15+ ways to save money at the supermarket
14/12/2014| Sebastian |
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15+ ways to save money at the supermarket
15+ ways to save money at the supermarket are discussed here. Plan, prepare at home and avoid supermarket tricks is the key to save money. If you can think of others then you are welcome to post them below because the tips can help people.
Obvious ways to save money at the supermarket
Let us get these common sense ones out of the way first.
- Check your fridge, freezer and pantry. All of the nearly out of date products should be at the front. Then take a list to the shop so that you only buy what is on the list. I can walk in and out of a supermarket with only what I intended to buy because it is easier than you might imagine. I easily walk past aisles with chocolates, chips and other completely unnecessary foods (unless I plan to buy them for a social occasion). The next tip is part of the key to it all.
- Eat a meal or snack before you go to the supermarket. That way you are not tempted to buy something to eat in the car.
- Read the supermarket junk mail each time you receive some. Skip the rubbish foods on the first few pages and go straight to the pages of discounts on vegetables, fruits, meats and non-perishables. One week one supermarket might have discounts from Wednesday onward and the next week a competitor might have them instead. If competing stores are close by then play the discount game by alternating your supermarket shopping in different weeks.
At the shop
- Take cash rather than cards. That way you only spend what you have. It really is easy when you know how much your limit is because it forces you to buy only the essentials. If you have any money left just keep it, don’t buy anything else there of course.
- If you do have plenty of money left over then don’t spend more money than you have to, obviously. This especially applies to fuel discounts at supermarkets who double dip on profit in the shop and with the inflated price of fuel. Rewards points are a waste of time so again don’t waste more money than you need to just to earn a few points.
- Buy in bulk only when needed and shop once a week or preferably once a fortnight.
- Look at the lower shelves as well as the higher ones before you look at the middle shelves. The most expensive items are right in the middle where it is easier to reach. You might find a cheaper item of similar quality on the bottom or upper shelves.
- Completely ignore the display items at the end of each aisle. They are usually overpriced and something that you do not need. If it is something at a discount and you do need it and it is on your list then go to the usual aisle they are located in and see what other items like it are priced at first. You will sometimes find a cheaper brand of similar quality there.
Avoid psychological tricks
As dumb as it sounds, the best tip anyone can give for supermarket shopping is to simply completely ignore every psychological trick they use. It is easier than you think but as simple as this sounds you would not believe how many people regularly fall for some of it.
You might know where everything is in your local supermarket. That makes it incredibly easy to start at the boring end if you need anything on your list from there. Then you can work your way over to the other end with fruit and vegetables, ignoring most of the aisles you do not need anything from in between.
The same applies after they deliberately change the content of aisles around. Read the signs and simply pass the aisles you need nothing from. It saves you wandering through each aisle in the middle of the shop and seeing something you do not really need.
Of course, you should completely ignore prompts like the old Bi-Lo one of the “basket booster”. That was a joke for fools and still is with current prompts like it.
Special deals to get you to buy more
When you get to an aisle that you do need items from then ignore the 2 for 1 deals and other tricks. Read the quantity of each item and compare prices and buy only what you need. If items are discounted then sure buy a few but only after comparing the quantity totals first.
Sometimes two of the smaller quantities of a product “on special” can work out more expensive than one larger one with the same total quantity. So you are not saving any money at all, you are paying more. I have seen this simple trick with my own eyes and I could not believe the audacity of the place.
Also, when in one of the two major supermarkets keep your fingers crossed that they play that dopey misleading jingle as soon as you walk in. It is guaranteed to make you shop faster and get out quickly because it is played at least once every two minutes if not more regularly. I do not know how the poor staff put up with up that all day?
I laugh as soon as I hear it, then go straight to what is on my list, grab it all and briskly walk to the checkout in record time. I cannot stand hearing the misleading jingle. So it actually goes against what they are trying to achieve. I only shop there for some non-perishables once a week or fortnight and go elsewhere for the rest as a result.
General tips to save money at the supermarket
Anyway, here are other general tips for what to avoid or what to look for. It is all common sense but there might be a few that a reminder about could be helpful?
Limit packaged products, ignore specials scams
- Limit the amount of processed foods that you buy. They are not very healthy and you pay dearly for that shiny box or packet. Waste of money! You may as well walk outside and throw $5 notes into the wind. The packaging only ends up in the garbage so why buy any of it much?
- If you buy meat then buy healthy meats like chicken breast fillets from the deli section only. Don’t be fooled by a “special” sticker on just about every read meat item on the shelves near the deli section, if you buy red meat. There’s nothing special about it and unless it is actually at a discounted price it’s not on special.
