Life has become expensive, which is also reflected at the supermarket checkout when shopping for groceries. But sometimes the enormous price increase can also be countered on your own - with an adjusted shopping behavior. That's how it's done.
Unfortunately, the prices for food in this country are also rising noticeably and could rise even further. Unfortunately, nothing can be done about the external influences responsible for this. Above all, people with a tight household budget face great challenges - such people are often forced to save anyway.
But the air is getting thinner for many others too. Filling up the shopping cart as you please is currently hurting financially. However, with the right shopping behavior, consumers can relieve the household budget without great deprivation. It takes a little more planning and discipline. But at least this is one of the things that you can actively do yourself against the price increases. With these 15 tips, including those from the Hamburg Consumer Center, you can do it. Here we go:
1. Create a meal plan
The food week should be well planned. When do you eat at home, when do you need something for work? Do you eat alone, with the family or with guests? What can be combined well should be planned, also with regard to the required ingredients. If there are leftovers, the food should be frozen in portions to be eaten another time.
2. Inventory of the refrigerator
In Germany, around 12 million tons of food end up in the garbage can every year. Before you go shopping, you should therefore see what can still be used.
3. Better to shop on a full stomach
Don't go shopping hungry. Because if you do that, you tend to buy more.
4. Prepare to shop
Whoever writes a shopping list, ideally buys no more than is actually needed. A list is also a good remedy against the tricks of supermarkets and manufacturers to encourage impulse purchases with clever placement and garish advertising. These spontaneous purchases, which ensure good margins for retailers, account for up to 50 percent.
Spontaneously bought special offers give the feeling of saving money, but what use is a food that you don't eat at all? This also applies to bulk packs with volume discounts (3 packs for the price of 2/cheaper from 3 packs). They cost more at first, but in the worst case they end up in the garbage because they are not actually needed.
5. If possible, only shop with a basket
Unless the weekly bulk purchase is pending, the goods should better come in a basket and not in an oversized shopping trolley. Because the latter is deceptive about the number of goods to be paid for.
6. Keep an eye on special offers
If you don't want to go without a certain brand or a certain product, even if it's a bit more expensive, you should consciously pay attention to announcements of special offers in the supermarket. Many brands regularly sell their goods at particularly low prices and announce this in their brochures. If you use these actions consciously, money can be saved. Nevertheless, it should be noted that special offers for branded products are usually even more expensive than own brands, which are often of just as good quality.
7. Prefer food that has a short shelf life
You can also save a lot of money by buying food that has a short shelf life and, on top of that, you can do something against food waste. Many discounters and supermarkets present products whose sell-by date is about to expire in separate boxes for display or they use eye-catching stickers to indicate the products on the shelves. Especially when looking for foods to prepare soon, these great value deals are a great choice.
Since May 1st, products that no longer have a long shelf life can also be discounted more easily. A new final price no longer has to be shown on the price tag. A sticker such as "20 percent cheaper" is enough. However, it must be made clear to consumers that the goods are intended for consumption in the near future and are not suitable for stockpiling.
Apps such as Too Good To Go help save groceries in supermarkets that could no longer be sold the next day. More and more restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and bakeries are giving away food that they would otherwise throw away for a small fee. So it's a win-win situation: the providers still earn something, get rid of their leftover rolls and dishes and buyers get a much cheaper deal.
8. Shop at different stores
OK, that's a bit annoying. But shopping in different stores also saves money, since the different supermarkets offer their goods at different prices. Often the price for the same product varies greatly.
9. Compare basic prices
The basic price must be specified per kilogram or 100 grams and helps to find the cheapest product on offer. Because filling quantities are often different for the same pack sizes and prices. It is also worth comparing the basic price of packaged sausage and cheese products with that of the goods at the counter. The packaged goods are often a little cheaper.
The latest changes to the Price Indication Ordinance will apply from the end of the month. This should make it easier to compare the prices of products. So far, the basic price can be specified in different units: per kilogram or per 100 grams; per liter or per 100 milliliters. From May 28, only two statements are allowed, namely the price for a liter or for a kilogram.
10. Look at the bottom shelves
Many supermarkets usually do not sort cheap products and own brands at eye level. If you want to save money, you have to make an effort to get to the cheaper products or to spot them. Therefore they are also called Buckware. The more expensive branded products are usually in the direct field of view.
11. Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables
Seasonal fruit and vegetables are usually cheaper than timeless goods. Currently, these are mainly stored apples, potatoes, carrots, savoy cabbage, swedes, cabbage and beetroot. Tasty and inexpensive dishes can also be conjured up from these well-known and unfortunately forgotten foods. Cauliflower, radishes, lamb's lettuce and rocket will soon be coming from protected cultivation (covered with fleece or foil).
You can also save on products that are bought directly from the producer. Research in the surrounding area can be worthwhile. While expensive branded apples are often offered in the supermarket, you can often still find cheaper varieties from producers.
12. Convenience Girls
For finished products that save stirring, chopping or cleaning, you usually have to pay extra. If you do without this kitchen-technical service of the provider, you can save money. If you spend three euros more a day on ready-to-eat food, you lose more than 1,000 euros a year.
13. Avoid buying hamsters
Oil is currently in short supply. Sunflower oil in particular is often looked for in vain in the supermarket at the moment. But that's no reason to become a hamster, because these are only temporary supply bottlenecks. Hamster purchases drive the price spiral further - and that is of no use to anyone. After all, alternatives such as rapeseed oil can replace sunflower oil.
14. Drink water from the tap
Even those who quench their thirst with strictly controlled drinking water from the tap can reduce their expenses. If there are no old lead pipes in the house, this can be done without hesitation. In addition, the drinking water supplier must provide information on the quality on request. If you like drinking sparkling water, you should use a soda water maker.
15. Avoid to-go goods
Even if it's difficult: If you do without coffee or a sandwich from the baker or barista on the way to work, you can significantly reduce your budget. If you lubricate and scald yourself at home instead, you can reliably save a few euros.
(This article was first published on Sunday, May 08, 2022.)