8 Simple Budget Hacks for Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is staple activity in day-to-day living. Because of this, it only makes sense to become a savvy shopper and learn how to save money on groceries.

Jumping into college can be seen as one of the first steps towards adulting.

As part of being in the world of adults and finding your feet in the real world there comes a whole host of new responsibilities.

One such responsibility is grocery shopping.

Because grocery shopping forms such an integral part of one’s university experience, and student budgets are as tight as they are it helps to be able to shop smart.

And that is exactly what this blog post is for, to provide some simple shopping hacks to save you money at the grocery store

1. don’t go hungry

You might be thinking that the reason behind a person grocery shopping is to be able to get food in the first place.

By this same logic then it would imply that there is no food at home to eat beforehand.

That’s where the strategic timing of going to the shops before your pantry is completely depleted comes in.

But alas, why do I recommend shopping on a satisfied belly?

Have you ever happened to notice the grocery stores’ enticing placement of all those sweet treats?

Waiting in line to check out your grocery items can be a dangerous place to be if you have a larger than average appetite and are ‘forced’ to stand in and amongst all those decadent indulgences.

Related: Are You Looking for Some Tasty Treats?

Related: 8 Easy Vegan Recipes to Try For Yourself

woman holding a giant cupcake and looking like she has eaten too much

2. grocery list

This has got to be one of the most underrated shopping hacks when it comes to groceries.

Have you ever been out to the store to grab a few items and then return home with some sneaky packages that you had no intention of buying in the first place?

If you put together a shopping list beforehand not only will you save yourself money, but you will save yourself time.

Related: Simple Time Management Strategies for Students


3. collective of stores

So the fact is that its highly unlikely for any one store to offer competitive pricing across all of its products.

If you manage to do some shopping around across different stores then you can put together the combination of goods from different stores that give you the best bang for your buck.

Related: The Student Money-Making Mindset

option a b and c

4. read the fine print

Right so you’re at the store wanting to buy yourself a block of cheese.

You have the choice between a 250g block or a 450g block.

The 250g is marked at R36, whilst the 450g is marked at R55.

The obvious choice is to go for the 250g block, right?


On paper, the 250g block is without a doubt cheaper.

Yet when you look at it on a rand per kilogram basis you’ll find the 250g block to be R144/kg versus that of the R122/kg for the 450g block of cheese.

Of course, this assumes one has the financial means to afford the bigger block, but if you do it’s a worthwhile investment for the long-term.

Though this strategy is not always the wisest.

It is all dependent upon your unique needs.

It would be pointless for a person who consumes on 250g of cheese a month to purchase the 450g.

Money would be wasted on cheese that inevitably expires.

read the fine print ahead is written on a road sign

5. the closing sale

Especially when it comes to freshly baked goods, a store will often mark down the unsold products in an attempt to clear their stock.

This is not a way of the store trying to get rid of substandard items, rather a means for them to mitigate their losses.

When it comes time for the store to shut its doors all those unsold goods are going to be ‘thrown out’ either to charity or unfortunately the rubbish bin.

The point is that they won’t generate any revenue from it.


6. shopping bags

This seemingly innocent expense at the checkout counter slips past the guard of many.

The price tag attached to these items is so insignificant that it rarely ever gets mentioned, but every little thing adds up.

If you’ve got bags lying around from your previous shopping spree then you’d be wise to use them for the next grocery store visit.

collection of different coloured shopping bags

7. tracking expenses

There is a saying that goes along the lines of ”what gets measured is improved” and that saying has never been more true than when it comes to personal finance.

Whether in the form of a budgeting app, spreadsheet, or bank statement, analyzing your spending habits can be the single greatest activity towards achieving greater financial literacy.

Chances are that you will quickly identify a few areas where you can draw back some money to be of better use elsewhere.

a work desk with a keyboard, coffee mug, glasses, notepad and pens

8. secret stash

It can happen where we find ourselves in a sticky situation at times where there is a whole lot of month to get through and not an awful lot of bank.

Be it in a dedicated savings account or even simply just a stack of notes in your safe or under your pillow.

Having an emergency fund of sorts, particularly for basic needs, will provide you with a great deal of relief when the budget becomes increasingly strained.

The key with this secret stash is to only use it when it is necessary.

And for when you do use it, it must be topped-up once again. After all, it isn’t a bottomless source.

bank notes stashed beneath floorboards


I hope you were able to find a tip or two to help you out on your next outing to the grocery store.

I am by no means a financial guru or anything along those lines, but I am passionate about personal finance and am always looking for better ways to use my finances.


Which of these tips have you already been implementing in your day-to-day grocery shopping?

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