By Ewa Giera
How many times have you gone to the shop just to pick up some milk and returned with nibbles for a family of five?
Or maybe you just can’t stop yourself from picking up that 3 for 2 offer off the shower gel shelf?
Regardless of how sale inclined you might be, here’s a handy guide on how to survive grocery shopping by yourself.
Now imagine you’re walking down a supermarket aisle, and you reach the bakery. You haven’t eaten your lunch yet and your stomach is rumbling like a load of stones rolling down a hill. And suddenly you see the bakery lady putting out some pizza pastries. You can smell the delicious scent from where you stand. That is a moment where few of us have enough self-control to say no to food.
This is the moment of utter defeat.
You’re bound to walk over and buy at least three of those, not just because they smell great, but also because you could have some later. This leads to one of the most important things to keep in mind.
EAT BEFORE YOU GO SHOPPING!
Impulse buying is one of the biggest reasons why people tend to overspend at the grocery store.
Before you go, it’s definitely worth setting yourself a budget. That way, if you overspend, you’ll be able to pick out items that you didn’t really need (looking at you, snacks!) to leave behind and you’ll be financially better off in the long run.
This leads me to another important piece of advice.
Before you go shopping, sit down in your kitchen, examine the fridge and cupboards and make yourself a list of things that have run out or are close to running out. Bread, milk, pasta, carrots, all of it goes on the list. Allow yourself a few snacks – you’ve gotta treat yourself sometimes! And, if you overspend, that’ll be the thing you can cut out.
Now that you’ve got your list – stick to it! Even if you see that crazy ‘3 for 2’ bread deal, you need to ask yourself: Do I need this much? Will it go off before I have a chance to eat it? Can I freeze it and do I have the space for it? It’s important that you’re aware of the space you have – the kitchen space you have in halls can be extremely cramped and you don’t want to leave out stuff for other flatmates to ‘borrow’.
When you’re in the store, make sure you only walk into the aisles you’re getting stuff from. There’s no point strolling down every aisle, you’ll just tempt yourself by the things you don’t need. Even better, set yourself a timer when walking into the shop. This way, you’ll be less distracted by things jumping out at you, because you won’t have the time to stroll around.
It’s a brilliant way to save both money and time.
Follow these simple tips and hopefully you won’t spend all of your student finance in that first excitement-filled trip to Aldi on all those things you think you need – but really don’t!