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Shopping Guide

Grocery hacks, tips amid rising fuel prices, pandemic 

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
Grocery hacks, tips amid rising fuel prices, pandemic 
Grocery shopping requires great planning to save on expenses amid rising cost of basic commodities.
Jeremy Smith via Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines — Grocery shopping can be a fun and therapeutic but these days, it can be stressful with prices of commodities soaring double than their usual. 

It pays to be strategic and wise with your money especially during these hard times of rising fuel prices and inflation confounded by the pandemic and the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict. 

Money-savvy netizens and financial experts have taken time to share their money-saving grocery hacks and tips that you might want to check out. 

1. Check your pantry or fridge for inventory before heading out to the grocery. 

Most vloggers start their grocery tips with creating a meal plan. While it is among the most basic tip one should learn to do, content creator Mommy Ruth said it should be the other way. 

On her YouTube channel, she advised to check your pantry and fridge first before anything else. 

This way, you will know what to buy in the first place without repeating a stock you might already have back in the house. She advised to head on to what's on sale once in the grocery or supermarket and choose what suits your needs. 

The result is your "ulam" or food for the day. "Nakatipid na kami na hindi nagdo-doble-doble ng mga gamit sa bahay," she said. 

Related: 'Wais tips from Lola': Alden Richards shares his grandma's shopping hacks

2. Do the list. 

It's a must, definitely. Most money-savvy people know the value of listing down so that every peso will be audited well. 

Civil engineer and owner of the award-winning financial blog, Ready To Be Rich, Fitz Villafuerte, also shared wise food and grocery tips apart from crash courses on stock market investments on his TikTok. 

"Don't ever go shopping without a grocery list. If not, you might forget some or you end up buying impulsively. A shopping list helps you stay focused and within the budget. It's an effective way to avoid impulse purchases," he said on one of his TikTok videos. 

@fitzvillafuerte Lists are top-tier for saving money. #PeraTips #TikTokU #LearnOnTikTok #TikTokFinance #Finance101 #EduWOW #PersonalFinance ? Background Corporate Motivational - AudioCoffee

Finance expert and wealth coach Chinkee Tan also thinks that preparing a list is a smart thing to do because it prevents you from overspending by as much as 30%. 

"If the item is not on the list, one should not buy it. Based on study or survey, there's a possibility that one can overspend by as much as 20 to 30% if you do not make a list," he said on his YouTube channel. 

Related: ‘Sana tumataas din sweldo natin’: Alden Richards shares 6 smart ways to manage income

3. Make a meal plan. 

Tan said that it is best to plan your menu on a per day basis. Adobo is ideal because it can be reheated or made into Paksiw (meat usually roasted pig or Lechon simmered in vinegar and spices) the next day. 

4. Canvass and compare prices.

Mommy Ruth shared that some products may seem cheaper at first look but it is always prudent to compare prices based on how much these weigh. This is true for basic grocery items like canned goods and oil. 

"For example, 100 grams 'yung isang product tapos 'yung isa 90 grams. One hundred (100) grams divided by 100 is equal to P1 per gram while 'yung isa 90 grams divided by 100, mas mahal siya compared sa isang mas malaki. 'Pag ginawa niyo 'yun, makukuhang niyo 'yung tamang presyo per item, per gram or per milliliter," she explained. 

She added to regularly check your running list of prices from the palengke (wet market) and grocery. You might also want to check out a neighbor or places near you who might end up to be a supplier of basic commodities like egg. This way, you can have a suki (favored seller) and you save on money from added cost of going out to buy some items. 

5. Look sideways, up or down, but never at eye level when you're in the aisles. 

Mommy Ruth said that she learned from many documentaries to not pick items that are on display at her eye level. She said it has something to do with strategic placement that benefits the retailer more than you. 

American consumer expert Matt Granite, also known as TheDealGuy on YouTube, explained this set-up. 

"Stores place the items that have the highest profit for the retailer at eye level, front-end center. Some of these items have markups to the store's advantage. Look up, look to the side, look down for less expensive options," Granite shared. 

6. Know the best day to shop in the week. 

Granite said that it is often on Wednesdays.

"For whatever reason, most grocery stores release their circulars on a Wednesday and restock on this day with plenty of promos," he explained. 

Reddit user Kurosagi_ichigo responded to a thread that asked for the best palengke tips. 

"'Wag kang mamimili sa palengke ng linggo. Mas mataas ang bilihin. Martes o myerkules ang ideal palengke day namin dahil dyan. Ayaw mo maniwala? Subukan mo. Pagkumparahin mo yung mga presyo ng bilihin. Sinasamantala din nila kasi yung dami ng mga mamimili para kumita sila," the netizen claimed. 

7. Be brand-smart, not brand-conscious. 

Mommy Ruth said that quality does not equate to a known brand name. A generic brand can be as good as a branded one. 

In the same way, Tan said to avoid going to high-end grocery stores because prices are more or less higher by 20 to 30% or even 50% than in wet markets.

8. Bring your own grocery bag. 

Always be ready, and help reuse, reduce and recycle by bringing your own eco bag. Those P10 to P20 you shell out for a new eco bag every time you forget the ones already at home are additional expenses you should not be making. 

9. Set a limited time and day for your shopping. 

TikTok creator YouNeedABudget said that it is ideal to make large shopping trips every other week or two large shopping trips once a month. 

10. Stick to your budget and do the envelop method. 

Tan said to always practice being a stickler to your own budget and bring the exact amount. He also advised against using credit card/ATM. 

Mommy Ruth, meanwhile, cited the envelop method used by American lifestyle, budget and frugal living enthusiast Jordan Page. Page listed her own method on her YouTube page. 

The method basically observes a strict process of tracking the expenses. Page categorized her budget into three: Family, Grocery and Other. 

"Family" is for all the utilities and needs of her family, "Grocery" includes not only food but all consummables, and "Other" refers to non-essentials like eating out and shopping. 

The envelop method encourages you to keep a listing of prices spent written on the envelope. The money set aside should be strictly spent for its purpose and never borrow from next week's grocery budget, but instead, you can borrow from the money alloted for the "Other" category.

Mommy Ruth said that if using debit/credit card is your preferred way, you should keep the receipts to keep track of your expenses and strictly observe the rules applied to envelop method. Put these receipts inside the envelop for easy reference. 

RELATED: Shopaholic? Maine Mendoza shares money-saving tips

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