Several expenditures I've made recently have led me to examine my budget more thoroughly. One of the things that struck me is how food takes up a major portion of my budget allocation. Although food is a necessity, it doesn't mean we should just buy food without any regard for its cost. My research on this topic has actually opened my eyes to the very real possibility of unwisely overspending on food.
I have come to learn that people who’ve dealt with this concern implemented some great idea we can copy. If you're motivated to save on your food expenses, I'm sure you'll easily find your way to try some of these techniques. I do believe, however, that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each of us is unique in our own way that's why the solution to our problem may be different from one another.
But the only way for us to know which solution fulfills our own need is to try our options.
1. Twice-a-month ShoppingThe idea behind this technique is quite simple. The less you go to a store to shop, the better able you will be to avoid buying on impulse. This actually makes a lot of sense. Even if you’re the type of person who brings a shopping list to the grocery store, spur-of-the-moment buying is hard to resist. If the only items on display were the stuff you need, there would have been no temptation. But every store is stocked to the full with all sorts of things. And as you pass by them, giving in to your cravings is a matter of when not if.
Obviously, reducing the number of your trips to the supermarket should be planned well to succeed. The less you shop for food, the more you’ll have to buy each time just so your supplies can last until the next scheduled shopping. You’ll have to consider the size of your refrigerator because its capacity will be your upper limit especially for items that need low temperature storage. You’ll need to plan the consumption of perishable goods such as fruit and vegetables. You will have to consume those which will last for a short period of time first so you won’t have to throw anything away.
It’s quite possible that after analyzing your own situation, twice-a-month shopping is just not attainable. Don’t fret. The idea here is to reduce your trips to the supermarket as much as you can. Know what you can possibly do better and try it. If you can do it once a week, then you can start with that. Or if you think you are capable of doing shopping once a month, what’s there to lose by trying it out?
My own personal experience tells me, we haven’t given this the consideration it deserves. I think our trips to the supermarket could be lessened dramatically. We currently go shopping at least twice a week because that’s how we’ve been doing it ever since. The amount of supplies we have in storage dictate our decision to go shopping or not. We have no predetermined schedule that we are trying to meet. I think we can change that and make it at once-a-week for starters before going to twice-a-month.
2. Shop With a ListIf you are serious about saving money on food shopping, then a shopping list is a must. There’s just no way of knowing when you’re spending beyond budget without a list for reference. You could be way over your allocation but you wouldn’t really know unless you’ve planned your shopping in advance. A list won’t eliminate impulse buying and overspending but it will make you aware when you’ve done so. This will hopefully reduce the number of times you will allow overspending to happen.
It’s not difficult to create a list but you’d want to make sure what you have reflects both what you need and how much you can afford. Making the list takes into consideration your budget allocation for the items that you intend to buy. If you made up your list without any limitation, it won’t help you save money.
Once you’ve got the appropriate list with you, the final hurdle is sticking to what’s in it. It would be very easy to ignore the list and just buy as you please. That would render your shopping list useless. So the challenge is to have the discipline to follow your own plan. It won’t always go smoothly but knowing that you stumbled will help you do better next time.
3. Unit PricingBuying in bulk is a common advice given to save when shopping for food. But it doesn’t always work. Sometimes the packaging is done in a way that makes buying in bulk much more expensive. I know it doesn’t make sense for sellers to do this but you should know that it happens. So to make sure you’re buying at the best possible price, you should use your cellphone calculator to compute for the unit price.
Knowing the unit price of any food item will also help in doing a comparison with another brand or type of food. Sometimes packaging is made in different sizes or volumes and so the price comparison may not be straightforward. But if you have the unit price for each, it’ll be easier to compare and make a decision.
Hope these tips will help you save money on food. And when you do decide to try any of them, let us know how it went. We’d love to learn from your experience. Good luck!