Five Tips To Change Your Shopping Mindset and Deal With Rising Food Costs

Has the dollar amount on your grocery receipts lately have you feeling faint? By adopting a mindful approach and being open to adjusting your habits, you can effectively manage rising food costs without compromising on quality or nutrition. Emma's sharing her best tips for adjusting your shopping mindset.

Grocery prices are rising faster than the temperature before it starts raining men, except we’re not saying hallelujah. I’ll give you a second to digest that very lukewarm reference to The Weather Girls hit.

But seriously, food inflation is real, and the hit to our weekly grocery bills is evident. Dealing with the cost of living increase when it comes to a basic need like food is tough — there’s as much of a mental element to it as there is a financial one. So, we’ve rounded up some tips and strategies to help you take control of your food spend.

1. Decide to take action

It sounds simple, but some of us are yet to actually decide to make a change. We see our usual staples with higher price tags than usual. We see our checkout total get bigger despite our receipt getting shorter. We grunt and groan at how much we’re paying — but we’re still doing it. 

We need to recognize that the conditions have changed.

Imagine doing a hike one day in sunny weather, and then doing the same hike again in winter. If you wore the same outfit as you did the first time, you’d probably struggle in the new conditions. The same applies to our grocery shopping. If we’re shopping in new conditions with the same list, we’re going to struggle. 

2. Get flexible with your shopping list and meal rotations

To combat these new shopping conditions, we need to get creative with the things we’re buying. This means taking a different approach to food shopping.

Rather than going in with a set list and shopping only from that, go in with a more flexible mindset. Shop what’s cheapest that week, and build your meal choices around that. For example, if you usually make a curry with eggplant and pumpkin, be flexible with those two ingredients. If eggplant is expensive (which it often is), switch it out for potato, carrot, or zucchini. If you usually use beef mince in your pasta sauce, switch it to turkey or chicken mince if it’s cheaper.

The key is to have rough meal bases with flexibility in the specific ingredients. This might take a bit of creativity and exploring some new recipes online — but you’re expanding your cooking repertoire and saving money in the process. 

3. Celebrate the small wins

Making small savings does add up, but if we’re not celebrating the progress we’re making it’s easy to lose motivation. Sit down with your receipts after shopping and look at where you were able to cut costs. 

Keeping track of your grocery spending in PocketSmith can also help keep you motivated and help you take more notice of how your small changes are adding up over time.

4. Compare prices and specials

If you’re not a ‘shop around for the cheapest price’ kinda person, you’re not alone. Many people would rather just shop at one supermarket than make multiple stops to save a few bucks — but with prices so high, that bit of effort could save you a lot more than a few bucks.

Cross-check your grocery items across other stores to make sure you’re not missing a great deal. If you find something expensive that’s dropped to half price, stock up to maximize that saving over time.

5. Gamify your grocery savings with rewards points

If you’re not a member of supermarket rewards programs, now is the time to be! You may as well get rewarded for all this hard work, right!? 

Not only can you score points that can be converted to vouchers to spend in-store, you can even earn big frequent flyer points, particularly if you shop the promotional periods for bonus points. 

Getting involved with rewards programs also gamifies the process and helps you focus on getting the biggest rewards than scrimping and saving.

Emma Edwards Profile Image

Emma Edwards is a finance copywriter and blogger, on a mission to humanize the financial services industry by creating meaningful content that’s accessible and empowering. You’ll find her penning money tips at her blog, The Broke Generation, sharing financial insights on Instagram, or injecting life into content for her business clients. 

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