20 Grocery Saving Tips for UAE Residents
Groceries are expensive, especially if you have a family to feed. And even though the UAE has better prices on food than many other countries, it’s still a burden on your bank account every week.
We wanted to give our readers some amazing money-saving tips written up with the grocery store in mind. Put these tips to work for you the next time you shop, and guarantee you’ll see a noticeable drop in the final price!
Grocery Tip #1: Coupons are still king! Check out local newspapers and magazines first, but also look around your local grocery store. You can also check to see if your grocery store does a regular discount such as “double days,” and be sure to check weekly sales at different stores.
Grocery Tip #2: Save tons on local or bottom-shelf brands. The big name brands are more expensive and the quality is more or less the same. Sure you’ve heard of them, but that doesn’t mean their product is has a huge variation in flavor or quality.
Grocery Tip #3: Never shop on an empty stomach. If you’re starving while shopping, you’ll make more impulse buys, most of which will be bad for both your wallet and your belly.
Grocery Tip #4: Check for Manager’s Specials. Usually these are items that are close to the expiration date but not quite there yet. When you factor in that a grocery store has to be conservative in their estimate for when a product goes bad, you probably have a few days of perfect freshness to make a meal out of it.
Grocery Tip #5: If it’s not on your list, don’t buy it. This takes some discipline, but the savings will be evident immediately if you follow through. If you’re strict about buying list-only items, you’ll avoid unnecessary junk food buys or impulse purchases. Tell yourself you’ll get it next time (when it’s on your list.)
Grocery Tip #6: Taking a night off from meat is good for your bank account and your body. It’s easy enough to take one or two nights off from eating meat every week. Just make sure you have a couple of ideas prepared before you go into the store, or you might panic and go with meat anyway.
Grocery Tip #7: Plan ahead, shop once a week. The more times you hit the store, the more you’ll spend there. With just one trip to the store a week, you’ll be spared plenty of unnecessary temptation. This tip goes hand in hand with creating a list. You won’t feel like you forgot anything because you’ve done a thorough scan of your kitchen beforehand.
Grocery Tip #8: Go wholesale for items you need in bulk. That means toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc. You’ll spend more initially but you won’t have to go again for months.
Grocery Tip #9: Get the kids involved in shopping and cooking. Give them their own mini shopping list. Or better yet, give them a set amount they can spend and let them go nuts. They’ll learn the value of money and be less inclined to bother you over every tasty item you come across.
Grocery Tip #10: All the change you save during the week goes to treats. The kids will enjoy this game and it makes all that change feel like it’s worth something.
Grocery Tip #11: Local markets offer huge deals. The Diera shopping markets are a frugal shopper’s paradise, and if you’re good at haggling you can make it even more worth your while. Another option is the tiny shops found in the Meena Bazar.
Grocery Tip #12: Some grocery stores have better prices than others. If you’re shopping at the big supermarkets, you’re bound to see some hefty price tags. However, if you use the more cost-effective grocery stores such as Lulu Hypermarket or the Union Cooperative, you’ll end up saving loads on groceries every month, and still find almost everything you need, from produce and meats to cereals and anything else you can think of.
Grocery Tip #13: Check the store for special daily or weekly discounts. These may be specials that weren’t advertised in the papers. Check the store entrance for weekly price drops (usually in the form of a flyer or booklet.)
Grocery Tip #14: Freshly baked bread anyone? Yup, bake the bread yourself! It’s super easy to make an artisan loaf of bread with just some yeast, sugar, and water.
Grocery Tip #15: Get creative with ground beef. Well, you don’t have to be too creative, just resourceful! Mix up one egg with some ground beef and a bit of quick oats and you’re all prepared to dish up some quick meat loaf or meatballs.
Grocery Tip #16: Leftovers are an underused meal source. The trick is to use ingredients that will be useful for some other meal during the course of the week. That ground beef could be used for tacos one night, and a soup the night after. Plan ahead and your leftovers will go far!
Grocery Tip #17: Go farther with your milk. This is a tip just for milk drinkers. It requires a box of non-fat dry milk and a gallon of whole milk. You can mix these two together and get two gallons almost for the price of one!
Grocery Tip #18: Locally grown produce is both fresher and cheaper. You don’t have to hit up the expensive places for that all-natural organic produce. Shop local and get amazing deals on produce without having to pay extra for an organic label. A lot of this produce is half the cost of organic produce found in upscale stores.
Grocery Tip #19: If you’ve got a green thumb, grow your own produce. You’ll save a lot of money every week, although it may take a bit of time to set everything up properly. Once your garden is up and running however, it becomes a bounty of fresh, natural food for you and your family.
Grocery Tip #20: Price sheets help you find great bargains from different stores. You’ll find out whether or not each store’s sale prices are worth the drive to their store, when another store is offering it at the same price without the sale.