The sanitary crisis caused by the coronavirus has irremediably provoked an economic crisis that will force many Spanish families to tighten their belts. Given this situation, most consumers need to optimize their spending. To this end, we must start with the most common economic activity: shopping at the supermarket.
When shopping, the first thing to choose is the supermarket. There is a big price difference between supermarkets, ranging from Sánchez Romero, the most expensive supermarkets in Spain, to DANI supermarkets, the cheapest. In fact, a Spaniard can save 971 euros a year by shopping in cheaper establishments. This figure is slightly higher than the national minimum wage (SMI: Salario Mínimo Interprofesional) per month.
However, this average saving varies depending on the city. Thanks to the wide variety of offerings in Madrid, people can save up to 3,226 euros a year, a quarter of the annual minimum wage. On the contrary, Cuenca is the city with the lowest average savings, since the difference between the most expensive and the cheapest average store is 247 euros.
What is more, these savings can be higher if we go to “low cost” chains, like Dealz or Sqrups, to buy specific products. These chains differ from traditional supermarkets, focusing on the circular economy, acquiring surplus stock from other establishments at prices significantly lower than those on the market.
After knowing where to buy, the next step is to ask ourselves “how”. Here are some recommendations to keep in mind to save on groceries:
- Prepare a weekly menu: by making a list and sticking to it, we will avoid buying unnecessary products that will end up being wasted.
- Avoid shopping when you are hungry: when your stomach is empty, it is difficult for your head to be in charge. For this reason, it is important to shop when our stomach is satisfied in order not to fill the basket with unnecessary sweets and cravings.
- Choose private label brands: private labels offer savings of around 40% compared to leading brands.
- Benefit from offers: 2 for 1, discounts on the second unit, products discounted because of their close expiration date… By paying attention to all these promotions, you can save significant amounts of money on your purchases.
- Sign up for loyalty programs: coupons and discount cards can be very useful for consumers.
- Consuming fresh seasonal products: seasonal products are always cheaper than other products.
- Carry your own bags to the supermarket: Spaniards buy an average of one plastic bag every two days at the supermarket. Considering a price of 10 cents per bag, this means an annual expenditure of 18 euros in bags. It may seem a small amount, but it is the equivalent of more than half a day’s work at the minimum wage. This expense can be avoided by reusing the bags we buy. Thanks to this action, both the environment and us win.
- Cooking: the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, at least in supermarkets. It is much cheaper to buy the ingredients needed for a dish than to buy food already cooked.
- Cooking in large quantities and freezing leftovers: there are often leftover portions that can be used for future occasions. This avoids having to spend for each of the three (or five) meals of the day.
Thanks to these recommendations, we have learned that shopping wisely can practically become a paid job that allows us to have more disposable income for other expenses. Let’s not forget that every euro saved has the same value as a euro earned.