Groceries represent one of the biggest buckets of spending for Singaporeans. According to ValueChampion, the average Singaporean family spends about S$1,334 on food and beverages each month. Even if you were to avoid dining out and cook at home most of the times, feeding a family of 3 can easily cost S$1,000 on a monthly basis. While there are plenty of tips online on how you can cut your grocery bills by shopping with a list, making fewer shopping trips or clipping coupons, one of the most effective ways is actually to get rid of your bad grocery shopping habits. For the budget-minded home cooks in Singapore, we've prepared a list of six costly grocery shopping habits you can stop today save on your daily necessities.
Don't be loyal to brands
In the early 20th century, all it took to be successful in business was to make good quality products because reliably producing great quality soap or vegetables itself was difficult. Since the 1950s, however, consumer packaged goods companies like P&G have been building their global businesses by inundating consumers with advertisements. This strategy has been effective because people could simply purchase well-known products that they could trust instead of researching and comparing quality and price of every single product on their own. Over time, consumers learned to trust these brands to represent good quality and were willing to pay for the convenience of simplifying their shopping process.
However, in the modern era, being loyal to brands isn't necessarily the best shopping strategy. First, brands have been charging high prices for cool and catchy features that aren't all that necessary, like adding a fifth blade to your already decent razors. Not only that, the production quality of alternative options has caught up, and many of the house-brands that are being sold by supermarkets themselves are actually just as good as the ones being sold by big brand names. When house brand eggs cost only about 50% of what brands charge, one can save quite a lot of money by forgoing branded goods for private-labels for many other things.
Don't go grocery shopping when you are hungry
Emotionally charged purchases can often be illogical. Hunger, being one of the most basic and intense emotions that people can have, can easily throw you off budget when you are at a supermarket. Even if you have a shopping list, hungry people can be prone to buying unnecessary items just because they feel the extra emotional push to purchase. Instead, you could try to go grocery shopping when you are relatively full. For example, grocery shopping after dinners can be a great way to take a stroll to digest while preparing for the next day. Also, setting a small "fun food" budget could be an effective way of limiting unnecessary expenditures while still allowing you to experiment and have some fun at the supermarket.
Always check your receipts
Most people have a tendency to go to the store, pay and just stuff the receipt into their bag or their pocket. However, this is a bad habit that can actually be quite costly over time because people make mistakes. For example, cashiers often mistakenly scan items twice and overcharge people for their groceries. Therefore, it's generally advisable to at least glance over your receipt to make sure you paid the correct account. Doing so has an added benefit of making sure you receive discounts for a sale or promotion, which is another thing that some cashiers miss occasionally.
Don't pay with cash
Lastly, unless you shop for groceries at cash-only market places, we recommend using credit cards when shopping for groceries at supermarket. Because supermarkets charge the same price whether you pay with a card or with cash, you might as well earn either cash rebates or miles by using a card to purchase your daily necessities.
While there are many grocery credit cards in Singapore, there are some notable differences among them that are worth discussing. Citi Cashback Card works well for foodies since it provides 8% rebate on both groceries and dining. While its grocery rebate is a bit lower at 5%, HSBC Visa Platinum Card is ideal for families since it provides 5% rebate on monthly recurring bills like mobile, cable and internet. UOB Delight Card is also worth considering because it could help people save up to 18% on groceries for those who take heed to shop for house brands at some major grocery chains in Singapore.