Foods – they constitute the bulk of our expenses. It’s one of the basic neccessities in life. This is the stuff of life – the stuff that you put into your mouth and others’. It includes the Starbucks coffee you buy during coffee breaks at work, grocery items you buy every week for your family, and other types of foods you buy every now and then.
This is such a variable figure and depends on your circumstances, whether you live alone, love cooking, or choose convenience food. It is however, an area where you can probably reduce your spending with more planning, and a bit of strategy:
Try these ideas to save money when doing your food shopping:
Don’t ever go shopping when you’re hungry or miserable because you’ll only make impulse or comfort purchases. Seeing freshly baked donuts, smelling the juicy rotisserie chicken and touching boxes of chocolate will intensify your cravings, making you dump a lot of items in your food cart. So steer clear of these sections if they are not in your list most especially if you are hungry.
Don’t bring kids when shopping. If you can avoid it, don’t take the kids with you because it’s hard to say no to the sweets, biscuits, and novelty yogurts they’ll clamor for.
Plan the meals for six days of the week. Look out for ways to stretch two meals out of one. Use the seventh day of the week to use up all the food leftovers.
Find the best buys. Prices vary in different supermarkets but you are likely to have to take into account convenience and hassle factor. Do your own comparison exercise on half a dozen key items to suss out where the best buys are.
Shop late. Some shops offer discounted prices late at night. Shop late in the day to get priced-down bargains of near sell-by-date foods.
Avoid buying pre-packed foods. If you can, buy foods in wet and dry markets (“palengke”) and not on supermarkets and grocery stores. You can use your bargaining skills more when dealing with sellers in the “palengke” as compared with sellers in supermarkets.
Be a do-it yourself shopper. Supermarkets usually offer pre-cut packed vegetables. However, you can save even more by cutting your own veggies for your chopsuey or pinakbet and will give you better quality slices.
Try to cut down your meat intake. Aside from the healthy benefits vegetables can bring in your health, meat is often the most expensive component of a meal. Use pork or beef meats to flavor your dishes instead of using them as your main food ingredients. Cook vegetarian foods a couple of nights a week.
Don’t buy bottled water; use a filter jug instead. Aside from being economic friendly, bottled waters are more expensive because of the extra pennies you’re paying for the bottle.
Do your food-ordering online. You will be astonished how much less you spend by not browsing the aisles and having a focused list. You can also spend less by cutting that transportation expenses in going to the food store. Just make sure that delivery fees won’t cost you that much.
Keep your eye in for a bargain offer either with the Buy-One-Get-One-Free (Bogof) deals on things you regularly use or by collecting coupons for usual purchases.
Be cautious on brands. Some foods are more expensive because they have brands. If you are not sacrificing the health benefits that branded foods might have over generic foods, then try to buy food items with less known brands. Definitely, they come in cheaper prices and can save you a lot.
Collect loyalty points at your supermarket and make sure you transfer them into something that will really benefit you, such as air miles or off-money vouchers.
Time it right. When buying for fruits, shop when they are in season. Fruits in season are not only at their sweetest, they’re also at their cheapest. When the market is flooded with beautiful, ripe mangoes sold for less, buy a lot. If you cannot consume it all at once before it rots, peel and cut them and put them to blender to make some great fruit shakes.
Use food fillers and extenders. Tofu products are cheap yet rich in minerals. And because they absorb flavors when combined with other ingredients, they’re great mix with meat dishes. Not only can tokwa make your pot of pork more nutritious, it also increases the number of servings you get out of a half a kilo of meat.
Most intstant noodles are only a little over P5 per pack. Add nutrients into your instant noodles by adding food extenders by tossing in some pechay, cabbage, or kangkong.
Weight it down. Check the net weight on the package of the food item you’re buying. A can of evaporated milk with a net content of 150ml that costs P18 is not necessarily cheaper than a 175ml that costs P19.25. You are actually getting more for your money with the milk in carton because it only costs 11 cents per ml compared to the 12 cents per ml for the milk in can.