Lifestyle

Six steps to make your grocery bills smaller

SHOPPING can be painful and expensive, but with these simple steps venturing into a supermarket doesn't have to be a budget-busting ordeal.

1. Shop without the kids

For most children shopping can be a drag at the best of times, let alone when you're shopping for those less exciting back to school supplies. And with nagging children in tow, the experience is not much better for the parents.

Do yourself and your children a favour and reduce the chances of giving in to impulse buying to satisfy complaining kids by shopping alone.

2. Facebook is your friend

Facebook is becoming a bigger part of the way we shop.

This is because retailers are fast realising the potential of social media to get their message across to the largest audience in the most cost effective way.

Often stores will post specials that appear purely on Facebook as a way to encourage people to like their page. They will also post updates about their latest stock and other related news and following a store on Facebook also allows you to become part of the conversation about products, discounts and even issues other customers might have with products.

Of course, when it comes to Facebook you can also rely upon your own friends for information by posting a question on your wall. People are quick to reply with their own advice or information about where to score a great bargain.

3. Compare prices

Whether it be perusing through catalogues at home or using smart phone apps such as Google shopper, RedLaser and Groupon in the palm of your hand, taking the time to compare prices is the good old fashioned way to save money on back to school spending.

You'll find a little bit of extra homework and more time browsing the isles will save you loads, particularly when it comes to competitive back to school bargains.

4. Be creative

Whether we like it or not, marketing plays a big part in what we buy for our kids.

A product that's attached to a popular brand or movie franchise is specially designed to appeal to children and usually comes at a steep price.

The good news is your kids don't have to miss out if you don't want to pay top price, with a bit of creativity going a long way towards saving money.

Simply buy the cheaper plain cover exercise books and get to work decorating them with cut-outs from your child's favourite magazine.

Not only does it save you money, but it can be a great way to spend quality time with your child while teaching them the rewards of doing something creative.

5. Set a budget

One common way to get caught up in excess spending is not to have a plan before you start.

Establishing a budget will curb the risk of impulse buying while having a plan of what you need and where to visit allows you to take a more direct approach to back to school shopping.

You will find that many schools provide an inventory of things a child will need for each subject at the start of the year so keep an eye out for that.

6. When to shop

It isn't hard to understand the reasoning behind this one.

When you're shopping while tired, hungry or with a limited amount of time you're more likely to make the first choice, rather than the best choice when it comes to back to school shopping.

While it might sound like common-sense, having something to eat and being well rested before you hit the stores will reduce your willingness to make impulse purchases and will also reduce the risk of making mistakes that will see you have to return to the store again.

Topics:  shopping



HORROR CRASH: Two die in hospital, one still critical

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was tasked to a crash at Woodenbong last night. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

The unregistered car that rolled had no seats and no seat belts

Firefighters on scene at remote Northern Rivers fire

GRASS FIRE: Fire fighters battling fires across the Mackay region as wind increases

Two 'Striker' units patrolling remote back country to monitor blaze

This week's markets list

The Lismore Car Boot Markets. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

Where to get your local fresh produce and coffee from

Local Partners

Lady Gaga confirms Super Bowl show

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga to perform in coveted spot

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Ten things to do this week

CLASSIC: A finals heat from the 1985 Byron bay Malibu Club Classic
Photo Contributed

Surf, music, comedy and plenty of cabaret

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities