Tips for smarter shopping
- Take a few minutes to subscribe to the email catalogue for your local supermarket. We are fortunate to have both a Woolworths and a Coles in the same shopping complex so I can easily take advantage of the weekly specials of each. Whilst I prefer to shop at Woolies I quickly pop into Coles first and grab the few items on special that are on my list.
- Be aware that supermarkets rotate their specials every four to six weeks, so stock up on regular purchases when they are on special.
- Before I shop, I plan our meals for the week. Planning before you hit the shops has the advantage of allowing you to choose meals based on what you have seen the stores have on special that week. Real frugal masters (like the wonderful Planning Queen) actually menu plan for the whole month but I am just not that organised.
- Having the meals planned makes it super easy to write a shopping list which means I can then go to the shop and buy exactly what I need and only what I need.
- Remember to include breakfasts and lunches on your meal planner too so that you are not tempted to grab fast food for lunch.
- Avoid aisles that do not contain items on your list. You’ll shop cheaper and quicker that way!
- Substitute no name brand items where possible. Items such as no name flour and sugar are exactly the same as the branded variety. I’ll admit it can be hit and miss with some items but I try them once and if it’s all good then I have saved some more pennies. I have found a no name tinned tuna which I now prefer to the name brand but have had a bad experience with flowery kidney beans. Give them a go and see which items you can replace without noticing any difference, except for the loose change you’ll now have jiggling in your hip pocket.
- It is worthwhile investigating what is available in your area when it comes to meat. Consider buying meat in bulk packs by local butchers to save money . We found a butcher nearby advertising a variety of meat packs with a good variety of beef, pork, lamb and chicken in our local newspaper. Of course, even if they don’t advertise, you can always ask if they will offer a discount for bulk purchases.
- For fruit and vegetables consider local growers markets. Whilst not always heaps cheaper, I do find that the produce lasts longer and I therefore have less waste.
- Also look into services providing fruit and vegetables market direct. We found a service in Sydney selling boxes of fruit and vegetables that were always super fresh and as they only sold produce in season you save money. The bonus was that they were delivered direct to our door.
Shopping and Food Fun for Kids
- Planning Queen talks about involving your children in the meal planning process here.
- I love this fun Salad Bar activity from The Write Start blog, a great way to learn about seasonal produce, preparing meals and literacy at the same time.
- Play shop: Games are a great way to teach kids about money and paying for goods and services. Set up a supermarket at home using groceries from the cupboard. Raid the Monopoly box for some pretend money (or have fun making your own). Take turns as the shopper and the shop assistant.
- Plan your shopping trip together: Before you go shopping, involve your child in preparing the shopping list. This is an easy way to explain the difference between items we ‘need’ versus those we ‘want’.
- Discuss purchasing choices: As you shop, talk with your child about your choices and how you can compare products and prices along the way to determine which is the best value for money.
- Involving children in the shopping #1: Ask your child to check off items from your list as you put them in the trolley. For younger children, you might need to use a few hand drawn picture cues on the list to assist them.
- Involving children in the shopping #2: Make up a simple bingo game by cutting grocery pictures out of a specials catalogue and gluing them on to a base paper. As your child sees them in the shop, they cross them off the list. This is a great way of keeping children who still sit in the trolley busy as you shop.
- Involving children in the shopping #3: Behavioural experts often advocate giving older children responsibility for locating grocery items and putting them in the trolley. Keeps busy hands meaningfully engaged!
- Visit fresh food markets with the kids as they provide a wonderful sensory learning experience, especially seafood markets, where your children will be fascinated by what they can see and smell.
What are your frugal shopping tips? Feel free to share by leaving a comment below.
And next week; Frugal Friday, but Fun: Frugal Pie