When money is a little tight, doing your weekly shop on a budget can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be.
With a few simple changes to your shopping habits and some self-discipline, you can do your weekly shopping while sticking to your budget while saving money and your tastebuds.
The idea is to save money on food without putting too much effort or aggravation into it. You can spend hours trying to find affordable meals. You can spend hours looking for low-cost alternatives.
It doesn’t matter at the end of the day if you don’t know how to plan and shop wisely.
Creating a Weekly Budget
The first step in saving money is to create a budget. Because groceries account for a significant portion of your monthly expenses, knowing your supermarket budget provides clarity and control over not only your grocery bills but also your entire cash flow.
Take a look at your spending over the last several to get an idea of how much you generally spend on groceries each month. This will give you a way to analyse and calculate what your new spend for each week needs to be.
At this point, we begin to shift our financial perspective. Your weekly budget isn’t a once-off thing; it’s not something you can either succeed or fail at. It’s an ongoing process with a fair amount of trial and error.
Change is for the Better
We all have our favourite shops. We know the layout, staff, and products. It may be time to move on. You can save a lot by switching to mass-market retailers, warehouse stores, and discount stores.
The name brand items are usually the more costly ones. Most big-name shops will have their house brand that is significantly cheaper than the name brand version. Odds are you won’t notice a massive difference between them, and you’ll be within budget.
First and foremost, those impulse buy items near the check-out counter are the enemy. All those extra little things add up and are how you leave your carefully calculated budget in the rearview mirror.
Make a shopping list and stick to it no matter what. What is more important? Your wallet or that slab of chocolate? Thought so.
Non-perishables, on the other hand, are the budget shopper’s best friend. You can stock up, generally getting a better price when you buy in bulk, and they keep for a long time. However, this doesn’t mean your pantry and fridge need to look like you’re preparing for the apocalypse.
Building up a pantry can seem daunting when you’re on a tight budget. A quick tip, making weekly additions of one or two long-lasting bulk products to your cupboard makes it easier on the budget. Those items might last for months, depending on how often you use them.
Know What to Buy and When to Buy It
Talk to your store’s manager and find out where they keep clearance items. Many stores will have a dedicated rack or shelf. It’s also helpful to know when new stock is added to the clearance rack or aisle.
Look for cheaper cuts of meat and seasonal food items to save money on fresh fruits and vegetables. You would believe that fresh produce is better for being healthy, but frozen vegetables are terrific as you get all the benefits cheaper and they last longer.
It’s always good to know which shops offer the best deals on the items you buy regularly. Having a price notebook is an excellent way to keep track of this.
Note the prices of your regular groceries at each shop, and you’ll be able to tell whether you’re getting a good deal or where you should go when you run out of something.
Meal Planning Saves Lives
It’s like going into battle without a plan. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.
Rather than coming with a weekly meal plan and then shopping for the groceries, have a look at your store’s sales first. You’ll be able to spot which has the better bargains and create a more balanced meal plan around that—saving time, money and your palate.
Shopping on a budget is a learned habit. At first, it will take more work and effort. If times are tough you might want to consider some financial assistance such as an instant loan.
But, over time, you will get better at it and continue to save more and more money. A final tip: never shop hungry because snacks will happen.