Are you a smart shopper? Do you replenish your food stock in advance or are you the kind who do last minute shopping when your stock to runs out?
Here are some useful tips to help you manage your time, plan your purchases, and get the most of what you pay for on a limited budget.
Before you go to the market or food store:
- Prepare a broad menu plan for at least one or two weeks. It will provide you a daily menu guide.
- Prepare a shopping list (make it handy like your directory of phone numbers and emergency hotlines). Include basic supplies that need restocking and ingredients you need for recipes in the menu plan.
In the market or food store:
- Follow the shopping list and avoid buying on impulse – but you may use alternatives that are cheaper. Buy foods that are in season. They are generally cheaper.
- Buy only enough food for your needs and your storage space.
- Compare the cost of similar foods on the same quality.
- Select fresh food rather than canned produce for eating in the next few days.
- Read labels on canned and bottled foods and check them for: nutrition information, number and size of servings, ingredients, preparation instructions, menu and serving suggestions and expiry date.
- Check the condition of packages and containers.
- Buy your perishable foods last.
- Avoid buying “branded” foods – those that are heavily advertised. Buy goods that are “unbranded” – those that do not necessarily have a famous name – for they are usually just as nutritious, generally cheaper.
Source: World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Western Pacific, 1995