Seven food shopping mistakes you may be making
Buying what we need while also keeping the grocery bill down as much as possible is what most of us desire. Yet, we keep making the same mistakes when food shopping because we are not conscious of them. Here are seven mistakes you are probably making and how to correct them:
• Using a cart instead of a basket
Avoid shopping with a cart. Instead, use a smaller basket. You are more likely to try to fill up an empty shopping cart. With a basket that gets heavier with each addition, you will want to keep it light and will know when you’re going over the limit.
• Ignoring store brand products
When strolling through the aisle in a supermarket, you will notice that there are popular brands of products, similar brands and then some store brands of the same product. Most shoppers tend to pick the most popular brand, which perhaps is more expensive than similar brands. A suggestion is to try the store brand of a particular product. You may like it better and it is most likely more affordable.
• Shopping hungry
Shopping hungry is not only futile, it is also frustrating. Everything will look good and you will go home with more than you planned to buy. You need a clear head and a full stomach to shop. That is the only way to make the best decisions while shopping.
• Not making a list and a budget
Before grocery shopping, take time to go through your pantry, fridge and food storage areas to see what is left, what is about to go bad and what needs to be replenished. Arm yourself with a list, and after doing this go shopping and try to follow this list exclusively. Most phones have a notes app, so you can always take it along with you. It also helps if you group items that will be purchased from different stores or markets. Also, go shopping with the cash you need. It will be harder to exceed your budget if there’s no more money readily available to spare.
• Shopping at the wrong time and day
The most popular day to shop is Saturdays and the worst time you can hit the supermarket is Sunday afternoons. You will spend a long time bustling through crowds and longer time at checkout. If you can, weekday mornings are perfect. The supermarkets are fully stocked, the produce is fresh and there are fewer people. If you are shopping at the local market, you’re more likely to get discounts on Saturday nights because most vendors may not work on Sunday and most likely want to get rid of fresh items at the end of the day. If you go in the morning, the vendors may not want you to beat down the prices because some believe the first few sales of the day determine the pace of the day.
• Not comparing prices across markets or supermarkets
Supermarkets have different prices for the same product and the difference in the cost can be as little as N50 or above N1000. If you would like to save some money on groceries, then you would have to do the legwork of comparing prices. I know the supermarket to shop at if I need to buy toiletries and cleaning items at affordable rates. I also know which one stocks more varieties of pasta and their rates. I know the stores that offer products at wholesale prices and the ones with the best baked goods. When I’m shopping, depending on my menu, I know where to shop at affordable rates and where to get a variety of products.
• Buying pre-cut items
It is easier to buy pre-cut vegetables and chicken from the supermarket. However, this does not come at a cheap rate. I love skinless, boneless chicken but, over time, I have discovered that it is cheaper to buy a whole chicken and debone yourself than to buy pre-packed skinless or boneless chicken. Likewise prepping vegetables yourself; it costs less and fresher. If you do not have the luxury of time to meal prep, then you can opt for this at an extra cost.
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