Smart food shopping is a skill. It requires outwitting the people who operate food stores. It is no secret that psychologists and marketing companies are employed to lay out the supermarkets in a way that makes you buy more. So let’s get started…

Decide what your total weekly/monthly food budget is. Why is this important? If you have a dollar figure in your head when you go food and grocery shopping, it will nag you not to buy the stuff you don’t really need. It’s a psychological tool to stop you spending. You can even use Lowes 20% Printable Coupon that are free of cost and will get you discount at your nearest Lowes store. These coupons are easy to download, you just have to print them and they are ready for use.

Never go food shopping on an empty stomach. You’ll end up impulse buying much more food than you need. Everything looks ‘good’ when you’re starving. Always go food and grocery shopping after lunch or dinner.

Never bring your kids food and grocery shopping. Foods that are marketed to children and are currently on TV will be placed at their eye level. You are going to have a major argument in the supermarket trying to stop them putting those foods into your trolley. They will win the argument, because you get embarrassed with everyone staring at you thinking you’re an incompetent parent who can’t control the kids. Get a friend to mind the kids while you do food and grocery shopping and return the favor later. This will save your sanity and hundreds of dollars every year in foods your kids should not be eating anyway.

Make a list before you go. OK you’ve heard that before, BUT what you haven’t heard is that that grocery list should include lunch items. Small tins of tuna you can put on bread roll with a bit of lettuce, small tins of beans or corn you can mix with leftover rice and cold meats, a loaf of fruit bread you can put into a freezer at work and make raisin toast when you’re peckish. Most people I know spend $15-$20 a day at work on take-away food, coffee and snacks. Taking your own lunch to work will save you up to $100 a week on your total food and groceries bill.

Buy in bulk OR largest packets of foods and groceries that don’t go off e.g., toilet paper, soap, frozen peas, tissues. Also buy largest packets of foods that your family eats a lot off. For example, if your family eats a lot of yoghourt, but a 2kg tub (costs $9) instead of 10x200g tubs (cost $13).

Conversely, do not buy in bulk perishable foods and groceries that do go off, even if they are on special, e.g., fruit and veggies and dairy that can’t be frozen or just tastes awful when defrosted.

Do buy the cheapest cuts of meat. When cooked slowly or in the slow cooker they will be just as tender and tasty as the most expensive cuts. This step alone will save you a lot of money.

Do buy no-brand foods and groceries. When you read the ingredients you will realize that they are identical to a brand name product nearby.

Do use a calculator when doing food and grocery shopping to find out cost per unit and compare with similar items (most mobile phones have calculators on them). For example, which is cheaper per roll: 6 rolls of toilet paper for $2.95 or 10 rolls of toilet paper for $3.99? 6 rolls at 42.95 gives you 47 cents per roll, and 10 rolls at $3.99 give you 40 cents per roll. 7 cents is not much difference you might say, but if you use a roll a day, over a year you get $25 saving just on your toilet paper!

Do check use-by dates on foods. If you’re unlikely to eat the food before it goes off, do not buy it.

Be aware of the specials on foods and groceries. Use your calculator to compare price per unit (or per pound, per kilo, per 100g etc.) with similar items.

Do buy fresh foods of different ripeness. e.g., if you’re buying bananas, buy half that are ripe and half that are still green. Same goes for avocados, tomatoes, stone fruit and citrus.

Avoid the pet food isle all together. Here’s an article on how to feed your dog for $1 a day and save thousands on Vet bills.

Some books that will further help you cut your food and grocery bill and ultimately your medical bill!