Shopping hacks to save money on your groceries
Looking for ways to save money on your grocery bill? Here are five shopping hacks that can help you to spend less and save more.
Our groceries are one of life’s necessary expenses and yet food prices in South Africa continue to rise. According to the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group, the cost of food could increase by as much as 10% in 2021. While the average basic food basket in 2021 costs around R4 051.20 monthly, many of us are spending far more. Fortunately, there are shopping hacks that can help you to change your grocery-shopping habits and reduce your bill.
Grocery bill: how much is too much?
If you find yourself feeling the financial pinch when it comes to grocery shopping, you are not alone. In fact, food and non-alcoholic beverages absorb 17% of South African’s disposable income, according to the Stats SA Living Conditions Survey. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American spends 9.5% of their income on food. The average UK household spends just 8%. In countries with more economic challenges, such as India and Nigeria, they spend a lot more: 30% and 59% respectively. This is due to several factors, ranging from global food shortages to poverty and various other social issues.
Despite the constant hike in national food prices, there are still ways to slash your grocery bill so that you can save money for the things that matter. Here are five shopping hacks to implement next time you go to the mall so that you can make more intentional purchases.
1. Create a list and a budget – and stick to them!
Having a household budget is a great way to keep track of your finances. Set aside a realistic amount each month for groceries and try to stay within that budget.
It’s also always a good idea to create a shopping list highlighting what you need. This will help you to stay on track and make it easier to avoid unnecessary purchases. “If you stick to your shopping list and budget, you will be able to reward yourself with that big thing you are saving for,” says Nicki Blignaut, senior financial planner and principal at 2one2 BlueStar, underwritten by Sanlam. “Keep that end goal in mind at all times.”
2. Compare prices at different retail outlets
No one has enough time in their lives to go from store to store to compare prices. This, however, is where the internet comes in handy. Do some ‘window shopping’ online on different grocery retailer e-commerce platforms to see who offers the most competitive prices. “You would be surprised at how much you can save by shopping at three shops instead of one,” says Blignaut. “Even your expensive retailers may have great bargains occasionally.” By doing your homework, you can make informed decisions when it comes to where you spend your money and stock up.
Reality Club and Reality Access for Sanlam Group Risk members get free monthly Discount Coupons to save on their grocery bill at Shoprite and Checkers. Learn more here.
3. Don’t shop more than once a week
Many of us are guilty of going to the shops every one or two days instead of sticking to more regimented shopping expeditions. This is because we are good at convincing ourselves that we need things that we really don’t.
Planning ahead can help. Try to go and stock up just once a week. The less often you go to the shops, the less chance there is for unnecessary items to end up in your basket. What’s more, “your local convenience stores tend to be more expensive. By doing a weekly shop at a big grocery store you will definitely spend less,” says Blignaut.
4. Create a meal plan and avoid ordering in
According to a study by Lightstone Explore, South Africans spend around R2 billion each month on fast food. Not only is this unhealthy for our bodies, but our wallets too.
Making weekly meal plans will help you to shop smarter and healthier, and will also ensure that each night is covered food-wise so that the temptation to order in is more easily avoided. “Everyone likes a treat now and then, but try and limit it to no more than once a week,” cautions Blignaut. “Your body and your bank balance will thank you!”
5. Sign up for loyalty cards and redeem points and coupons
One of the best shopping hacks when it comes to saving money is to sign up for loyalty cards. Many of SA’s leading retailers offer a way for shoppers to earn points that can be used to save money on grocery bills. “Just make sure that you don’t use them as an excuse to buy something that is not in the budget,” says Blignaut.
As a Sanlam Reality Club or Reality Access for Sanlam Group Risk member, you have access to monthly Discount Coupons on household essentials, which can be redeemed at Shoprite and Checkers stores nationwide.
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