Between tax hikes and the escalating fuel price, 2018 has been a sad year for the consumer. But, all is not lost, because there are ways you can keep saving. We’ve found ten ways to beat the grocery bill blues:
1. Shop at the source
For every step the item you buy has to take to get to you, there’s a markup, and someone has to pay it. Usually, that someone is you, the consumer, who pays for the product and the convenience of being able to pop down to the store to get it. Shopping at the source isn’t always that easy, but wherever possible, try and buy the item you need from the manufacturer or producer first. Head to the local farmers’ market, rather than the mall, once a week.
2. Grow your own
Starting your own vegetable patch or herb garden is a great way to cut back on your grocery bill. Keep cultivating it, and turn it into a family weekend activity, so that household enthusiasm stays up when it comes to growing your own.
3. Grow from another
Don’t throw away that avocado pip - you can use it to grow whole new tree! It may take quite a while for the tree to grow big enough for your garden, but let’s not forget: if you think your favourite green fruit is expensive now, imagine how much it’ll cost in ten years’ time! Your future self will thank you for this. You can also regrow lettuce, potatoes, ginger, tomatoes, and more.
4. Save your loyalty points
It seems every store now has a loyalty system, where you can earn rewards or points just for shopping with them. Be sensible about your shopper points, and rather than redeeming them whenever you see a positive balance, save them up for a special occasion or keep them aside for when you need to do some festive season shopping. You could save a bundle on groceries and gifts, at the most perfect time!
5. Walk the talk
Living close to a shopping mall could save you a bunch of money, especially if you’re able to walk to and from it. Skip paying the parking fees, save the petrol, and walk to fetch your groceries for the week. Big bonus: It’ll make you reconsider every purchase too, because you can’t buy more than you can carry.
6. Shop online
We all know that shopping online is extremely convenient, but it can also help you save money too. Put your online shopping habits to good use, and you’ll find it easier to stick to a strict shopping list, while taking advantage of ‘online only’ specials. Try it for a month, and see how much you save in comparison to shopping in-store.
7. Don’t always buy in bulk
Buying in bulk can save you money, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Buying 18 rolls of low-cost toilet paper could work out well, but buying 3 pockets of oranges may not - is your family happy to eat oranges with every meal? Didn’t think so. Be sensible about your bulk buys, and keep those mostly for non-perishable goods.
8. Time your stops at the store
Many retailers discount goods and produce towards the end of the day. Fruit, baked goods, and other items nearing their expiry date, are often dramatically marked down. Doing your shopping just after rush hour could help you save in a big way.
9. Scan the shelves
The most expensive items in a store are usually found at eye level. Scan the shelves, up and down, for cheaper versions of the same product. You may find yourself saving even more, just by exercising your eyes.
10. Check your list
Recently, our newly minted Minister of Finance zero-rated three more items on our household grocery list, rendering them VAT-exempt from April 2019. Dig a little deeper into that list, and you’ll discover that it’s relatively easy to shop VAT-free, so start thinking of recipes and meals to make using just those ingredients. Tip: most fresh fruit and vegetables are VAT-free.