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Niche Topics (Money and Lifestyle) is about helping you manage your finances so that
you live comfortably within your means. We share frugal living ideas such as save
money around the house, cheap to make recipes, budget-friendly solutions for everyday
living, recycling crafts, helpful hints to buy things without getting burned, and
Food prices have rocketed globally. Do you remember how much you paid for a bag of
potatoes, say 8 months back? The price has jumped by a whopping 30% and almost every
item on the supermarket aisles has gone up quite a fair bit. So what can you do to
wrestle with increasing food prices, and still shop wthin a tight grocery budget?
Ways to Cut Grocery Costs
The best strategy to fight rising food prices is to buy house brands. These generic
brands are either manufactured by less prominent companies or manufactured on the
same product line as “named” brand, competing on price. Broadly speaking, house brand
products tend to be 10-20 percent cheaper than regular brands, and they are as good
in quality except that they don’t come with fancy packaging. So forgo brand loyalty
and opt for no frillsoff-brand products instead.
To be very honest, I was quite hesitant to switch brands at first but it’s really
worth trying once. The trick is decide which are the brands compatible to your liking
and buy again if you feel their quality meets your satisfaction. Choose house brand
for basics such as flour, rice, salt, sugar, toilet paper, kitchen towels, tissues
and disposable party wares. It seems ridiculous to me to pay more for anything you
use only once, or buy premium branded products when house brands are very similar
in terms of taste.
That being said, always read ingredients label to make sure what you can eat. Some
cheaper alternatives may contain gelatin or animal fat so avoid if you’re a vegetarian.
Also, be careful when buying house brand wholemeal bread, it is not uncommon to find
“100% wholewheat” breads coloured with caramel.
If you don’t cook very often, say once or twice a week, then it’s more money-wise
to buy your fresh produce loose and reduce food wastage. It may be actually cheaper
to buy from deli counters at your local supermarkets rather than buying prepackaged.
Another great way to pinch pennies at the grocery store is look for bargains in “reduced
to clear” in quick sale section. Most food items in this category are near expiration
dates but worth the buy if consumed straight away.
Stay away from expensive exotic
fruits like mangoes, dragon fruits and pineapples as much as possible. Buy seasonal
produce instead. You still get your daily dose of Vitamins and minerals from your
Valencias and Red Delicious.
Buy refill packs for fabric softener, dishwashing liquids,
detergents. Not only are they a whole lot cheaper than original products, but also
Avoid buying snacks such as candies, chocolates, and chips from petrol stations,
convenience stores and anywhere near the cashier. These “grab-and-go” items are usually
more expensive and often lead to impulse buy.
If you have a big family to feed or on good terms with your neighbors, consider buying
in bulk at hypermarkets and share the savings. Depending on where you live, you might
want to make use of the free delivery service offered, which is a huge plus for shoppers
with young children.
In addition, store prices may fluctuate and vary (it could be
due to factors like nearby competition, logistics, and rental rates) so avoid shopping
in prime neighborhood. Selections at such locations tend to be more expensive and
are usually finer in quality to cater for those with good spending power.
grocery-shopping-cost-cutting tips in mind, it’s possible to reduce your grocery
expenses considerably, and have greater control over your household budget.