5 ways how to save money on food shopping and reduce food waste
Steven Bennett | Jun, 8 2019
Food shopping is a beast many of us have struggled with at some point. After years of being a passenger in the food shopping experience, there comes a point when we become the master of our ship and the years of begging our parents for teddy bear shaped biscuits is over. Our time to sail the supermarket aisles and choose the treasures that we bring back home has arrived.
At first, this all seems amazing, but this freedom, left unchecked can leave us with empty pockets, a bin full of food and a much larger waistline.
To help you through the dangerous world of grocery shopping, here are five recommended ways you can lower the cost of your grocery shopping, save time and reduce your food waste.
1. Plan ahead
The single best way to lower your food shopping is to plan ahead. The biggest mistake, each and every one of us as made at some time, is to head to your local supermarket without a plan and start thinking about what you want to eat while you are there. These are the food shopping trips where your shopping cart ends up containing half the fresh produce aisle but none of the actual items you went in for. Six days later you are left with soggy dragon fruit, liquified cucumber and a much lighter wallet.
Before heading to the shops decide what meals you are going to have in the coming week, check any essentials that are missing and only buy the items you need. This is guaranteed to drastically lower your grocery costs and your food waste.
2. Don’t shop when you are hungry
After years of food shopping, and with the help of my much smarter wife, I have steadily become a bit of a veteran when it comes to food shopping. With all my discipline and skills; however, there is one lesson I often fail to learn which is - do not go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
Visiting the supermarket when hungry is the equivalent of swimming in shark-infested waters wearing speedos stuffed with scampi fries. It is a journey only the most disciplined of us should take.
With each hungry visit to the grocery store you put yourself at the mercy of delicious smelling baked goods, beautifully packaged limited edition billionaires cheesecake and the in-store sampling booth promoting the latest Pringles knock off.
When the time comes to do your food shopping, make sure you are fed and watered. It is one of the easiest ways to defend yourself from the sneaky tactics of supermarket psychological.
3. Food shop at the right places
This one isn't always easy, as convenience often trumps what feels like a small saving from a single grocery shop. Each of these single trips could end up costing you a hefty sum over the year.
The key is to find the shops that offer everything you need at a price point that is right for you. For some, it could be one supermarket over another, for others, it could be the local farmers market.
To prevent developing a sporadic shopping routine plan a schedule that can be committed to every week. This will put you in an excellent position to save as knowing your chosen hotspot will mean you know the products and prices, minimising the risk of bad purchases that lead to food waste.
4. Try to get your groceries for the week in one trip
Closely related to the planning ahead tip, this simple practice can save you a fortune and prevent waste caused by overstocking your fridge.
Maybe you are a stronger person than me but with each visit to the grocery store I am guaranteed to walk out with at least two extra items muttering “I only went in for milk”.
Setting a routine for your grocery shopping trips will give you more clarity on what you need and the period your groceries need to cover. Keeping to this schedule can then help you minimise visits and lower the chance of all the little extras you don’t need.
5. Don’t get sucked into the bargains and vouchers
Vouchers and bargains can be great for extra savings but only if they align with what you need.
I am terrible at taking advantage of discount vouchers. Most of the time I forget about them the rest of the time I purchase things I don’t even want. However this highlights my lack of willpower more than anything else.
If you do use vouchers, make sure you don’t end up spending more as a result. Don’t purchase too many of one item and don’t buy “bargains” you don’t need.
Summing up Food Shopping
A little planning and self-control can take you a long way when food shopping. You can save a small fortune in shopping bills while reducing the amount of food you throw away each week.
If you are anything like me, your discipline will only take you so far, if however you start to build a routine you will find your attitude towards grocery shopping slowly change. It may take a little self-control at first but eventually, you will easily be able to head to the shops for milk and leave without a box full of wagon wheels.