Making your grocery budget go further

Happy couple doing grocery shopping with woman sitting in shopping trolley at a supermarket

It’s amazing how you can stretch your grocery budget when you shop smart. Getting more in your trolley for spending the same amount (or less) is a fun challenge and it can easily be done! All it takes is a little planning to do some savvy shopping. Here’s our top ten Shopa tips for getting more for less.

Tip 1 – Do a weekly meal plan and shopping list (and stick to it!)

Clever marketers spend millions of dollars each year on tactics to try and get you to spend more. Supermarket managers also carefully place their product displays to try and get you to buy more. (Think lollies at children’s eye level!)

Have you ever wondered why the ‘staple’ grocery items are usually near the back of a supermarket and the ‘impulse’ items are near the checkout? We’ve all done it – Walked through the aisles to the back of the store where the milk is and grabbing unnecessary extras on the way through and then picking up chocolate and a magazine at the checkout.

But if you plan your meals for the week and do a shopping list (app lists are handy!) and stick to it, you’ll be in front. You’ll keep more money in your pocket and won’t buy anything that you don’t really need. Except maybe the chocolate.

Tip 2 – Do a checklist before you shop

You’ll often be surprised at what’s in your pantry, fridge or freezer that you’d forgotten about and can include in a meal. Check the perishable items for freshness and expiry dates so you’re not buying things you don’t need. Grab your reusable shopping bags and off you go!

Tip 3 – Look for specials

Keeping an eye out for specials is a sure-fire way to make your grocery dollars go further. Every supermarket has weekly specials and clearances that can help you save money. More expensive items like meat are often marked down the day before…..It’s a great idea to check the discounted products out online before you shop and plan your meals (and your shopping list) around them.

Tip 4 – Shop alone (if you can)

If you can avoid taking your kids with you when you shop, make sure you do. Kids can use ‘pester power’ and you’ll be out of cash and patience!

Tip 5 – Use supermarket rewards programs

Many supermarkets offer loyalty programs. The more you spend with them, the more points you earn. Once you reach are certain number of points, you’re entitled to a discount off your grocery bill. Some even offer other freebies. It’s also worth checking out if there’s a credit card that has a points loyalty program partnered with your supermarket. Every bit helps.

Tip 6 – Buy non-perishable items in bulk and store them

Buying non-perishable groceries in bulk and storing them can save you plenty of money (and time re-purchasing) in the long run. Things like toothpaste, kitchen towels, toilet paper (if you didn’t over buy during lockdown!), shampoo, washing detergent, handwash and soap, tinned food, rice, pasta, tea, coffee and soft drinks bought in bulk can often save you heaps! Keep an eye out for the best deals on your regular buys.

Tip 7 – Making meals from scratch

Home-made meals using natural ingredients will not only save you money, they’re usually better for you too. Fruit and vegetables that are ‘in season’ will usually be cheaper too! There’s plenty of recipes online based around seasonal buys.

Tip 8 – Cook to create leftovers

Cooking more than you and your family need for your nightly meal is a great way to get a cheap second meal the next day out of the leftovers. This is a really handy tip if you need work lunches – you could easily save $50 a week by bringing your own food to work.

Tip 9 – Try different (cheaper) brands

It’s good to try other brands – you might find a better option and a new ‘favourite’. Supermarket brands are also cheaper than ‘name’ brands and they’re worth checking out.

Tip 10 – Don’t shop when you’re hungry

This is a rookie error….If you do, you’ll end up buying more!

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