Every day, Malaysians throw out 16,688 tonnes of food, with households producing the largest amount of food wastage at 38% according to Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) data. 

Furthermore, a Malaysian household of 5 people spends an average of nearly RM900 per month on groceries with nearly a quarter of that food getting wasted – this means every month, RM220 of your grocery budget goes straight into the bin.

In light of these figures, being conscientious of your grocery shopping habits may help you save money in the long run and help reduce food wastage. If you’re not sure how to start, try these 6 tips to be smarter at grocery shopping.

1. Create a weekly meal plan

Before you go grocery shopping, take 30 minutes out of your day and carve out a meal plan for the week. Decide on your breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices while also planning for the days you are most likely to eat out. Since you already know what you’re going to eat throughout the week, you’ll be more likely to eat home-cooked meals as you’ll spend less mental energy trying to figure out what to make for your meals. Creating a meal plan also allows you to build a more efficient grocery list, thus saving you money.

2. Write a list before you go grocery shopping

Write down your grocery list before you head into the supermarket. At the supermarket, the sheer variety and quantity of items available make it easy to forget your mental list. So, do it the old fashioned way and write down (or type into your smartphone) the items you need to pick up — this will keep you focused on the items you actually need, rather than spending money on things you don’t really need.

3. Avoid shopping when you’re hungry

A study conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management showed that hungry shoppers spent 64% more money than their less hungry counterparts. Additionally, hungry shoppers are more likely to pick up unhealthy high-calorie foods items such as potato chips, chocolates, bread, cakes, and more. So do your wallet and your body a favour by grabbing your lunch or munching into an apple before you head out to do your shopping.

4. Look out for special deals 

This might seem like a no-brainer, but keeping a lookout for deals when doing your grocery shopping can save you quite a bit of money! Of course, this doesn’t translate to buying something just because it’s on sale. For example, shopping in bulk often saves you money as you pay less per unit of item. But in order to truly enjoy these special savings, make sure the items you purchase in bulk are frequently used. After all, if you’re looking to save money by buying a 10-piece pack of tuna cans only to throw out 8 cans, it might be better to spend a little more per piece but purchase only what you will use.

5. Purchase your groceries online

Skip the queues and impulse buys by choosing to shop for your groceries online. Be it on fresh food items from HappyFresh and Lazada (yes, you can even buy fresh vegetables from Lazada now), or other food essentials from Shopee, online grocers frequently carry out flash sales or provide free delivery. So save yourself a trip to the store (and the added temptation) by simply carrying out your grocery shopping online and having it delivered to your doorstep.

I hope the abovementioned tips will help you save some money and at the same time you are able to reduce wastage at home. Happy shopping, folks!