Recently updated on: September 20, 2023
Grocery shopping gets a bit harder every time prices increase due to inflation. The sad part is that most people's income increases are far from how much the cost of goods and services has been.
When this happens, we need to find creative ways to maximize our grocery funds to buy necessities and save some money on groceries.
Here are 13 ways to save money on groceries.
Table of Contents
1. Stick To Your Shopping List.
Your shopping list is crucial whenever you go to the grocery store because it helps you stay on track with the things you need to buy and avoid things that are not to avoid overspending.
However, your shopping list will only be useful if you stick to it by buying things not on it. So before going to the grocery, you should list everything you need so you will not forget anything.
You may use the traditional pen and paper list or a grocery list app to cross out the things you have already bought easily.
2. Make a Meal Plan.
Making a weekly meal plan of the food you want to cook will help you decide which items should go on your shopping list. You can also avoid impulse purchases and limit your options to the things you need.
For instance, if you want to cook spaghetti, you must include pasta, sauce, ground meat, cheese, and other ingredients on your list. This will help you remember the items that go with each dish.
Your meal plan will also help you quickly decide what you will cook for the week.
3. Compare Prices.
As you get accustomed to grocery shopping, you will eventually realize that not all grocery stores are equal because some would offer lower prices than your go-to shop.
For instance, we don't usually buy meat products in grocery stores because our local butcher's prices are often lower and fresher than their counterparts.
Similarly, we buy our fish and seafood at our local fish port, which offers lower prices and a fresher selection.
Comparing prices can also apply to other things on your list, especially the things you often buy.
4. Buy In Bulk.
Buying in bulk is a good idea for items that doesn't have expiration dates or has a long shelf life. But keep in mind that you should have storage spaces in your house.
Since you are buying in volume, some stores offer discounts and promos that can help you save money in the long run.
Some items that are best bought in bulk are toilet paper, shampoo, laundry detergents, toothpaste, food storage bags, and canned goods.
5. Use Coupons and Discounts.
Some stores offer coupons on their products that you can use to save some cash, so be on the lookout for them. Some stores also provide promos on certain products that can help you get discounts.
Another is if you're living with senior citizens, you can bring their cards with an authorization letter to avail of the 20% discount on selected grocery items - though some stores may require the personal appearance of the cardholder.
6. Buy Generic Brands.
Our society has put too much emphasis on brands, but sometimes those brands are just names, and their qualities are not too far from their generic counterparts.
The good thing about generic brands is they are often cheaper but can still be at par with popular brands.
Some of the things that we should buy generic brands are prescription medication, cleaning products, condiments, food storage, and even gasoline.
7. Avoid Convenience Foods.
Convenience foods like pre-cut vegetables, packaged mixes, and marinated food products are often more pricey than if you'll make them yourselves.
However, cutting your vegetables, making your own mixes, and making marinate yourself is easy, won't take too long, and costs less.
8. Bring Your Own Shopping Bags.
There has been more push for the plastic-free Philippines recently initiated by LGUs, which is a great thing for our environment.
However, this means that access to plastic products, particularly plastic bags, is banned from groceries or sold for a fee.
So if you're living in a city or municipality with this ordinance, it is best to bring your shopping or tote bags to avoid buying them in the store. Plus, it is more environmentally friendly.
9. Shop During Off-Peak Hours.
Though off-peak hours in most major grocery stores don't affect the prices, that's not the case in public markets.
Many sellers sell their products at a huge discount in the early mornings than during peak hours. However, I wonder if this is also practiced elsewhere or just an advantage of living in the province.
For instance, in our local public market, fruit and vegetable prices are much cheaper late in the evening (after 10 PM) or early in the morning (before 6 AM) than at any time in the day.
10. Shop Alone If Possible.
Shopping alone is preferable, especially if you have kids, because it's almost impossible that they don't ask you to buy them some snacks.
By shopping alone, you can focus more on sticking to your shopping list and avoid non-essential purchases.
11. Maximize Your Grocery Rewards Card
Many major grocery stores and some local stores have established a compensation system for loyal customers using their rewards cards.
Some stores offer exclusive promos and discounts if you use their rewards card. These cards may also incur points for every few hundred you spend like you'll receive P1 for every P100 purchase.
Some stores even offer point systems and raffle tickets for awesome prices, like cars, motorcycles, and free groceries at the end of the year if you use their rewards card.
12. Shop on a Full Stomach
Shopping on a full stomach is very important when grocery shopping because you'll be less likely to buy snacks or foods not on your list. You can always cook at home so you can save more.
This is also connected to why you should do your groceries alone because if you go with your spouse, partner, or kids, you may be tempted to eat out, which is already beyond your shopping budget.
13. Buy Only Enough Perishable Products For a Week.
Buying perishable products like meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits in one go is easier because it is more convenient. However, after a week, the freshness of those products, especially fruits and vegetables, deteriorates quickly.
So it is advisable to shop for perishable goods weekly instead of twice a month to ensure that your family is always eating fresh.
Prices of goods and services will always continue to go up, which is why we need to be more strategic with our finances and grocery shopping habits.
However, we can only do so much to cut back on our expenses without degrading our overall well-being. So, aside from cutting back on costs, finding ways to earn more will be helpful.