Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.
Money isn’t a topic I often talk about on the blog, I like to keep things positive and thinking about money usually makes me sad or frustrated. Basically we struggle. We need my mom’s financial help to pay the bills and groceries. Nevertheless having little money does cause you to learn new things. So today I wanted to share some tips how I spend as little money as possible while grocery shopping. I am always very conscious about money while grocery shopping and over the years I learned a few tips and tricks that come in handy.
Keep in mind that I live in the Netherlands, so things might be different were you live, for example we don’t have coupons here, but most supermarkets do have weekly sales/discounts and every week different products are discounted.
Ways to spend less money
- Look for discounts. This is one of the most obvious ones, so let’s start with that. If you do your grocery shopping at the same supermarket each week check out the discounts before you go grocery shopping. Discounts might allow you to buy things you normally can’t afford or you can buy something you might need in a few weeks now as it’s discounted this week. I usually check the new discounts before I start making my menu plan, so if any ingredients are really cheap I can make something with that.
- Substitute products. This one doesn’t work for all products, but I found it to be very helpfull to think of substitute products. Basically wonder if there is a different and cheaper product you can use instead when you need a certain ingredient. For example I love eating naan bread with my curries, but naan bread is a bit pricey. So one day while grocery shopping we thought to use pita bread instead. The cheapest pita bread gives us enough to eat curry twice and is cheaper then naan for only one time curry. Another example is to use (greek) yoghurt in curries instead of creme fraiche, it might not be a big difference, but even the small things help.
- Compare prices and buy a cheaper brand. This is one of the more obvious and easy ways to spend less money. Simply compare prices between the multiple brands which are available at your supermarket. At our supermarket you can check the price per kilo which makes for easy comparisons. With a lot of products you probably won’t taste the difference between a cheaper or pricier brand. In some cases the difference is obvious, so make sure you know when you can afford to buy a cheapr brand and which products you don’t want a cheaper brand as the taste isn’t good then. Then you can set your piorities, like you will pay for the pricier brand for product A, but buy a cheaper brand for product B and C where the taste doesn’t matter. For example with peanut butter I am happy with the home brand of each surpermarket, they often taste as good and sometimes even better then the pricier brands. Or chocolate sprinkles or milk. Nowadays I buy 2 liter milk from the cheapest brand there is, which is cheaper then 1 liter of a pricier brand. And I don’t taste the difference. Then again I can’t stand the taste of homebrand earl grey teas and gladly pay a little extra so I can buy Pickwick (an A brand tea) earl grey tea. Having good tastign tea is my priority over milk or chocolate sprinkles.
- Only buy Washing powder and meat when discounted. If you time it right, you can only buy washing powder and meat when discounted. I buy a very cheap brand washing powder for the black wash, which works fine, but I buy pricier brands for coloured wash and fabric softener. So for those I always buy them when discounted so it stays affordable. I dont’t buy a lot of meat and when we do it’s usually chicken or minced meat, which are both discounted regulary, so I always time it to buy multiple packages when discounted and then don’t have to buy anymore until the next discount.
- Buy products/veggies that are discounted. Before I start making my shopping lists I always check which veggies are discounted that week and if possible I try to make something with those. Now there usually aren’t that many veggies discounted each week, so I still pay the full price for most, but it can still save a bit when you can buy some discounted veggies.
- Make a shopping List. This one can really make a difference and it’s easy to implement. If you make a shopping list and strictly only buy what’s one there you can save money. Make sure to put everything you need on your shopping list and don’t buy anything beside that unless you know you forgot to put it on your shopping list. If you don’t have a shopping list, you might be tempted to buy more products because you can’t remember which products you already have and which not and as you don’t have a list taking more items than you need feels easier.
- Only do grocery shopping once a week. This one neatly ties into the last point. Plan the day on which you will do grocery shopping and make sure to only do grocery shopping on that day. If you write everything you need on your shopping list you don’t need to make additional trips. If I have to go grocery shopping twice a week I always end up buying more.
- Go Grocery shopping after you’ve eaten. When you have a full stomach all the sweets and candy won’t be as appetizing and you’re less likely to buy something you don’t really need. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach is the worst as everything looks delicious and you’re convinced you have to buy it.
- Buy in bunk or bigger quantities. If possible buy the larger packages. Especially with non-perishables this works, if you know you can eat the larger quantity before it expires buy the larger quantity as those are usually cheaper. This works well with for example, bread toppings like cheese or jam, pasta etc.
- Don’t buy things like Soy Sauce and spices at the supermarket. I am not sure if this is the case in other countries as well, but our supermarket charges a lot for things like soy sauce and spices. If possible buy these at a toko or asian supermarket, you’ll be surprised at the price difference, you often get more for a cheaper price. In our supermarkt I pay for 250 ml soy sauce the same as for a liter soy sauce at the asian supermarket. And I can get about half a kilo of spices for only slightly more than 40 gram in the supermarket. I use a lot of spices in my dishes and this really makes a difference for me.
- Bake your own cookies/ sauces etc. It can be handy to buy a premade sauce or package of cookies, but making your own is usually cheaper, especially in the long run. The first time you’re buying the ingredients like flour, sugar, butter etc it might cost more than simply one package of storebought cookies, but you can make a lot of cookies with it. Same goes for buying your own spices and making your own sauces instead of a store brought sauce. Or making your own egg salad instead of buying storebrought egg sald.
- Think of the long run. This one neatly ties in with the previous one, think of what’s cheaper in the long run. It might be cheaper this week to buy that package of cookies instead of all the ingredients to make them yourself, but you save money the next weeks. This is one I still struggle with sometimes, like should I buy multiple discounted bottles of washing powder now and pay a lot this week and save in the long run or only buy one so it isn’t too costly this week either. It’s easy to stay in the present and think of what’s cheaper now, but often it’s even more important to think of the long run and think what saves you money in the long run, while it might be pricier in the present. There are ofcourse limits to this one as there are probably limits to your storage places. I can’t store more than 4 packages of toilet paper even if I wanted to.
- Every cent counts. And remember every cent counts and even the small things can help. Get into that mindset and remember it when grocery shopping. It might not seem like such a big difference whether you buy brand A or B, as the price difference is small, but every cent counts. And even if you only save a few cents every week, it can still make a difference in the long run.