1. Make an Effective Market List
When we say effective, there is no more elaboration for this word. It must be followed and remained as it is. The best way on how to do a monthly budget is to plan your 4-week expenses in advance. It is not only your mind stimulates in proper spending, but also, you are connecting with your budget directly. Do not fight with your market list and “always” follow whatever you have written down on your market list. This will surely help you and conserve you time. Please remember, when doing market list, your mind and your body must be in the right condition. You can think properly while focusing on the right items to write down.
2. Get Excited to look for Promos on Sale Items
Monthly sales or quarterly sales are random and rapid. One of the best ways to save money on groceries especially if you are working abroad is to roam around, whether actual or online. You can spot all the great promos by being excited to check the nearby malls, not just one mall or supermarket. It is always best to have options. Before doing an actual spot check or purchase, check their websites first, from there, you can create the lists of important items to buy in this particular mall while doing an online research to another nearby malls at the same time. This way, you can save time.
3. Maximize the Promo
If you have been established as one of the valued consumers, you can ask for an extra discount. Filipinos abroad are very good in asking for more, politely. Usually, malls have freebies, maximize it. If you got online coupon, use it when shopping. But if you think you got plenty of coupons, set aside some of them, you may want to use them the next time you go shopping.
4. Do a Price Matching
You can effectively price matching online. Do this process after you created your market list. In this way, you will have an organized comparison of prices of all the important items. In doing price match, it does not necessarily mean, matching the two similar brands from different outlets; but rather, you can do price matching two products with different brand names. Do not forget to see the product details before doing a price matching.
5. Do Not Waste Food
Food is indispensable. Do not waste it. Make sure, once you created a market list, as an OFW, you can consume everything. It is better to buy per unit. Cheap food means affordable food, not cheap in the quality. Make sure, its expiration is determined so it will not be wasted. Consume what you need. If you need to put back the food in the fridge, do it. While shopping, always ask if you can buy it in its retail price. Additional tip: buy a plastic container or plastic bag so you can protect your food from being easily spoiled.
6. Buy at the Local Market
Not only you can find fresh ingredients and raw food, but also, you can maximize your limited budget when you buy at the local market. Filipinos abroad are very good in asking for “tawad” (discounts). Be always vigilant with the texture and smell of the items.
7. Always Cook at Home
Your monthly budget is controlled when you cook at home. I know it is hard to live alone as an OFW, so it is better to invite some friends or work mates for a dinner or weekend lunch. Not only you can practice your cooking skills while enjoying cooking, but you are motivated to prepare delicious food when you know someone will eat your prepared food. When you cook at home, two important things will happen: one, you will not spend extra while enjoying your prepared food; and, two, you maximize the food in your fridge.
8. Be Serious with your Budget
Your eyes must always focus on your market list and not towards the items around you. This way, you will not be tempted to buy unnecessary stuff and too late to realize you have purchased it. Serious means, you allotted time in shopping. Your goal is to save money on groceries so you have to be an advocate by practicing it even no one dictates it, but your market list.
9. Register for a Membership Card
This is one of the perks of being consumer-based, but newly opened stores and malls do offer free membership card or free supplementary membership card. Take advantage of it. This will help you get numerous discounted items while shopping that will help your monthly budget implemented.
10. Always Calculate the Overall Cost of the Items before Making Payment
Remember, our main goal is to save money on groceries. Your effort in research, creation of market lists and your time rely on the actual expenses of your overall expenses. So, before you check out online or proceed to the cashier area, “do the computations on your own”. The easiest way to do this is to, right the actual prices on your market list and after completing the items, get the total. In this way, if you see additional surcharges or hidden charges, you can automatically and immediately dispute it so you will not waste your effort, time and your money.