By Khaula Siddique
The rising cost of everything has all of us in different states of panic. You can reduce and cut down on things you dont need, but what about groceries? There have been several queries on the group for advice and tips and I have compiled some of the best solutions offered by group members and added my own experience (raising five kids and three cats!), so lets talk about smarter grocery shopping.
- Start everything with Bismillah, this is something I think we can all agree on! And there are many duas for barakah (abundance) as well. Good to start anything with a positive attitude.
- Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach! This one is tried and tested, if you are hungry when you are shopping you are going to end up buying a lot more snacks than you should. You will also stop to buy something to eat then and there which you also dont need to do!
- If you can get someone to mind the kids while you shop take advantage! Arrange days among friends for one of you to look after the kids while they play together so the others can shop without the kids. Tired moms sometimes have to give in to whiny kids who want a lot of fancy-packed snacks that they dont need and arent good for them anyways.
- Plan ahead for the week, what are you going to cook? Jot it down and stick to your plan, buy only the ingredients you need for that week. This saves a lot of food from going to waste. Think of how many things go bad before you remember to use them. It happens a lot more than we like and can be easily avoided. Take stock of the fridge for fruits and veggies you didnt use that might go bad, stick them in the freezer or a soup or a sauce before they do!
- Compare stores and their prices. A lot of stores charge more for the same thing. I have my fixed stores that I go to because I know I will get items I need cheaper. I do a comparison of other stores every couple of months to make sure I am not missing out on something more economical. I find my desi grocery store is much cheaper than the neighbourhood grocery store so I buy even my non-desi groceries there. For example cooking oil, at my local grocery store is $17 and they label it “keto” same size bottle at my desi grocery store is $13. I kid you not!
- Make your meals and snacks from scratch as much as possible. It is healthier and saves you a lot.
- Shop online. We often pick up things we dont really need just because it was there and “beckoned” to us from the shelf! If you are shopping online you can avoid that. This is especially true if you know your weakness is compulsion buying.
- Plan healthier more plant-based meals. Do we really need to eat meat every day?
- Track your spending. At the end of the month add it all up in categories like necessary groceries, unnecessary groceries, Tim Hortons/Starbucks, odd n ends that look nice in the package and end up in the garbage days later (especially for moms of little kids!) clothes you didnt really need, something you bought just because it was on sale etc. You will be able to see where the money is going and be able to avoid spending on wasteful things-it especially hurts to know how much all that coffee adds up to!!
- Condition yourself. Seriously. When you pick up an item to put in your shopping cart, really be mindful. Do you really need it? Do you just want it? What is the use of it? Can you live without it? Wouldnt you rather save some money for something better?
- Buying in bulk. Yes I love Costco, but I also have a lot of self-control, I dont buy things there I dont need just because they are cheaper. So apply the above conditioning in #10 then get yourself a Costco membership.
- Check for sales (there are apps like Flip) buy more things on sale for example that can be frozen for later use. I do this with tomatoes. I add tomatoes to everything and when the price of tomatoes goes up (youd think it was a tech stock the way the price of tomatoes goes up and down!) I just grab mine from the freezer.
- Make new dishes out of leftovers. It seriously saves time and money and the kids will never know. Inshallah.
- Make it a point to give to charity. This last one is gold, it never fails, give what you can even if it is a tiny bit. It always comes back to you.
Did you save some money? Dont go shopping, stay tuned because I will be telling you what to do with it!
About the Author
Khaula Siddique, artist at Khaula’s Art, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now paints stories on large walls. She loves bringing art to the community and achieves this through interactive art activities and public art projects. When she is not painting, she is over-indulging her large eccentric orange tabby who part-times as her critic and her muse. You can find her art shenanigans on her website, Khaula Siddique.com.