6 tips to take your next grocery shop further

The cost of a weekly supermarket shop these days is through the roof, up in the clouds, and way up hanging out with those fancy satellites in space.

It’s become one of the hottest topics in the media lately, with one article highlighting that a weekly grocery cart in 2019 cost $395 compared with $427 for the same items today for a family of four. That’s almost $130 per month extra in just the past few years, and it’s no wonder that we’re all feeling the pinch.

So, if you’d like to try some new ways to cut costs without resorting to two-minute noodles every night of the week, we’ve got six tips that might be able to help.

1. Go bulk or go home

In some instances, bulk buys can be your best friend at the supermarket.

From toilet paper to frozen veggies, giant bags of rice to bulk bags of oats, there are often bulk bargains to be found at supermarkets and stores. If your family consumes a lot of a certain product, consider taking advantage of buying in bulk as the overall cost per meal (or use) may be much lower than purchasing standard sizes more often.

2. Be frugal with the perishables

New Zealand homes throw away approximately 157,389 tonnes of food per year. That’s almost all perishables that have gone off before we’ve eaten them, from potatoes that start sprouting in the back of the cupboard to the cucumber that never even made it out of its plastic wrapping before turning to mush.

If you’re finding that you’re throwing something out every week, consider cutting back on those perishable purchases. Even if they’re a good deal at the time, it’s only a waste of money if no one eats it before it goes off.

3. Consider different sources

Your local supermarket might be conveniently close, but it might not be so convenient to your budget.

You can try your own food price comparison between supermarkets with a number of basics (such as bread, butter, milk, and bananas), and see if making a change would save you money each week, even if it takes 10 minutes longer to get there.

Another option is to purchase your fruit and veg from a grocer and your meats from a butcher, which can also sometimes cost less than a supermarket.

And if you have a garden, your different source could be your very own veggie patch. Even if you only have space for a few lettuces and a tomato plant, those little savings can add up quickly!

4. Make a beeline to the specials

See a bright red or yellow special tag? Head straight for it.

That said, only pick up the item if it’s something you would actually eat or use, and make sure it’s actually a worthwhile special rather than just 10 cents off.

For example, if you were planning on making hot dogs for dinner one night, but the pre-made hamburger patties are an absolute steal, you could make an easy switch to a cheaper dinner.

5. Stick to what’s in season

As much as we’d love to eat yams every week of the year, they’re only actually in season in winter. That means eating boatloads of them from June to October, but switching to a different in-season veg for the rest of the year.

Fruits and veg are far more abundant – and therefore affordable – when they’re in season, so be sure to stick to seasonal produce for your fruit bowl and veggie draw to keep your shop costs to a minimum.

6. Plan your meals ahead

Finally, sit down once per week and plan all of your meals ahead of time.

Having a clear plan for the week will help you to stick to a shopping list at the supermarket (and not take detours into aisles you don’t actually need) and will help to avoid that last minute panic over what to eat, so you don’t end up ordering takeaways instead.

We’re all about planning ahead, because whether it’s a meal plan or life insurance, it means not having to worry so much about what’s to come, and being able to focus more on enjoying the day to day.