I was at the grocery shop earlier today and the place was packed with items all the way to the gate. I just calmly respected my debit card by picking only what I went in for. These days, no one needs a reminder to stick to the list.
I know some people still struggle with handling shopping pressure so I have compiled a few tips I employ, to help keep my shopping budget sane.
Don’t just believe the housekeeper, look around the house yourself
You see, the times aren’t very friendly. A lot of thinking and pruning need go into the shopping list before one exits the door. Before now, I only wrote shopping guides (more like type a draft text message or Evernote) so as not to forget the necessary items. These days, I write, contemplate, edit, negotiate with the nanny, look in my kitchen store, ransack the freezer, then crosscheck the list again just to be sure that only the required are purchased and no pressing need is forgotten. There are hardly rooms for inclusions outside the list.
Look in the computer as your goods scan. Who shame epp?
This is always easier than scrutinizing your receipt after you already paid.
I have stopped spending time at the till asking explanations from the attendant for why prices increase as rapidly as daily. I have decided to save my energy as the conversations never impact on my bill. These days, I feel absolutely no shame in staring at the computer to see the price of each item as scanned before my total is announced. This way, you can quickly spot multiple entries or identify which items to reduce or remove if your total is going above budget and the attendant is still computing the items. No shame. No pressure.
Keep receipts from different stores or a price journal
I now stock receipts from different stores, comparing prices to decide which store to get what item from and who still has old stock. The downside to this is that you have to plan your shopping. You don’t just dash into any store. It may also mean that you will be spending more time getting your same old purchase. If eggs, fish, and plantain are cheaper at the green stall around the bend, why buy same from your one-stop shop?
Get creative. Trade time for money
My toddlers are eating a lot more home-made food. The N450/550
that goes into buying a bottle of Beechnut or Cow&Gate bottled food, can no longer be spared. I now use the same bottles to store and freeze her home-made sweet potato porridge, pasta, rice and peeled beans. Yes it means I have to devote time to cooking her special meals and even look up recipes on how toddlers like their meals made. The good effect this has produced is that she’s more open to trying adult meals apart from saving me a good amount of money.
My eggs and yams now come in from Ibadan – a neighbouring city. I found out that my friend, Funmi, always has someone come into Lagos weekly from Ibadan. This someone, brings her supplies from her parents. I have therefore teamed up with her and now get eggs for N750 a crate in place of the N1100/1200 which I pay in my neighbourhood shop for the same item. Yes, the Ibadan eggs are smaller, but I couldn’t care less.
Find alternatives. Bye Indomie!
A carton of 40packets of 70g Indomie noodles has gone from N1450 to N2200. I never thought there could be an alternative to Indomie. The maggie taste and reduced size post-cooking had become so annoying, I vowed to try another brand. Yes, I had some concerns. What if my children don’t take to it? What if my husband (a major noddles consumer) doesn’t like it? What will I then do with the carton of 40packs? But my mind was made up. I’d been exploited long enough. So I asked at the store, 3 days ago, for another brand. I got Mimee. And we have all eaten from it. I LOVED IT. Asked for my husband’s verdict and he said, he didn’t miss Indomie. N400 saved. Case resolved!
In the midst of the different survival tactics people are engaging to get by these days, no brand is indispensable. Brands should be sensitive enough to be content with marginal profits or creative enough to source other ways of augmenting income. Don’t be deceitful like Beloxxi cream crackers who in spite of raising cost price, still went ahead to reduce the number of biscuit in each packet. They were deceitful in putting no information on the carton to the effect so that consumers can buy fully aware of the change. I got home with my usual packet of biscuit only to be informed by my son’s nanny, days after purchase, that each packet now contains 2 biscuits in place of 3. Shame on you Beloxxi. I’m now searching for an alternative.