light pockets. But grocery shopping wouldn’t be such a hard task if only we took a few smart steps for a more stress-free shopping experience. Most of the tips here can be followed even post the pandemic and is a great way to save some moolah every month!
Tips to save money while grocery shopping:
1. Plan your meals.
Planning our meals can prevent us from buying excess of what we need. Your grocery bill mostly just consists of food. Let’s admit it. Hence, it is ideal for you to chart out what food you would like to eat through the coming week or two. Keep in mind your food habits. Include your main meals, and snacks that you prefer to consume while you plan it. You can always switch around and experiment with the same ingredients later, so you don’t have to be too detailed. A rough meal plan should be sufficient for you to base your list on.
Pro tip: It is also a great time to be mindful of what you eat, as you cannot make frequent trips to the store to satiate your cravings. So it is a great time to practice healthy eating habits!
2. Make a list.
Most of us end up binge- shopping when we don’t plan before we shop. Making a list and sticking to it can help us save thousands in the long-run. Being organized may not be in your DNA, but now is a good time to challenge yourself. Making a list is the next step to save some money while grocery shopping. Before you begin, go through your kitchen pantry and refrigerator, so you do not buy things you already have. Always check on your essentials such as flour, grains, salt, sugar, etc. which is extremely important to keep your kitchen running. Don’t stock up on too much junk as it only persuades you to keep snacking even when you aren’t hungry!
Pro tip: You can use a tool like Evernote to plan, organize, and make a list. Maintain a good balance between perishable and non-perishable items. For instance, buy a good quantity of fruits and veggies that won’t rot away too quickly, along with items like pulses, dry grains, frozen veggies such as corn, peas, or meat, which can be stored for long periods. This way, you have a wide variety of food to cook with, and the purchases also last much longer.
3. Look out for offers.
The pandemic has brought out a whole range of offers both online and in stores. Avail all the coupons and discounts you can find, without hesitation! This is a difficult time for all of us, and trying to save every penny possible is nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, it is a smart move, even when we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic. We often underestimate the money we could save through offers and discounts while grocery shopping.
Pro tip: Take help from your shopaholic friends and find all the best deals out there. They tend to have a better idea about the various deals available on groceries and other items!
4. Say no to ready-to-eat food.
Grocery shopping could be a lot cheaper if we just omitted the ready-to-eat food from our lists. Though it may seem like a good buy as they are easy to cook, it usually has a short shelf life and a higher price. For instance, things like pre-cut fruits, grated cheese, pre-cut veggies, marinated meat/ seafood, etc. Though it may make sense to buy these on days when we are short on time, investing in these during a pandemic may be a bad idea. It would be wiser to buy a block of cheese and grate it at home, or a couple of the fruits/ vegetables and cut them yourself. You could save a lot of money by following this little trick!
Pro-tip: While ready-to-eat isn’t your best bet to save money, frozen food is your best friend during this pandemic. They stay in your freezer for long periods of time, without rotting!
5. Stock up effectively.
Don’t be a hoarder! And we cannot reiterate that enough! Do not stock up on things unnecessarily. Someone who needs it out there may not be able to find any for themselves, which is unfair. How much soap or sanitizer do you really use, or how many packets of spices will you even use in a month? Also, when it comes to perishables, such as milk or ripe fruits, how many can you consume within a day or two? Thus, be aware of how much you can consume and make purchases accordingly.
Pro tip: Buy your groceries keeping in mind the amount of time before your next shopping trip. One week is a good period of time for you to efficiently stock up for.
6. Other insider tips.
There are a few other tips which you can pay attention to when you buy your groceries:
- Stay away from the middle aisles: Usually, the most essential items are strategically placed on both ends of the supermarket. All the other stuff lies in between, and it’s meant to tempt you to buy more. Don’t fall for the trap.
- Scan the lower and uppermost racks: Usually, the most expensive items are placed at eye level. Look for cheaper alternatives above and below the midsection.
- Don’t shop when you are hungry: Studies have proven that we make more unhealthy food choices if we shopped when we are hungry.
- Try and buy more seasonal vegetables and fruits: They tend to be cheaper than the exotic and non-seasonal items.
- Always double check your bill at the cash counter: Just to ensure there are no extra charges or to check if the discount/ offer has been applied.
- Swipe your card while grocery shopping: Roundups can help you save and invest the spare change when you swipe your card while grocery shopping.
To conclude, remember that your trips to the supermarket are limited, so make it as efficient as possible. Staying smart and safe is key to not just saving money while grocery shopping, but it is also the only way to protect ourselves from the pandemic! So stay safe and smart, while staying home!