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How the Everyday Mum does Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Staff Post

Posted on April 07 2017

Let’s face it, grocery shopping can be both therapeutic and stressful. There’s something about walking down the grocery aisle, grabbing your favourite goodies, placing them in the cart, down to your fridge – lovely! But it can also be stressful when you’re on a tight budget. You might find yourself limited to not-so-nutritious ready-to-eat meals or even worse, 2-minute noodles! This could work if you’re living alone, but definitely not when you have a family, most especially if you have kids. Mums everyday make it their priority to ensure that the family is supplied with healthy meals – without burning a hole in their wallet.

To help mumsies, we listed down some grocery shopping tips that allows you to stock up on staples without hurting your pocket.

  1. Set a budget. This is the first thing you must do before stepping out of the house. You need to decide how much you are willing to spend for groceries each month. If you have the set amount in cash, leave your debit or credit card at home so that you won’t get tempted and go over budget. Be reasonable, know your limits and prioritise.

  1. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Whether you’re planning to purchase 10 lbs. of chocolate chip cookies or 2 kilos of apples or the finest choice of meat for your next family meals you still need to jot it down and commit to it. This is because you want to stick to your planned purchases rather than give in to compulsive buying. You can easily make a grocery list nowadays using your smartphone so make good use of it.

But then, what should be included in your grocery list? Of course, the answer will take us to tip #1. However, as a guide, these are the staple pantry items you may want to keep a supply. You can survive with these basic pantry items and besides, you can whip up easy family meals, basically anything, if you have these items.

Pantry Stock

Spices:

Salt

– Black Pepper / White Pepper

– Paprika

– Cayenne

– Garlic Powder

– Cumin

– Curry Powder

– Dried Oregano

– Dried Rosemary

– Dried Parsley

– Dried Thyme

– Cinnamon

– Red Pepper flakes

Optional: Chili powder, Onion powder, Poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning, Lemon pepper.

Canned vegetables:

– Canned whole tomatoes

– Canned tomato paste

– Canned black beans / white beans

Liquid Ingredients:

– Olive oil / Vegetable oil

– Vanilla extract

– Honey / Maple syrup

– Red wine vinegar / Balsamic vinegar

Dry Ingredients:

– White granulated sugar

– Brown sugar

– All-purpose flour

– Confectioner’s sugar

– Baking soda

– Baking powder

– Unsweetened cocoa powder

Prepared products:

– Peanut butter

– Mustard

– Marinara sauce

– Soy sauce

– Chicken, Beef, Vegetable boxed stocks or broth cubes

Optional: Fish sauce, Oyster sauce.

Sweets:

– Dried raisins

– Dried cranberries or other variety of fruits

– Chocolate chips

Carbs & Starches / Grains & Nuts:

– Tortillas

– Dried pasta (Spaghetti, Whole grain pasta, Orzo, etc.)

– Loaves of bread or burger buns

– Plain rolled oats

– White rice / Brown rice

– Cornmeal

– Cereals

– Almond nuts

Optional: Quinoa, Black Beans, White beans, Kidney beans, Rice noodles, Soba noodles, Couscous, Arborio rice.

Miscellaneous:

– Teas – Black tea, Oolong tea, Green tea, English breakfast tea, etc.

  1. Don’t shop when you’re hungry. Imagine the temptation to grab those pre-made sandwiches and junk food just because you’re hungry while pushing your grocery cart? Make sure you’re fully loaded so as to avoid “hungry shopping”  and going over budget.

  1. Avoid promotional items and specials not included in your list. No doubt, specials that scream savings like “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” are an effective marketing strategy. But if you didn’t plan on purchasing them in the first place, then skip it. It doesn’t mean you have to buy them just because they’re on sale.

  1. Save receipts and track expenditures. This is one important aspect of mums everyday tasks – keep receipts no matter how small or big the purchase. Receipts are important in case you accidentally bought an expired pancake mix or a bad product so make sure not to throw them away. Receipts can also help you track your food expenses so that you can set up a better family budget.

  1. Buy essentials in bulk. This depends on what’s on your list of essential pantry items of course. It could include pasta, oatmeal, sugar, and condiments. The rule is to buy in bulk but not so much you’ll end up throwing them into the bin because they’ve already expired.

  1. Double check the price. This is something you may not notice, but oftentimes, grocery stores can mispriced items and what you think was 5 dollars is actually just 2 bucks. Imagine if that goes for several items! Indeed, it makes a big difference to your total bill so you should never hesitate to double check the price. Ask the checker to confirm the price and always keep a close eye on the screen of the POS machine as they ring up all your goods.
  1. Be adventurous – Another great way on how to budget money and save is by being adventurous. That’s right! When it comes to grocery shopping, people tend to buy only from their favorite brands and those store-brand items are often overlooked. The trick here is to keep an open mind. For instance, if your favourite brand sells cream cheese that costs 6 dollars and then a store brand charged it for only 2 dollars, which one would you prefer? Not unless if you try, you wouldn’t know if they have the same quality. Sometimes, you’d still pick your favourite over the other, but if you’re lucky, you will discover equally good products that don’t cost that much.
  1. Pay attention to storage. This is important so as not to spoil your supplies. Make sure your pantry is clean, organised, and safe. Store your food in safe containers with reliable lids that protect from drippings or spills. That way, you can make sure nothing gets thrown away.

Grocery shopping on a tight budget can be challenging for mothers. But along with other duties and responsibilities that mums everyday have to face, you too can nail the art of grocery shopping in no time.

Do you have some grocery shopping tips we forgot to share? Let us know in the comments section below!