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Grocery shopping can end up being an expensive event each week and so many of us end up falling into spending too much each week. So I had a quick think on ways that I use to save money grocery shopping, and have them here for you.
Meal Planning and lists
Meal planning is a great way to reduce the cost of shopping. Knowing what you have in already, planning meals around those items or just planning what meals you want in advance and buying in exactly what you need, will save you money and reduce any waste from forgotten items that end up going past their use by date, hidden in the back of the fridge or cupboard. Check out my post about How to meal plan or my video How I meal plan on Youtube for more about meal planning.
Shopping lists can actually be very important when shopping. I will always make a list when I go shopping simply due to the fact you might think you will remember everything that you need but it is incredibly easy to add something or forget something and either end up having to go back to the store or worse, going to a convenience store that might have it but at a higher price! You should also stick closely to your list as you might end up adding something you might already have or be needing that week.
Check the apps
Mobile phone apps like Shopmium, Checkout Smart and Greenjinn can be very useful to keep costs down when you are shopping. Shopmuim and Checkout Smart allow you to try items at discounted prices and sometimes even for FREE, you will need to pay the full price at the checkout but these sites will refund you the money saved when you upload to them your receipt. Join Shopmium and use the code KHEMYGGZ for a FREE Lindt chocolate bar!
Emma and I have a folder on our phones that we keep all our money saving apps in, which includes these three apps.
Budget and Cash only
Setting a budget for yourself each week or month for your shopping and keeping track of your spending can end up saving more money than you would expect. Many people do not really think about or keep track of the amount of money they spend each week on shopping and as such it can end up spiraling out of control. After all how can you save money grocery shopping if you lose track of how much you have spent? By setting yourself a budget each week or month and keeping track out your spending within that budget you will be spending less money since you will be aware of what you will need and not thoughtlessly spending.
Keeping a budget and sticking to it can be hard at times though and I do end up struggling, which is why I end up withdrawing the budget in cash on the first day of the month. Doing it this way I can physically see how much that there is to spend, which makes me think a lot more about what we need and combined with meal planning can really make your money stretch. A great example of meal planning and making meals stretch is my post 15 meals I made to make a chicken stretch, where I made 15 meals out of £15 worth of ingredients.
Zeek is a great way to save money grocery shopping. You can buy vouchers and gift cards at discounted prices for many different stores. You do lose your ability to see exactly how much money you have to spend for your budget but you can limit yourself to only using the gift card as your grocery budget each month. For more information on Zeek then please check out my post Zeek Review and get £5 free.
Now this isn't for everyone and can take longer than an average shop. Every supermarket has different prices for their products and of course differing promotions every few weeks, so if the stores are close enough buy a part of your shopping in differing stores for whichever gives you better value for money. This does take longer however and if stores are too far apart it defeats the object of saving money but if close enough can save you that little bit extra.
My local area has a Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsburys and Aldi, of which the Aldi and Sainsburys are right next door to each other. As such I will buy my dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables in Aldi, especially when our favourites are on their Super 6, before heading over to Sainsburys for any other bits that we need.
Check the reductions
Every supermarket will do reductions on their products that are either being discontinued or reaching the sell by date. These can mean great savings, from getting items for only 10p or getting 50p off an item, but it is always luck of the draw on what is being reduced. Thankfully you can work out the time that a supermarket will usually do any reductions (these will change between each supermarket and can even suddenly change within a store you often visit). Emma and I absolutely love reductions and our freezer is often getting filled with them, we seemingly can't resist bargains when it comes to the reductions.
You can start spotting those people you will always meet at the reduction shelf!
Supermarkets are very good at making you part with your money. They know their trade well in order to get you to spend money within the store, promotions, manager favourites and other such methods. Promotions I find are usually the biggest hurdle since they will be usually the first thing you will see entering the store and will be at the end of each aisle throughout the middle aisle as you walk to the next place you need. Depending on the time of year the promotional items can have an increased presence throughout the store, my personal bane to save money grocery shopping is Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs, since they are usually only out around Easter and will be down nearly every aisle I walk down!
The temptation to buy extra or more I find can be worse when the store is busy or when you are hungry. As such Emma and I will never go shopping during the busier times of the day (5-7pm) or at weekends if we can avoid it. I find that when there is more people we end up getting caught up at their sort of pace which is more hurried and rushed, which can result in aggravation or rude behavior, which doesn't make a very nice shopping atmosphere, and can make us rush buy or even give up part way through. We understand though that many don't have a choice in when they are able to shop, which makes us more thankful to be able to be self employed. Being hungry when shopping can also make you more likely to buy something you wouldn't normally buy or that wasn't on the list to have either in the car or was just an impulse buy brought on by feeling hungry.
Is there anything you do different to help you save money grocery shopping? Or do you have your own personal temptation when out grocery shopping?