Want to spend less on groceries? Here’s how I got my food bill down in Islamabad
By Muhammad Faizan
Regardless of whether you are feeding yourself or a whole family, you often find that buying groceries take a big slice out of your paycheck. When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t care about how much I would spend on grocery shopping. It wasn’t until when I seriously thought of saving money for my future investment.
One day I sat down and made a monthly grocery budget, and began to see errors in my shopping style. I had no proper method of shopping for groceries, not did I know any smart way of saving money on grocery shopping.
According to a report by US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, among 84 countries surveyed, Pakistanis spend nearly half of their income (47%) on buying food, which is one of the highest in the world.
This fact compelled me to think over, get back to my roots and trim the excess grocery spending.
I made deliberately targeted changes, the biggest one was to shop for groceries online and I saw immediate results without giving up on foods I love.
Because going to supermarkets will make you buy items that are not on the lists and we all know that grocery stores have strategically placed items to trigger the impulse buying behavior of customers.
In other words, grocery budgeting is a science, and an art. I make monthly and weekly budget plans as it’s easier to stick to a monthly grocery bill. I keep telling myself “if this, then not that,’’ as I shop for groceries online. And that’s one reason my monthly budget for groceries plunged from Rs16000 to 12,000 and I could see myself saving thousands of rupees annually.
There are various simple ways to save for grocery. Here’s how I saved money by avoiding supermarkets in Islamabad and opting for one simple online grocery app Howmuch.pk in Islamabad. This app allows you to compare prices of various products as well as buy online.
It cost between Rs150-300 to get your groceries delivered from any of your chosen marts to your doorstep in Pakistan.
But there are few online grocery stores who do not charge any fee, if you spend more between Rs1000 – 5000 on purchasing groceries (depending on each grocery store).
Here’s a tip: Try to order weekly or monthly groceries at once to avail free delivery. This way you can save an extra amount of money, time and calories.
To sidestep delivery cost altogether, you can choose “click and collect” method. Depending on where you reside, online shopping also gives an option to drive up and pick your pre-ordered groceries from the store.
I don’t have to run around the city to buy inexpensive groceries. The prices listed on groceries delivery apps can be compared to regular supermarkets. Once you have selected a reasonable supermart online, you can pleasantly order groceries without having to worry about going over budget.
Through grocery apps, people even can shop by product and order groceries online from office and can pick it later on way back home without setting a foot in a grocery store.
Icing on cake: I also started to save fuel cost by not traveling through stretched sectors of Islamabad.
Waste less Time
Time is more valuable than money. It takes hours to sidle through the aisles of supermarkets than to click through an app and “add to cart” within minutes. It saves hell amount of time including driving time and I can take kids to the nearby park where I don’t get tempted to spend extra money.
Stay under Budget
It’s super easy to check how much my total grocery will cost by looking at my online cart. If I have a weekly basic budget for groceries, this makes it far less demanding for me to adjust my groceries and remain under the budget plan.
For example, If I’m somewhat over the budget, I may purchase cereals rather than more costly frozen food or chicken thighs rather than steak.
Grocery delivery is convenient and can surely save you money. But it’s not magic, as you have to be watchful on prices of regular marts and online stores.
For the maximum benefit, develop a plan that makes sense to you by creating a list of items that you can order online smoothly such as detergents, cooking oil, spices, cereals & bathroom utilities, which can actually save your time, energy and calories.
Plus for the perishables items such as milk and bread, you can do your grocery shopping from nearby supermarkets.