Do you know how much you have spent last month or last year shopping? Do you keep track of how much of your income is being spent on groceries or on food? Shopping behaviors and patterns impact our lives in many ways as shopping is one of the integral activities that we do in our daily lives. It is important to keep track of our shopping as it is an act of spending money, and if we are not careful about our shopping habits, it’s going to be very easy to spend much more than we can afford.
In this MoneyTalk, we will talk about some of the key things you can do to save money when shopping for groceries. Here are the key things we recommend:
1. Have A Shopping List
One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is by making a grocery shopping list and sticking to it. You should maintain an ongoing list of items that you are running out of by taking a regular inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezer. This list will help you to stay focused and avoid buying unnecessary items when you are at the grocery store. Sticking to your list will help ensure that you don’t overspend and go over budget. When you go to the store without a plan, you’re more likely to buy unnecessary items that will blow your budget. By having a plan and sticking to it, you’ll be able to save money on groceries without much effort. Of course, there will be times when you are at the store and notice that you have forgotten to add a certain item to the list, and it is okay to purchase such items that you need but have forgotten to add to your list. However, if you end up buying many such items which were not on your shopping list, then either you did not do a good job of making that list in the first place or you have purchased items that you did not need and had not planned for.
For example, while at the grocery store, you may see a deal for buying 2 loaves of bread at a discounted price. Due to the discount offered, you may end up purchasing 2 loaves even though buying bread was not on your shopping list. Now, most likely, bread was not an item on your list because you may already have an unfinished loaf of bread at home, and with the new purchases you now have two extra loaves of bread at home. If you end up finishing all the bread, great, but if you do not eat that much bread and eventually end up having to throw the bread in the bin, then you have clearly wasted your money. Similarly, if you don’t stay disciplined by purchasing only the items on your list, you will end up buying lots of unnecessary food items that you may already have at home and will then eventually end up throwing them in the trash due to the food getting spoiled or the item getting expired.
Keep in mind that most households end up throwing away almost 40% of their grocery. Now, just do the calculation on how much money could have been saved if they had not purchased all that extra food which they ended up throwing away. As a shopper, you really need to be critical and analytical of your shopping behavior and if you truly want to ensure that you are not overspending, then you need to put in the effort of creating an exhaustive shopping list and then put in an even better effort in ensuring that you stick to buying only the items that are on that list. You must stay disciplined, and you should not let your mind overcome with temptation to purchase items that you had not planned for.
2. Plan Your Grocery Trips
You should always make a timeline of when you will go grocery shopping. Your trip could be on a weekly basis, twice a week, twice a month, or any other frequency that suits your needs and budget. On every grocery trip, you would know how much you need to buy for a certain span of time because you are aware of when your next grocery trip will be. While preparing for your trip, pull up a calendar of menus for your and your family’s daily meals. You should have this meal plan ready for the entire week. Meal planning is essential to know the ingredients you need to purchase on your trips. This will help create an exhaustive shopping list. Additionally, you should regularly clean your cupboards, drawers, pantry and organize your food compartments. In this process, you will become aware of what you have and what you need.
When going grocery shopping, try to go alone. Taking your kids along with you on your grocery trip is not always a good idea. As kids, they may ask you to buy additional treats, which will add up a little extra to your budget. Shopping alone will also let you focus only on the items to buy on your shopping list. When you have company, you may get distracted or may get persuaded to buy non-essential items which are not on your list. Additionally, consider shopping in the late evenings. Perishable goods and other items are usually marked down during later shopping hours. Sometimes, your neighborhood may also host Sunday Farmer’s Markets. You will not only find fresh produce but will also be able to purchase them at a much lower cost compared to what you will find at the big grocery stores.
3. Take Advantage of Coupons, Cashback, and Loyalty Programs
With the advent of technology and digitization, coupons have become increasingly common and are frequently offered by grocers to get rid of unsold inventory. Coupons are a great way to save money when shopping and are becoming increasingly popular. You can find coupons for just about anything, so be sure to take advantage of them when you can. Along with coupons, cashback opportunities are a great way to save money when shopping. Many credit cards offer cashback rewards on purchases made with their cards. These rewards can add up over time, and they’re a great way to save money on your grocery shopping expenses. Additionally, many stores offer loyalty programs that provide rewards for frequent shoppers. These loyalty programs can include discounts on future purchases, bonus points, and other perks such as discounts on fuel at certain gas stations. Signing up for a loyalty program is a great way to save money on groceries, so be sure to take advantage of it!
4. Use Money Tracking Apps such as MoneyPatrol
MoneyPatrol is a great app to help you keep track of your spending. You can utilize the Tasks feature offered by MoneyPatrol to create a shopping list and keep a running list of items that you need to purchase. Using the Budgets feature, you can create Budgets to track your spending in various categories including Groceries. These Budgets will help you easily understand how much you have spent on Groceries and Food over time. You can also easily add tags and memos to your transactions. You can even upload your receipts and attach them to the transactions. Moneypatrol will make it super easy for you to stay mindful of your spending and will help avoid overspending on unnecessary items. Try out MoneyPatrol today and see for yourself how this app can help you.
Let’s summarize what we have discussed so far. In this MoneyTalk, we discussed how you can save money while grocery shopping by:
1. Having a Shopping List
2. Planning for your Grocery Shopping Trip
3. Taking Advantage of Coupons, Cashback, and Loyalty Programs
4. Using money tracking apps such as MoneyPatrol
Remember, one of the best ways to save money when shopping is to resist temptation and always stick to your shopping list. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it – even if it’s on sale! This can be difficult, but if you stick to your guns, you’ll be able to save a lot of money in the long run. Having discipline is key when it comes to money-saving!