Friday, January 13, 2017

My Rules for Wise Grocery Shopping

Like clockwork, I visited my local Sainsbury's for my Friday morning shop.  I am always trying to improve the way I shop so I can make wise decisions, and I'd love to share with you the "rules" I follow so far when I do my shopping: 

Rule #1: I always have a list in hand. I use a free app called "MyShopi", that allows me to add items to the list by department (fruits, vegetables, dairy, bakery, etc.) and then check them off as I go around the store. I'll probably write an entire post about why making a list is important, so I won't go into that now.  If an item isn't on my list, it causes me to think twice about putting the item in my trolley. Oh, and you don't have to use an app, but do please at least write it on a piece of paper.

Rule #2: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reduced items.  I always have a look at all of the reduced sections in the store.  At Sainsbury's - and likely most supermarkets - they are located in produce, fresh meat, chilled, dry goods (cereals, pastas, sauces, tea/coffee), bakery and homeware.  Occasionally the reduced items will be up front in their usual location.  AND THEY'RE EYE-CATCHING YELLOW!  So, it's kind of like a treasure hunt... ahem... for us grown-ups!  

Rule #3: I ask myself some questions about reduced items
1) Will I consume this item today or tomorrow? Since reduced items are most often "Best before" today's date, I wouldn't want to buy it only for it to sit in my fridge and then get tossed in the bin in a week.  Yes, I've done this.... lots... of... times... and it's a waste.

2) Does this item freeze well? If you don't plan to consume your reduced items today or tomorrow, ask yourself if this item will freeze well AND whether you have enough space in your freezer to put said item in when you get home.  Yes, I've done this many times, too... I've bought a huge load of reduced items only to get home and to realise I have very little space in my freezer.  Luckily none of it went to waste this time, but I still have to be careful not to buy too many reduced products.

3) How many packs of said item will it take to feed my family? Sometimes the reduced item is a pack of two burgers. This is not enough for my family of four, so I'd need to buy two packs.  This may not be an economical way of purchasing burgers, so I may as well buy a pack of regular-priced burgers, if burgers are on the menu for the week. Oh, and the salmon below... my husband and I will have this (there are two pieces in the pack I bought) while the girls have fish fingers; they simply don't like salmon despite our best efforts. 

4) Is it really a good price? Well, I answer this one by first looking at the difference in the original price and the reduced price. Take a good look at the price difference. Sometimes it's only 10p cheaper... not exactly a deal unless you were planning on buying that product anyway.  Other times, it's a lot cheaper, like the mince in the picture.  I saved 33% on this pack of mince that I plan to use next week in a yummy slow-cooker bolognese.  I often "roast" a chicken in the slow cooker (Vlog on this next week), and large chickens aren't usually reduced when I go shopping, so I saved £1.06 by buying this today rather than next week when it's not reduced.  And yes, I managed to fit it in my freezer.... now, I just have to remember to take the bird out to thaw in time!

In case you are wondering, I saved £4.09 on these 4 items alone today.  All of them fit in my freezer for next week's suppers.

Rule #5) If an item isn't on my list, but it's on offer/sale, I ask myself the following questions:
1) Is it really a good buy?  If it's half off, then most likely "Yes!"  Like my children's smoothies in a drink pack. They are 50% off this week, so I bought 3 boxes... which leads me to ask the next question.
2) Do I have enough room for 3 boxes in my fridge?  "Yes!"
3) How long do I have until the "Best before" date is reached?  "2 months... great, the girls will definitely drink them by then."
4) How often is this item on offer/sale and can I make it until the next time it's on sale without purchasing this item?  The smoothies aren't usually the price they were, even if they are on sale again in a few weeks. This was a very good price for them this week, so that's why I bought 3.

Rule #6) Is this item a WANT or a NEED? My family loves sunflower seeds and we ran out last weekend. So, I put them on my list for my shop at Aldi on Monday, but they no longer stock sunflower seeds; I even asked. "No worries", I thought ,"I'll buy them at Sainsbury's on Friday."  To my dismay I could only find a tiny little pack of sunflower seeds for 85p.  85p isn't a lot, but I don't NEED sunflower seeds today or this weekend.  I'll shop around a bit and put them on my list for Home Bargains, where I can probably find a larger pack for better value.  They are a want rather than a need.

Rule #7) Is the item a good price for the amount I'm buying? This is where it gets tricky. Just because something is on sale or reduced, doesn't mean it's a great buy. Take a look at the quantity.  Figure out how much something costs per pot, 100ml, ounce, wash (laundry), slice, person.... this will help you determine whether something really is a good buy or not.  I feel another blog is necessary to go into more detail on this one... so I'll blog about this soon.

I may be missing a few rules on this blog, but it's long enough. I hope I've given you inspiration to save a bit on your next shop. I'd love to hear from you whether you've taken any of these ideas on board and how it made you feel if you did. I've already been told by a number of my followers how they've been inspired to shop wiser and they feel great!

If you've been encouraged by my blog, I'd like to ask you to please share my blog and Facebook page with your like-minded friends.  Thanks!

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