With our activities limited, we’ve never looked forward to mealtimes so much. So getting your shopping done right has never been more important. If done cleverly, your grocery shop won’t break the bank; in fact, it can save you money while getting you set up for the week ahead.
Of course, the process of getting your groceries is a little different right now, with online shopping being the best option if you can do so. Do be mindful that older people are relying on home deliveries, so it’s essential to plan exactly what you need. If you do need to shop in person, try to do it on your own, and make sure to observe guidance on social distancing.
And as for how to do it efficiently, keeping as much money in your pocket as possible - we’ve got some tips on filling your cupboards for less than €100 a week!
One time only
Heading into the shops every day to pick up groceries is not only an unnecessary risk, it’s a surefire way to break your budget—it’s human nature that we pick up items we don’t necessarily need each time we go into a shop. Not to mention impulse buying at the till! If you lessen the amount of times you visit a shop, you lessen your chances of spending unnecessarily, therefore sticking closer to your budget.
Saving time and money, a once-weekly shop also encourages the most important aspect of keeping your finances in order, which is planning. We’ve got more on how to budget and save money if you want some guidance.
So ditch the daily shop, and embrace what our mammies used to call it—the big shop!
Make a list
Making a list is probably the oldest trick in the book, and for good reason! Sticking to a planned list is the best way to work with your budget and stick to it. It keeps you focused on what you need, rather than what might catch your eye in the moment.
How many times in the past have you gone into the supermarket without a shopping list only to come out with half the essential ingredients for four different dishes but not one full meal! Salmon curry with spaghetti anyone?
Plan your meals
Whether it’s picking ingredients that will deliver value for your money, avoiding a top-up trip later in the week, or simply making sure your shopping list covers all the bases, try planning your week’s meals in advance. Having more time on our hands, why not try that labour intensive dinner you’ve always dreamed of but never had the time to make?
Planning your meals is a great way of assessing what quantities you’ll want and need—a key component for our next step…
Availing of special offers can really lower your final costs. From buy one get one free to 25% extra free packs of cheese, following the special offer labels around your supermarket is an easy way to save some money. The same goes for non-perishables, like toilet paper and toothpaste.
It doesn’t work for everything though; be wary that some buy one get one half price offers can be a false economy. Just keep in mind—do you actually need the amount you’re buying? Will it expire before you have a chance to use it all? Some deals really are too good to be true!
Waste not, want not
Dumping unused food is simply throwing money away and is so wasteful. Check sell-by dates as you shop and be realistic about your quantities; make sure you store food correctly and invest in plastic containers or zip lock bags if needed.
If a product you’ve never tried before is on sale, by all means try it, but don’t buy a month’s worth just because it’s cheap! If you can shop for what you’ll use, and avoid what you won’t, your chances of staying on budget are increased.
Have a look at our back to basics guide to really get on track with keeping waste down in your home.
Review your work
Everybody makes mistakes, so your shop might not be perfectly in keeping with your budget the first time, and that’s fine. The important thing is to learn; look at what brought you the best value, what didn’t work out as you’d hoped, what you forgot or overlooked, and how you might do a better job next time.
For this, it’s a good idea to keep the receipt every time you shop; it’ll help with making a list and planning meals when it’s time to go again.
Under €100 sample shopping list
We’ve put together a weekly shopping list for €100, which could work for a typical Irish family of four, using SuperValu and Tesco as our base. It’s filled with staples to fill your cupboards, fridge and freezer, and embraces supermarket own-brand products.
Don’t forget to check for deals like three for €10 across fish, meat and poultry.
- Dried pasta, <€1 per kg
- Potatoes 2kg, €3.50
- Boil-in-the-bag rice, <€2.00 per kg
- Tinned tomatoes, €0.50
- Dried herbs, €0.50 each
- Stock cubes, €1 for 10
- Curry powder, €0.80
- Free range eggs, €1.50 for 6
- Plain flour, <€1 per kg
- 10% fat minced beef 800g, €6
- Whole chicken 2kg, €4.60
- Chicken breast fillets 500g, €5
- Salmon fillets 480g, €7.50
- Frozen breaded cod, €2
- Rashers 250g, €2
- Sausages 400g, €2.50
- Beans 4-pack, €1.65
- Bolognese pasta sauce 500g, €0.60
- Porridge 1kg, €0.80
- Milk 3 litres, €2.20
- Cheddar cheese 400g, €2.50
- Breadcrumbs 400g, €1.50
- Sliced pan bread, €0.85
- Sliced ham, €2
- Biscuits, €2
- Fresh seasonal fruit, €9
- Fresh seasonal vegetables, €8
- Frozen mixed vegetables, €2.50
- Yoghurts 4-pack x 2, €3
- Ice-cream 1 litre, €2
- Butter 400g, €2.20
- Toilet paper 9-roll, €2.59
- Dishwasher tablets, €1.50
- Shower gel 250ml, €2
- Shampoo 400ml, €2
- Laundry gel 540ml, €3
- Cat / dog food 2kg, €5
- Kitchen towel 4-pack, €1.20
You know we’re a bit obsessed with making savings in the home, so our tips don’t stop with grocery shopping! Improve your home’s BER and try these nine energy savings tips for your home to rack up even more savings.
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