The staff just go mental slapping that sticker on everything but you don’t need to be fooled by that. Just look at the price and take the meat out of the specially lit shelf to look at it under regular white fluorescent light. Anyway, you should be buying meat from a butcher and fishmonger but even some of them sell lower grade meat and fish at top dollar.
Bulk buys and considering alternatives
- Don’t buy breakfast cereals. It’s all high in sodium and sugar. Buy bran and some types of muesli with higher fibre and protein content. Check the sodium and sugar quantities first though. Use these with a banana and some apple slices on top and you have a big, decent breakfast. You can even use boiled rainwater (left to cool) instead of milk. So much cheaper and healthier that way! The same applies for porridge.
- Buy 32 pack toilet rolls for around $15 when they are at a discounted price. Some places have larger packs so buy them on special. Buying now like that will help to save money at the supermarket during the next trip when you don’t need them.
- Women should perhaps consider buying men’s razors. Don’t be fooled by the different packaging colour for women’s razors. Buy men’s razors instead because they are the same and cheaper. The same applies for some other items that both men and women may use from time to time. Women can save money at the supermarket, chemist or some other places easily by buying the men’s version instead of the women’s one.
- Don’t buy in bulk unless it is for some types of non-perishables (like the toilet rolls). If you are not a doomsday prepper then just buy a few tins of fruit or veggies or sauces and jars of spices when they are at a discounted price. There is no need to fill the garage when many tinned products really should be eaten within a year.
Vegetables and fruit
- If you cannot grow your own then only buy the amount of fruit and vegetables that can be eaten quickly to avoid wastage. Always buy these in smaller, loose, quantities rather than in the more expensive pre-packaged, larger quantities.
Always buy fruit and vegetables from a fruiterer and/or local market instead of a supermarket. That way you only come out with what you need and nothing else. The fruiterer is the only shop you should have to visit once or twice a week. Supermarket shopping can be delayed for a fortnight quite often with some planning.
Save money at home
- Don’t forget that if you overcook then create a spare meal or two out of the leftovers. Freeze these if possible or eat them the next day.
- Use Bi-Carb Soda instead of expensive cleaners to clean the kitchen sink and some of the other parts of your home. Why would you need a range of expensive cleaning products when Bi-Carb does a sparkling job? You may as walk outside and throw money into the wind.
Dilute, use alternatives
- Water down liquids like shampoo, dish washing liquid, hand wash liquid and washing detergent. You do not have to go overboard with this but it will last longer if you do it a little bit. Buy the largest size liquid you can when it is at a discounted price. Pour some into a spare container or two to water it all down.
- While you wait for the shower water to warm up, place a small clean tub under the water and move it aside when the water is warm. Guess what that spare water can be used for, apart from the garden? Diluting the aforementioned liquids and the rest can be used for clothes washing. Of course, you need a bigger storage container to store it in for a few days but you may consider it to be worth it in saving money? Online commenters will tell you to get a life. However, the savings on your water bill can be used to pay down debt while those commenters are going broke wasting their money like fools 🙂
- By the way, you can dilute milk with boiled rain water (left to cool) if you like? It tastes the same as powdered milk with water you add. You can double your quantity that way and freeze a spare container. Skim milk powder has almost the same quantity of sodium and other unhealthy ingredients as well as healthy ones. A bag of that will last you even longer, watered down and frozen, than milk in a carton or plastic container.
There are always tips around the place for what foods to buy to feed a family on less than $10-20 a day. Sadly, these tips are usually unhealthy ones. They encourage buying cheap foods that are either high in fat or high in sodium or both. I cannot tell you what foods to buy for such a budget. I will say that a small quantity of fruit and vegetables to eat raw or stir fried without oils is healthy and inexpensive. Add some sauces or pizza topper spices to liven it up a bit and you cannot go wrong. It beats a tin of baked beans!
Follow some of these tips and you will be on your way to being that quiet millionaire next door. Some of those people live a modestly frugal life but always have money in the bank to cover any bill and periods of unemployment. Of course, if you achieve that then you can do much more and live the good life if you wish. But you have to start somewhere.
Do you have any tips to share? Post them below if you like?
Footnote: I’m a guy and unlike many guys I don’t mind supermarket shopping. (Department stores are even easier to shop at because I only need a few items on rare occasions and that’s it.) However, I can “brag” about how easy it is to ignore all the silly tricks in supermarkets because I only get what is on my list and what I can afford with cash on me and that’s it. That’s how I save money at the supermarket.
There’s just no point in buying anything else in my experience in ignoring the tricks. When I know that I don’t need it then I just don’t buy it regardless of what enticements are there. I can plan to get some next time it’s at a discounted price if I need it then. It couldn’t be simpler but I understand that some people will not always see it that way. Although I rarely buy extra items and don’t buy impulse items at all, I can understand that some people cannot resist (especially if the kids are there).
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