1 | Stop, Look, Listen
The first thing to do is to observe your household and have a list of the following:
- Personal items (clothes, toiletries, medication, etc.) for each person, even those who are often away from home;
- All shared items (food, beverages, first aid supply, etc.), which, as the name implies, are used by everyone;
- Household items (cleaning supplies, appliances, fixtures, etc.) that can be shared with, but not necessarily used by everyone.
Once you’ve figured out those three, double check which ones are often used and easily depleted. Doing so would give you a clear idea on how often you should go to the grocery and how much of something you should be buying. If you’re in a condo where you’re staying with non-family members, it’s best to do grocery shopping like a family and split the bill on all the shared and home goods. Personal items can be paid separately, but if you see that you’re buying the same thing as another person, perhaps you can share?
2 | Weigh Your Options
Do you really need to shop to replenish your supply or not really? There are certain things in your grocery list that you can make or grow yourself such as fresh pasta and cleaning solutions, as well as herbs and spices. Sometimes, you just have to work with what you already have and create something healthy or cost-effective. Besides, producing instead of purchasing gives you a lot of opportunities to experiment and reduce costs.
Another thing to consider is your mode of shopping: in-store, online, or via personal shopping service providers. Buying in-store would be a good option if you’re after experiencing the products first-hand, as well as being able to add and remove items from your cart freely. However, it would be disadvantageous if you’re easily distracted and convinced to add more items you don’t even need.
Online shopping (shopping from the grocery store’s website) allows you to look for the specific item you’re looking for faster than in-store shopping. The downside of it is the risk of paying with your card, so you should shop at secured sites (check for the padlock symbol or the https:// at the beginning of the website address). Personal shopping service apps or online grocery and food delivery services are perfect to those who have little to no time for grocery shopping, and to those who want to be free from the temptation of adding more in their cart with the price tags and subtotal flashing before their eyes.
3 | Stay Tuned
Aside from watching your consumption, keeping tabs on your local market, supermarket, or go-to grocery store can score you discounts. Take note of the trends and patterns of when the store gets their new stocks, release new products, reduce their prices, as well as when they increase. Doing so gives you an idea of when to set your grocery shopping day. For instance, shopping malls usually roll out three-day sales on payday weekends and long weekends.
Aside from scheduling, you can also see which stores give better prices to help you decide where to buy. As mentioned earlier, you have to always weigh your options, even about where to shop. While shopping at the nearest store seems the best choice, the one on the next block or an online grocery shop might have better prices, so always be in the know.
4 | Bulk Isn’t Always Best
Keep in mind that you should not always purchase items on sale or on a promo, unless you’re certain you need it or will use right away. Same thing when purchasing items in bulk because of the reduced price, it’s best to opt not if the item on a promo is a personal item. Personal items usually take longer to consume unlike the shared and household items. If you’re buying in bulk, make sure it will be consumed in a month or so, as items sold in bulk usually are near their best-before dates or expiration.
Bulk promos might also be a result of a “limited supply”, but you would know when there’s a lack of supply of a certain product if you’re tuned in on the news, so know better and purchase in bulk only when you’re certainly in need.
5 | Bring Your Own Bag
As more shops and local governments have embraced sustainable and mindful living, plastic has become an expensive option in grocery shopping, which will cost you two or more pesos on top of your total grocery bill. Save those coins and bring your own sturdy grocery bag instead, which you can use even after several years. This way you’ll save not only your money, but the planet and its dwellers as well.
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