Make a list and stick to it
Forgetting your list and/or certain items on it is a costly inconvenience. Not only will it have you going back to get the things you missed, you may also be tempted to pick up some things you don’t need in the second shopping trip.
Try making a list on your phone with check-marked bullet points. Cross them out as you go to save time and money while sticking to the necessities.
Planning dinners and lunches before doing the shopping gives you a comprehensive list of what you need, saving you time and money in not having to go out for forgotten ingredients. The question of “what’s for dinner?” becomes easier to answer when you’ve planned ahead and have the ingredients on hand.
Time your shopping trip
Shopping later in the day (especially closer to closing time) can lead to significant savings through price reductions on soon-to-be out of date items. Stores prioritise selling what they can, so items due to go out of date the following day will be discounted for sale. You can freeze certain items for later to easily to avoid food going off past its due date.
Another way to factor time into your saving plan is giving yourself a shopping time limit. This can make you less likely to linger in the snack aisle picking up things you (and your wallet) don’t need. Schedule shopping before an appointment or when you’re tired to give you an incentive to stick to your list and get what you need quickly.
The old adage of “don’t shop on an empty stomach” is one to follow if you want to save money on each grocery trip. When you shop for food while hungry, you’re more inclined to add things to your cart from outside your list. This leaves you with a lighter wallet, as your empty stomach does the thinking for you.
Online shopping is available through most major supermarkets in Australia, with options for pickup or delivery to suit your needs. Price comparison between supermarkets is readily available online, meaning you can find a low price on the items you need before even leaving your home. With online shopping you can also avoid in-store displays designed to encourage impulse purchases.
Buy home brands
Certain products on your shopping list can’t be replicated due to patented ingredient combinations, but many everyday products are similar (if not identical) in quality and content in home-brand form as they are in name brands.
Generic items like sugar, flour, table salt and many more are much cheaper under home brand than their brand-name competitors, saving you money for the same product – often in larger quantities for the price, too.
Buying in bulk could save you a lot of money on certain items, especially if you live in a shared household or have a large family. Pooling money with roommates to buy necessities like toilet paper in bulk can save you much more than buying small packs of four rolls every other day.
Buy more vegetables
Not only is a more plant-based diet beneficial for your health, incorporating more vegetables into your meals and adding some vegetarian recipes to your weekly food plan can cut your shopping costs significantly. Meat is much more expensive than vegetables, so by skipping out on meat dishes even one night a week you can make decent monthly savings.
Use a calculator
Waiting until you get to the checkout to watch the price climb higher than your budget isn’t a great way to shop smart. Using the calculator on your phone as you shop can inspire you to put some non-necessities back if the digits get high along the way. This might take a bit more time, but it can pay off at the end of the shop.