Trips to NTUC or Giant may not feel like much each instance, but add them up over time and the costs can really make you notice how light your wallet has started to feel. With grocery shopping being an unavoidable cost of living in Singapore, it is definitely important to know how to get the best bang for your buck.
If you’re looking to save some money while out at the supermarket, then thankfully for you we’ve got everything you need to know to keep your spending to a minimum!
Choose cheaper cuts
For most of us, meat forms a large staple in our diets (even us Asians can’t live on rice or noodles alone!). And yet the prices of meats could easily make many people do a double-take. Buying meats and other non-vegetarian products can definitely burn a hole in your pocket, and one way to reduce the size of said hole is to choose cheaper cuts of meat.
While cheaper cuts of meat have a reputation for not being as good, that is not always true and can help to save almost half of your budget when it comes to spending money on meats.
Continuing with the theme of meats, another way to save money is to pick whole cuts of meat. Using the concept of buying in bulk, whole cuts tend to be more worth it to purchase even though you might be spending more at one go. For example, a full boneless pork loin would definitely be cheaper when looking at its cost-to-weight ratio, compared to an individual roast or some pork chops.
Simply buy the entire cut and request the butcher to help you cut your purchase into smaller pieces after.
Let’s face it. Singaporeans are obsessed with bottled water. In 2018 alone, sales of bottled water topped out at S$180m! While buying bottled water might seem like an everyday purchase to you, it’s actually one of the easiest things to cut out of your shopping list to save just a little more money. The tap water in our homes is already suitable for consumption, so do consider relying on it for your hydration needs at home instead. If you really do want bottled water when going out, try buying reusable water bottles instead.
Instead of going to your nearby NTUC or Cold Storage, why not head down to a wet market instead? Local wet markets provide a cheaper and also fresher alternative to purchasing groceries. What’s more, make friends with the stall owners and they would be more than willing to help you pick the right choice when it comes to buying groceries such as cuts of meat or choosing the right vegetable to use.
Buy raw ingredients
While it is easier to buy prepared food when making your own meals, it definitely hits the wallet a little harder than we would like to. The costs of preparing these foods, along with buying the raw ingredients and other personal charges end up adding to the price that we purchase it at.
If you decide to skip the middleman, so to speak, and buy the raw ingredients yourself to cook and prepare at home, it would save a ton of money when it comes to grocery shopping. What’s more, learn to cook for yourself and you will be on top of everyone’s invitations when it comes to dinner parties and events.
Many of us fall prey to impulse buys, especially when we’re stuck in the queue waiting to pay. The small little chocolate bars really do make us get that sweet tooth craving sometimes. However, planning your menu for the day or week can help you to stick to a concrete plan and keep you on the straight and narrow when it comes to avoiding impulse purchases, helping you to save on all these little costs that add up over time.
Stock up on groceries
With daily items with long shelf lives like rice, wheat or cereals, it would help to buy many of them to stock up for the long term. This is especially important as buying many of these products when there are discounts can help cut down a lot in costs, and the long shelf life means that buying many of them at one shot won’t have too much of a negative consequence.
Make your own drinks
Starbuck in the morning might feel all too good until you realize how much it’s costing you every time. While that coffee from your favourite outlet might be tempting, making your own coffee every morning and bringing it to work in a tumbler can help you avoid some serious unnecessary spending.
Eat before you shop
That bag of chips is going to look way more tempting if you haven’t eaten your lunch yet. It’s been proven that hungry people tend to spend more when shopping, so try to have your meal before going to get your groceries.
They’re a surefire way to get yourself ripped off. What you buy from the vending machine can easily be substituted with cheaper alternatives or other food that you can easily make yourself, such as a sandwich. When outside, try to make a habit of preparing your own food beforehand so that the hunger you feel outside can be satisfied in a cheaper manner.
Many of us like to choose brands that are more expensive due to reputation, perceived higher quality or both. However, there is no concrete evidence to show that branded products are actually better than house brand products, which are usually much cheaper. So unless you know there is a significant difference in quality between the house brand and the branded option, pick the house brand instead.
Spend a little time searching for coupons and you could really get some juicy savings. Coupons can usually be found in newspapers or online. Nowadays, there are even apps that give you coupons, so there’s no excuse to put in a little effort to search for coupons if you really want to save some money.
Look out for the big discounts
Supermarkets tend to have big discount offers once a week or once a month, and advertised in newspapers as well. Keep your eyes peeled for these mini events and the time your grocery shopping to coincide with these discount days.
Avoid regularly eating out at restaurants as much as you can, and this goes for food delivery such as Foodpanda or Grabfood as well. If you really don’t have time to cook, opt for cheaper alternatives like eating at hawker centres or coffee shops.
Take note of happy hours when eating at your favourite dining place and try to go in big groups to take advantage. Happy hours offer good prices if you’re willing to schedule your meal times around them.
While it might seem like you need to cut down a lot of your bad habits to save more when shopping, it’s actually much easier than you think it is. All these small actions can really help if you follow them!