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Saving money is the desire of every person, even more so in these times when the general economic situation is not the best and many families are forced to use their heads and calculators to make ends meet. One of the crucial moments is certainly the time when you have to go to the supermarket where it is easy to get carried away and be convinced by the numerous “irrefutable” commercial offers. So let’s take a look at some important rules on how to go shopping while saving money.
Establish a budget in advance
Knowing the maximum limit for your shopping will allow you to pay more attention to the prices and quantities of things you put in your trolley. Anything non-essential will magically be left on the shelves and it will be easier to make a choice of the most important products.
Digital currencies have wiped out the perception of the physical value of money. Using credit or debit cards does not allow you to perceive clearly and ‘physically’ how much you are actually spending on shopping. At the time, you think you have been careful and saved money on your shopping, but at the end of the month the bank statement arrives and there are nasty surprises. Having the nest egg to spend, without any alternative that allows us to go over, is another important limitation that allows us to be much more careful. No one likes to arrive at the checkout, have no more money to spend and then be forced to leave something there, right?
Going out less often for shopping
Another curious method on how to go shopping to save money is simply not to go shopping. No, I haven’t gone crazy. It sounds trite, but reducing the number of times you go to the supermarket is an effective way to see your grocery costs go down. Fewer trips to the supermarket mean fewer temptations and fewer opportunities to spend money on products that are not always as useful as you think.
Menu planning to save money on food shopping
Much of the money we spend on groceries goes away on food. However, there are plenty of recipes for saving money on groceries by trying to throw out as little as possible and reusing as much of each dish as possible. We showed you all the ways to recover leftover rice with tasty, money-saving recipes. In addition, knowing what you want to cook every day before going shopping allows us to outline all that is useful and necessary, avoiding putting products in the trolley for want. Everything is wisely divided between meat, fish, vegetables and everything else you need, with nothing escaping the control of the cost of shopping.
Monitoring offers, flyers and coupons
Television has made it possible to save money with coupons, but in our country, it is not so easy and usual. Coupons are not as easy to find as in America and work completely differently here. In Italy, however, paper marketing in the form of flyers is still very much in vogue and keeping up with these allows us to always be on the ball with great offers. What we need to do is to make sure that we receive the flyers from all the nearest supermarkets so that we can choose in a targeted and scientific way where to get every single item on our shopping list.
Buy products in season
This shouldn’t come as a surprise but it’s always good to reiterate the concept. Buying fruit and vegetables in season is healthier and, above all, costs a lot less. Download a table of everything that is in season and use it when you are deciding on your menu and making your shopping list.
Pay attention to deadlines
Letting your food supply expire is a huge detriment that you should definitely avoid. Buy products with care so that they don’t expire any time soon and always try to sort them in the cupboard with those that expire first in front of you. Throwing away expired products is a double damage (and expense) that we absolutely must avoid in order to avoid affecting our household economy.
Avoid shopping while hungry
Don’t laugh, it’s a proven fact that hungry shopping is a major problem. Exposing yourself to so many temptations on an empty stomach increases the chances that you’ll give in to some unplanned purchases and, we repeat, every unplanned purchase weighs on your final bill. So try to plan a snack before your planned low-cost shopping trip.
Use the various apps/sites dedicated to saving money on groceries
The web is full of apps and tools to help you save money while shopping. Digital flyers, apps that point out offers, price aggregators: there’s really anything you can think of to get technology to help you avoid spending money. It’s just a matter of putting a bit of effort into understanding which of these are real helpers and which are just trying to steer us towards certain products or services.
Learning to make things yourself
Everything homemade is cheaper, so it’s worth rolling up your sleeves and trying to make things at home. Take pasta, for example, a half-kilo packet of trofie pasta can cost you as much as 4 euros when to make an industrial quantity you only need 1 kg of flour, half a litre of water and an egg (and not everyone puts that in). It’s just a matter of finding the will to make it. Besides, it can be a great way to spend time with your family and children.
What about you? What techniques do you use to save money on your food and non-food shopping?
By Sal Cocurullo
who is a passionate personal finance writer and a long-term DIY investor. His contributions are on RevenueLand Blog, SeekingAlpha, DataDrivenInvestor, YCombinator and more. He recommends some tips on how to save money.