Since food is a basic human essential, it makes a lot of sense for us to spend a lot on our regular grocery runs. However, we should consider that all grocery stores, from the small ones in our neighborhood to the established chains that can be found in almost every city in the country, will use every trick up their sleeves to make us part with our hard-earned money. The dizzying array of goods on display makes the temptation to splurge very high, and let’s admit it--we’ve all gone way above our self-imposed grocery budgets at one point or another.

Whether you’re a serial grocery overspender or you just want to cut back further on your expenses, you’ll definitely find the following shopping tips helpful:

1. GO FOR IN-HOUSE BRANDS.
Some big grocery stores offer affordable alternatives for pricey brands with their in-house product lines. They’re usually cheaper, and there’s a whole range of items--from canned goods to toiletries--that you can choose from.

2. DON’T BUY PREPARED PRODUCE.
While pre-cut fruits and vegetables and prepared salads make for convenient healthy fixes, they also have less vitamins and tend to wilt faster. Just peel and slice a dish’s ingredients by yourself--while it involves a bit of manual labor, it will save you a couple of pesos in the long run.

3. AVOID TEMPTATION.
Got a sweet tooth? Better stay away from the candy and chocolate aisles. That pack of gummy bears may only cost P20, but that’s another P20 you’ll never get back. The same goes for whatever weakness you have, whether it’s ice cream, chips, or nail polish. Also, don’t shop when you’re hungry, as studies have proven that everything will look more tempting than usual when your tummy’s rumbling.

4. DITCH THE BASKET.
For quick grocery runs when you just need to grab a few necessities, don’t bother getting a cart or a basket. You’ll be more likely to avoid impulse purchases simply because you can’t carry anything else.

5. GROW WHAT YOU CAN.
Save up on fruits and vegetables by starting a garden of your own at home. Plant some vegetable seeds or get plant seedlings, give them some TLC, and you’ll soon be enjoying the fruits of your labor (pun intended) in a few month’s time. For condo dwellers, try taking care of a few potted herbs in your kitchen.

(Photo by Mary Thompson via Flickr Creative Commons)

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