Shopping for anything nowadays from food to clothes to homewares is expensive and tempting. We can all be tempted to buy food that won’t be eaten, clothes that won’t be worn and homewares that we don’t need. There are many ways to save money when food shopping and they include making a list and taking advantage of coupons and specials. When you buy clothes, start shopping at the end of the season and avoid trends. Also, check out the thrift stores as a lot of clothes are sent here that aren’t sold by the larger chains like Target.
Only buy homewares like Manchester, kitchen gadgets and electrical appliances that you use more than once and never use them again. Our cupboards are full of one-use items. Don’t follow trends and keep updating to the latest model of mobile phone or electrical appliance. Don’t replace an item until it breaks down.
This is the most money we spend on a weekly basis but there are ways to save money each time we go shopping. Stick to your budget and your shopping list and don’t be tempted to try new products.
Create a menu plan
Write up a meal plan for the week or fortnight depending on how regularly you shop. Use this plan to write your shopping list out. You can save money by making up weekly, fortnightly or monthly meal plans. After you have planned the menus for the period make a shopping list and only buy what is on the list.
- Make up your meal plans after you have received any discount coupons or special offers from the stores you shop at. This will allow you to take advantage of any great specials available at that time.
- If the shops you visit have weekly specials do a weekly meal plan and take advantage of food that is cheaper that week. Of course, it is not special if no one in the family likes what you have made.
- If you are a family of habit and eat the same for breakfast and lunch each day you do not need to put them on your meal plan but buy enough to last the week or fortnight.
- Keep a well-stocked pantry and you will only need to buy the fruit, vegetables, and meat for your meals and top up any pantry items you have used since shopping last
Healthy Eating is Cheaper
Takeaway food is by far the most expensive way to feed a family. For the price of takeaway for one night, you can buy fruit and vegetables for a week.
- Make a treat of takeaway for special occasions if the kids make a fuss
- Make hamburgers at home, they will be healthier and tastier and the kids can help
- Homemade pizzas are great on Lebanese bread or pita bread and the kids can make their own with their favourite toppings
Buy in season
Fruit and vegetables that are in season are cheaper than imported fruit that is not. A lot of imported fruit is not as fresh as locally grown as it has to travel long distances to get to you. If you live in a rural or semi-rural area where the fruit is grown shop at local markets and orchards that are advertising locally grown fruit and vegetables. It will be just picked, fresh and tasty.
Frozen, canned or dried
With the modern technology used to freeze, dry and can products, the contents are just as good as fresh products.
- This is especially true of snap-frozen veggies
- Use dried beans and lentils in soups
- Add tinned kidney beans to chilli, cannelloni beans to soup
Buy in bulk, cook in bulk
Many wholesale supermarkets offer you discounts for buying products in bulk. This is a good way to save only if you have somewhere to store a dozen tins of everything and 10kg of rice and flour. If you have a large pantry or a place to store non-perishables this can be a way of taking advantage of unlimited quantity specials. You will need to use the products before they go out of date and start to deteriorate.
- Get together with family and friends if you don’t have the room, split the items between your family or a group of friends. Having 4 members in your group is enough. Everyone puts in their share and one of you goes and buys the products and then you split them up equally amongst the group.
- Sometimes cases of tinned food are cheaper than buying each tin individually but if you can’t store it there is no point in buying it. Find out what your family and friends buy and split a case, say of baked beans.
- Bulk dry goods are usually cheaper to buy at the local supermarket. You do need to do a price comparison as bulk does not equal cheaper. Check the price per kilogram, pound or liter to make sure that the bulk quantity is not more expensive than the smaller quantities.
- If your family likes bolognaise sauce, make a big batch and freeze portion sizes for use later. It is just as easy to make a big batch
- Make muffins in large quantities and freeze to pop in lunch boxes or to take out when friends drop-in
- When you go shopping you don’t need to buy big and popular name brands, sometimes the supermarket brands and generic brands are just as good and are a lot cheaper.
- If the kids will only eat a name brand cereal, buy it once and keep the box and reuse it or use a plastic container for cereal and they won’t be the wiser.
- Much of the time the major brands also manufacture the supermarket brands and put plain labeling on it, check the place of manufacture for a clue.
You will need to try a few different ones as not all the generic and supermarket brands are as good as the brand names but there are a lot of products that you can be saving money on by choosing supermarket brands.
Plant a veggie and herb garden
One way to save on your food budget is to grow some of your own vegetables, herbs and salad products.
- Choose varieties that are disease-free and pest resistant and start your veggie garden.
- Grow plants like tomatoes and peppers in pots on the verandah if you don’t have room for a vegetable garden.
- Make a herb garden in a large pot with basil, parsley, chives, and rosemary.
