Most people have this inkling that they are overspending on food and that somehow, they are losing possible savings. More often than not, their intuition is right!

In this article are 3 simple and effective ways to help you slash unnecessary spending, shop effectively in terms of price and quantity, and eventually lead you to more savings and perhaps a healthier version of yourself.

1. Set Reasonable Budget. To determine a reasonable budget, start tracking your grocery spending for 2-3 months. It may surprise you to look at all your purchases and see how much you may have spent on items you don’t really need and the money you spend on them. On the third or fourth month, average out all your receipts in this period to get your weekly spending. From this, set up your weekly allowance for groceries. Also, list down food categories to see the food type that eats up most of your budget. With visible data, you can now cut down on expensive, unhealthy food and free-up more budget for healthier options.

Before shopping, make sure to create a grocery list based on your set weekly budget and STICK TO IT! Ignore catchy discount signs for items that are not on your list!

Also, look out for discount coupons you can use for items on your list.

2. Look Out for Cheap Food. Comparing similar items may be a bit tedious at first but long term, it will be a massive help in ensuring that your shopping is cost-effective.

You may start noting down the cost of your items per unit to help you determine which brand gives you the best deal. If 50 grams of “coffee A” costs $10 and 75 grams of “coffee B” costs $12, then “coffee B” is more value for your buck. Even though “Coffee A” only costs $10, its price per gram is 20 cents while “Coffee B” only costs 16 cents. This means that 75 grams of “Coffee A” will cost you $3 more compared to “Coffee B” for the same quantity.

Stock up on items that you will know you will NEED when they are offered on great discounts. Do this for items that are nonperishable or those that can be frozen. Taking memberships with discount clubs like SnR, Costco, etc. is also great for buying in bulks at a low cost.

3. Practical Meals via Home Cooking. Make a menu for the week ahead and do not divert from it. To counter the temptation of eating out, prepare a 5-day lunch on or before the start of the week and store them in the fridge. This will shorten morning prep time for your packed lunch. Therefore, your lunch is sorted and eating out is now unnecessary.

Dinners don’t have to be much different. Creating a menu ahead of the week (and sticking to it) will allow you to buy the ingredients in advance and minimize unnecessary spending as you know what items to buy for your menu.
Another way to maximize purchased veggies before they expire is to either cook them or cut them up, put them in a sealed bag and store them in the freezer as ingredients for future use.