Where do you do your grocery shopping? For a long time I would only shop at the big supermarket chains- it was easy and, I assumed, cheaper. They buy in bulk and have obscene specials, yet my grocery bill would chew up huge amounts of cash every week. I’d do a big initial shop but by mid-week, my greens were wilted and the milk was all gone. Recently though I’ve made a real effort to avoid big supermarket chains. I started a few months ago and here are the differences I’ve noticed.
I buy less
When you’re in a butchers or greengrocers, you aren’t tempted by aisles and aisles of cheap, colourful products that are desperate to hop in your trolley. The lights are dimmer, it’s quieter and you aren’t bombarded with messages like ‘Cheap!’, ‘Fast & Easy!’ or ‘Look, I’m so Healthy!’ Instead, you’re faced with a smaller shop, ambient lighting, standard price labels and no outrageous claims about how much better your life will be if you just buy this thing.
I buy bulk
Because I’m spending less on impulse purchases, I’m freeing up money to use on bulk buys. It might be some steaks or a great special on tomatoes that I can use to make my own pasta sauce. Maybe pumpkin is going cheap so I can make a big batch of soup to freeze for easy dinners. I always make sure it’s something I can use and will keep as long as I need it to, otherwise it’s money down the drain.
Food lasts longer
This may vary between stores but I always know that if I have to grab fruit or veggies from the supermarket, to only get a couple of days’ worth. When I shop at a local grocery store, I can buy everything I need for the week and be fairly certain it will last.
I eat better
Because I’m missing out on all those impulse buys of biscuits, chips, cakes, sweet drinks and other packaged foods, I just don’t buy them as much. Instead I’ll be swayed by some fresh fruit, or bright greens and reds of salad ingredients. I’m inspired by the different cuts of meat, the free range eggs and the bright produce to cook more foods from scratch and that means I’m eating far better.
I’m supporting my community
When you buy from a locally owned store, you’re supporting the people who live in your community. They often pay better, treat their staff well, and they tend to stock more local ingredients instead of imported lines or food trucked in from out of state. This way, more of your money stays in your local community.
Making it work for you
It can be hard to juggle but if you have a plan it can work. Schedule shopping days when you’re going past the various places and plan errands so they complement your new shopping habits. Look for places that have a greengrocer and butcher in the same complex and investigate local co-ops, where one person does the shopping at a bulk price and everyone else picks up weekly from a set location.
It might take a couple of weeks to get in the swing of it, but shopping locally has so many benefits you’ll never go back!
Do you shop locally? Do you have any favorite shops where you live?
Author: Amy Hopkins