Budget Brand Groceries vs Store Specials
One of the first things most people do when trying to save money is cut back on their supermarket grocery spending. For the majority of us, this means heading out for our weekly grocery shop and aiming to buy the cheapest possible brands.
While this is a reliable strategy for saving money, it’s not suitable for everyone: it restricts you from buying what you might enjoy just for the sake of saving, and food is an essential part of our happiness in life. With this in mind, we’ll look at how adjusting your mindset on grocery shopping could improve the variety of your shopping basket and save you more money than you’d expect.
The Supermarket Specials Savings Tactic
Changing what you purchase each week to focus on buying specials - and price reduced items - means instead of going to the shops with the same, set list of groceries, you approach the shopping experience as a challenge to your budget and your cooking. This can be an exciting savings tactic for a few key reasons:
- You can often save more than expected by purchasing specials instead of budget brands
- It adds diversity to your cooking and can inspire you to try and create new meal plans
- At the very worst, your set grocery list can serve as a back-up; you already know you can happily survive with your previous shopping cart!
This can be a fantastic strategy if you like to plan your meals in advance, are feeding more than just one person, or like to cook ahead to save money by taking your lunch to work. For example:
You might regularly visit the grocery store to purchase ingredients for Spaghetti Bolognese; a key staple in many budget-conscious households and very cheap to make.
Instead of grabbing the cheapest mince, the cheapest sauce and the cheapest $1 pasta, you could first check the available daily or weekly specials. For instance, you might find that chicken is on sale and drastically reduced in price compared to beef - in which case you might decide chicken penne or stir-fry would save you a considerable amount of money that week.
Save your money and reduce the cost of groceries
One of the hardest concepts to adopt when budgeting is the ‘little by little’ mentality. Sure, saving a few dollars on your groceries might not seem like an incredible amount, but these savings add up over a month, a year, and a lifetime. Opting to buy cheaper brands is a good start, however it is ultimately capped in terms of how much money you can save.
Remember, this strategy applies to seasonal products as well: if the fruit you like is more expensive (due to it not being in season) – switch to something that is ‘in season’ and pocket the savings. You might also look at frozen fruit if you plan to make smoothies or are conscious of food waste.
Other areas to consider are:
- Opting for generic cleaning agents that will still do the job
- Shopping later in the day to see what is marked down
- Trying completely new products / recipes based on cheaper ingredients
- Buying limited-edition versions of products that are no longer sold
Adopting this new strategy will see you be able to vary your weekly grocery spend - often allowing you to increase the amount you save, which you can then put towards more pressing aspects of your finances. Every penny counts, and you could use the savings to:
- Buy extra groceries
- Pay off your credit card debt
- Reduce your mortgage
- Build an emergency fund
Complacency and routine are the enemy of saving money on groceries. Small, but effective, steps to always try and reduce your spending is key. Give it a try, start buying what is on special and see how it positively impacts your budget spreadsheet totals and expands your cooking knowledge!