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Buy groceries cheaply: 7 tips

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Prices for food have been rising for months – whether dairy products, cooking oil, vegetables or bread. This is also proven by the data from the Federal Statistical Office. At the checkout, many people are amazed: Wasn’t the weekly shopping much cheaper recently?

In recent years, food prices have only increased slightly. Between 2000 and 2019, inflation averaged just under 1.5 percent. Last year, prices really exploded: the price increase from January 2022 to January 2023 is 20.2 percent.

“A number of factors play into the price increase, including increased energy costs, hidden price increases as well as the difficult international political situation and labor shortages,” the consumer advice center said in a statement.

This is how you can save on grocery shopping

Although we can’t change the reasons for the price increases, there are still enough clever shopping tips to save a little money when shopping for food. So much in advance: Eating healthy, varied and cheap at the same time – this is possible even when food prices have risen.

According to the GfK Behavior Change Survey, almost 90 percent of German consumers have already adjusted their shopping behavior in order to conserve their household budget. The most common measures include buying own brands instead of branded products and comparing prices in different supermarkets. We have collected further tips for you.

With a few little tricks you can save a lot when shopping

1. Write yourself a shopping list

If you go shopping without a plan (or even worse: hungry), you almost always buy things that you don’t actually need. A bag of gummy bears, a ready meal or a new type of cream cheese can quickly end up in your shopping basket.

A shopping list – whether digital in an app (like bring!) or analogue on paper – can help you only buy the things you actually need and avoid unnecessary impulse purchases.

A nice side effect is healthier shopping: sweets and chips in particular are rarely planned in advance when shopping. They are often conveniently placed and thus tempt you to buy.

2. Plan your meals for the week

One way to make your shopping list even more efficient is to plan your meals smartly. Not only can you save money on shopping, but you can also ensure that you eat a healthy, balanced diet.

You can also cook meals in advance (keyword: meal prep) and save yourself having to cook on other days.

Another big advantage (not only for your wallet, but also for our environment) is that meal planning prevents food waste. According to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL for short), almost 60 percent of food waste is caused by private households – that’s 6.5 million tons per year in Germany alone.

3. Buy private label / no-name products

Many people buy branded products because cool packaging, pretty logos or their own quality seals suggest that the branded product is simply better. Incorrect! Because if you consciously choose no-name products or own brands in the supermarket, like and! or Good & cheap If you use it, you’ll save a lot of money – an average of 30 percent compared to the branded counterpart.

Known? Many of the large brand manufacturers have a second mainstay and, in addition to their brands, usually also produce no-name products on behalf of supermarkets and discounters. And their recipe and composition are often very similar – sometimes even completely identical – to the branded product.

4. Store large packs

Some foods, such as pasta, rice, crispbread, dried lentils, canned goods, etc., last a really long time. Here it is worthwhile to buy the products in stock and pay attention to offers (such as cheaper XXL packs).

5. Become a food saver

Other foods don’t last long or are about to expire – and you can benefit from that. Even products that have exceeded their best before date are still edible, as they say Minimumbest before date and not expiry date. Yoghurt, quark etc. are like that at least Keeps until day X, but can still be enjoyed several days later. “Look, smell and taste carefully – this can save a lot of food from the bin and helps save money,” advises the BMEL.

So “save” food from the supermarket, restaurants or the neighborhood with a clear conscience. There are apps that can help you with this, such as “Too Good to go”.

6. Cook cheap meals yourself instead of buying ready-made meals

Good food has to be expensive? Nonsense! Rather the opposite is the case, as ready meals can quickly become expensive. And there’s often not a lot of good stuff in it, just a lot of additives and lots of salt. Instead, buy fresh ingredients and cook yourself. This can not only save you money, but also ensure that your meals are healthy and balanced.

7. Shop seasonally and regionally

Seasonal products are often cheaper than imported foods because they are produced locally and there are no high transport costs. Furthermore, seasonal products are fresher and contain more nutrients than imported fruits and vegetables. It’s best to find out in advance which types of fruit and vegetables are currently in season. This also works via the app.

Will food prices continue to rise?

“Exact forecasts are not easy, but food prices will remain high for the time being and further price increases have been announced,” says the consumer advice centers. “In general, consumers must expect to spend a higher proportion of their disposable income on food in the future.”

Conclusion: Shop smart, but don’t save money at the wrong end

There are many ways you can save on grocery shopping. And above all: shopping cheaply does not automatically mean that you have to forego fresh food and/or good taste.

By creating a shopping plan, choosing seasonal products, buying in bulk, taking advantage of special offers, planning meals ahead and using your pantry wisely, you can save yourself a lot of money. So: Better shopping habits are worth it.

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