7 ways to shop shrewdly at the supermarket

July 28, 2015

Grocery shopping takes a big bite out of the weekly household expenses, but the bill doesn't have to be so big. Here are seven things you need to know so you can cut those costs down to size.

7 ways to shop shrewdly at the supermarket

1. Be careful with fruits and veggies

  • It may be wise to be careful when shopping for fruit and vegetables at the supermarket. Some produce managers select individual, unblemished items of a similar size to look more attractive in the package or for display, and this costs more.
  • Smaller greengrocers and stores may purchase lower-grade produce, which is just as good, but less visually perfect.
  • It will be cheaper, but you should select your individual items with care. Avoid places where vendors put items into a bag from a box at the back.
  • Check reduced-priced vegetables carefully as well. Green vegetables such as beans and broccoli should look bright and fresh, root vegetables such as carrots or potatoes should be firm, and lettuces and leaf vegetables should be crisp.

2. Avoid juice boxes and save

  • Though juice boxes are popular with kids and easy for you, how hard is it to pour a glass of juice at home or use a refillable container for lunches?
  • Just pop them in the dishwasher with the dinner cleanup and think of the money you've saved and your contribution toward conserving the planet's resources.

3. Selecting meat and fish

  • Flank steak, stewing beef and other less-expensive cuts of meat are 10 percent to 30 percent cheaper than choicer cuts, but they need longer cooking to make them tender.
  • Plan in advance if you are going to use them; an Irish stew needs to cook for two hours, for example, though marinating for as little as 20 minutes will help to tenderize and add flavour too.
  • Fresh fish is not necessarily more expensive than frozen. It depends on the time of the year and the region.
  • Fresh halibut, at $1.70 for 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a great alternative to some of the more expensive varieties of fish.
  • Buy unpeeled frozen shrimp for less than those already peeled and cooked.
  • Buy a smaller portion of shrimp than you need for a recipe and add cheaper pollack-crab to make up the weight.

4. Get grating

  • Bags of pre-grated cheese cost around 25 percent more than a block of cheese, so grate your own.
  • Freeze or keep in the fridge in self-seal plastic bags and make up mixes of different cheeses such as mozzarella, cheddar, edam and gouda to add colour and variety to sauces and gratin dishes.

5. Salad sense

  • Prepackaged bags of prewashed salad can be far more expensive than making your own.
  • One bag costs roughly the same as two romaine lettuces, three medium-sized iceberg lettuces or three leaf lettuces — each enough for several salads!

6. Add your own extras!

  • Many brands bump up the price of a basic product by adding other ingredients, such as sugar, seasonings and sauces, which you can easily mix in yourself.

7. Save on gourmet ingredients

  • If you cook a lot of curries, stir-fries or other Asian dishes and have an ethnic store nearby, buy your staples such as rice, noodles, spices and sauces there.
  • Basmati rice is expensive in an ordinary supermarket, where an 800 gram (26 ounce) bag or box of a popular brand is likely to cost around $3.99 compared to $7 for a five kilogram (10 pound) bag from an Indian grocery store.
  • You can make similar savings in Chinese, Japanese or Thai stores on stir-fry and chili sauces and pastes, soy sauce and rice noodles.

Shopping on a budget can be difficult but it's not impossible! The best way to save money is to invest time in your grocery shopping. This will help you find the best products for the best prices.


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