Groceries are an essential part of human life and literally help to keep us alive. A good portion of most people’s budget goes towards buying groceries and while this is inevitable, grocery shopping is also one of the biggest avenues for overspending and impulse buying. Supermarkets themselves have caught on and conveniently place items leading up to payment tills to further encourage impulse buying. While some can afford to overspend every time they go out to buy groceries, those who wish to budget better or spend less might have a hard time. Luckily, there are ways to budget better when it comes to your groceries.

1. Make a list: If you are trying to budget better with your groceries, perhaps the worst thing you can do is go out with the intention of buying ‘groceries’. This is because the term ‘groceries’ is rather vague and gives room for buying unnecessary items while in-store. It is, therefore, important to define what exactly you need in terms of groceries. This means making a list of things you need and budgeting accordingly. Specify what food you need, in what quantity and how much you are willing to spend on it. Some go a step further and decide on what brand they will buy ahead of time. That way, your trip to the supermarket is targeted and specific rather than a browse through shops buying whatever catches your eye. 

2. Make use of pre-paid cards: If you find yourself unable to overspend when you go out to buy groceries, you might want to consider pre-paid cards. Pre-paid cards are cards for which a pre-determined amount of money is made available to spend on. No matter how impulsive you find yourself, you cannot spend more than the amount of money you have at hand. Consider getting a pre-paid card and loading your weekly or monthly food budget on it. That way, you are forced to buy only necessary items and prioritize essential foods over impulse buys. These sorts of cards will also prove helpful in teaching young people the importance of money management at an early age. 

3. Pre-order: If you want to create a very strict grocery budget that leaves little space for impulse buys, consider pre-ordering your groceries. Many supermarket chains will allow customers to create a reoccurring ‘basket’ of groceries that are either delivered to their homes or picked up in-store. If you already know the items you will need on a periodic basis, pre-order them from your supermarket and either have them delivered or pick them up. By doing this, you create little room for impulse purchases as you either never have to visit the grocery store or simply go in to pick up your package.  This also comes in handy if you are a busy person who does not always have time to grocery shop or have a very strict diet.

Believe it or not, it is possible to stop impulse buying when you need to buy your groceries. Follow some of the above tips to better budget for groceries.