Growing a few vegetables of your own is not hard and you don’t need lots of room. A raised garden bed made from timber or bricks is the easiest way to do it. There is no heavy digging and the condition of your soil doesn’t matter.
Clothes are another expensive items particularly for growing children. Avoid buying brand names as they will soon grow out of them. There are ways to save money though.
End of season sales
Buy clothes at the end of a season and save. The stores just want to move the merchandise and cut costs by more than 50%. Some stores send unsold stock to thrift stores so keep an eye on your local outlets.
Don’t dismiss buying a garment that is a second. Look it over and you might notice the label is on upside down. There is often absolutely nothing wrong with the clothes.
- It may be the end of a run or colour they are no keeping
- Printing may be offset or wonky
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Books and magazines
Most of us read magazines and books and if you subscribe to the magazine you can save up to 40% in some cases. At the very least you will get one or two copies free.
- Subscribe to home delivery for the newspapers
- Subscribe to the online version of the paper
- Buy an eBook reader and buy the electronic version for a fraction of the soft or hardcover version
- Join the local library or book club
Lots of people are given books as presents and will never read them and they take them to a second-hand book store. You can buy a brand new book for half what the shops are asking for. Even books that have been read a few times can still look almost new.
- Always take advantage of any discount coupons that are available for the places that you shop at and for the products that you buy
- Look for school holiday offers in local papers and magazines
- Don’t feel ashamed to use coupons no one will think less of you and the shops are offering everyone the same chance to buy products at reduced prices
- Look online for coupons as there are a few sites that allow you to print them off and take shopping with you
- Ask the salesperson if there are discounts for students and seniors. Many stores do give a discount but only if you think to ask
- If you are a regular customer to a store ask if you could have a discount or for their best price on what you are looking at buying. Make sure that you want to buy it anyway
- Look for discount shopping days-many stores have a cheaper day during the week where you can save 10% of all purchases
- Look for buy one get one-half price or free, or buy two and get one free
- Search out some clubs that after paying a small membership or joining fee you are eligible for members-only discounts e.g., Amazon Prime
- Many cinemas have adults at kids prices one day a week
- Always collect your product rebate if one is offered. The company counts on most people thinking it too much of a hassle to collect. Find them on new product releases and often at the pharmacy on products like blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters.
- At a lot of checkouts, they will ask you for a discount code if you haven’t got one just Google discount codes and find one
- Check out eBay for cheaper products-many are brand new and cheaper than the stores
- Look for free shipping when buying online, many stores will have it as a special offer
There are a lot of sites on the internet that you can subscribe to that alert you to daily deals in your city or area. Every day they will send you an email with the specials for the day listed. They can be a straight out discount or a discount only if a certain number of people take up the offer. The offers come in all shapes and sizes
- Restaurant vouchers for local eateries and cafes
- Holiday accommodation at home and overseas
- Flights-national and international
- Electrical appliances
- Beauty specials-haircuts, waxing, makeup deals
- Entry to an attraction like zoos and aquariums
- Sign up for online price alerts to let you know when certain products are on special
With the demand for cheaper goods, many stores are discounting prices on various stocks every week. Always compare the prices of larger purchases you make from major stores and discount chains. This way you can save as much as one or two hundred dollars depending on the item.
- Check out the web sites that compare prices for you. Pick a product and a list of outlets and prices will appear
- Wait to see if the product you are after comes on special. Don’t impulse buy but wait and see, especially if it is not urgent
- Compare online suppliers to your local stores, but beware of expensive shipping and postage
Do you really need it?
This should be the question you ask yourself every time you go shopping to buy the latest gadget or fashion or see something that you would like. Not everything we buy, do we need or use. These impulse buys can cost us a lot of money over the space of a year.
- Many of us buy all of the latest kitchen gadgets just to have them sit in the drawer or cupboard waiting to be used
- Don’t buy that dress in every colour because you like the style. It will be out of style before you wear them all out
- Don’t update your mobile phone or device because a new one is on the market, wait until you have to update
- The same goes for televisions and other electrical appliances, no need to update if there is nothing wrong with the one you have
- Don’t buy a product just because your friend, relative or neighbour bought one
There are a lot of different ways to save money on all shopping ventures be it food, clothes, homewares, and furniture. Make lists and stick to them, keep to your budget and shop wisely. Visit the factory outlets and warehouses where you can pick up seconds and last season’s stock at greatly reduced prices. Only buy things when you have too and not every time a new model comes out. Don’t buy something to keep up with family, friends, and neighbors; maybe they can afford it more than you. And shops sensibly, don’t buy the first thing you see, shop around for the best price and ask for a discount, many shops will discount items if you just ask.