Grocery shopping for a big family like ours takes up a large cut from our budget. Monthly, this mother would allocate 40% of the family’s budget to grocery and market. Thus, to save both time and money, we visit a warehouse or supermarket only once a month. We would only spend a Saturday each month to wait to that long line at the cashier. It also means having the remaining three Saturdays to 1) clean the house, 2) do school assignments and projects, and 3) go to the nearest park for some rest and recreation. Of course, Sundays are always for worship, play time for the boys, husband’s moonlighting for added income and this mother’s meal preparation for the coming week.
It comes not a surprise then that though doing the grocery may be very tiring, the family seems to enjoy when the mother hen announces, “Its grocery time!” For one, it is also the day when they could buy some knick knacks for the boys or any important household items. The kids get to visit the bookstore which they so love very much. Also, they may either try new restaurants or stick to their favorite diner, and sometimes, do some food trip. An hour or two at the Timezone or movie date is most likely to happen, too.
Allow this mother to share with you some of her favorite shopping tips to trim the grocery bill without sacrificing the health and satisfaction of her family. A number of these tips I got from magazines over the years or some I have figured out on my own:
- Have a budget
Every 15th of the month, I keep our grocery and market budget in a separate envelope and make sure to do our purchase the coming weekend. Having a budget helps me decide what to buy and know exactly how much we can spend. Sticking to that budget is another story, but we tend to manage and stick within that limit.
- Plan the menu
This mother got some cookbooks. She makes sure to use them, thus, plan her family’s weekly menu. Knowing what to cook for the family helps her decide what meal and how many kilos she needs to buy along with the ingredients that come with each menu.
- Make a list
It has always been this mother’s practice to write down immediately items that are running low. She can’t trust her memory that much thus, when there’s a little amount of oyster sauce in the container, for instance, she would jot it down.
Also, hours before heading to the supermarket, the second son would make a list of “things to buy.” One by one, he would take a look at our grooming cabinet and pantry and list down missing items. We always have five sponges (for dish washing), for example, and when he sees only one, that means we need to buy four more.
Second son’s grocery list is by aisle. As much as possible, we try to organize our list to save time, too. We always shop from right to left, so as not to run back and forth, and not miss items on our list.
The list, though, would be useless if this family does not stick to that. We try to avoid impulse buys and stick to the list as much as possible.
- Keep receipts
Before, I used to keep the receipts. It has been a good way to compare shops that offer the best value for money. But once we’ve identified the best warehouse or supermarket to go to, I stopped collecting receipts. I just make sure to stick to my tips 1 and 3 in order not to overspend.
And one warehouse this mother highly recommends for that monthly trip for any grocery needs is the S&R Membership Shopping. For only P700.00 annual membership fee, a great choice of both imported and local goods are readily available in front of you. Many of the items, too, are cheaper than that of the usual supermarkets. Promo items indeed offer huge discounts as well.
- Buy in bulk
We always buy in bulk. Instead of buying a jar of mayonnaise, we buy in a gallon. We do not buy a kilo of spaghetti noodles, we prefer those in larger packages instead. But because it’s not cheaper to buy in bulk, we make sure that we are to use and consume all before they all get bad.
Good thing also that S&R Membership Shopping carries a lot of items in bulk and in wholesale prize — such great opportunity for a big family like ours to save big time.
- Do not disregard sale items
Sale items can be a great deal especially when we normally use them. Sometimes, panty liners go on sale when you buy two instead of one. I would buy them since I could always stock up.
Also, most items become expensive because of too much marketing or because of the brand name. Give store brands a try. At S&R, it has its S&R branded food which is both delicious and budget friendly.
- Prefer warehouse than supermarket
Warehouses like S&R Membership Shopping offer an expansive selection of top quality local and imported name-brand merchandise as compared to supermarkets that have a limited inventory of items. This would definitely save you the taxi fare or car gas if you limit buying grocery items in one place only.
Also, have I mentioned that the produce section at S&R , for instance, has a great variety of fresh berries one does not usually see in grocery stores? You may want to check that out.