Like the ubiquitous medicine cabinet, we all want to know what’s in each other’s shopping carts. How much do my neighbors and friends spend on groceries each week? Are we spending more? Can we figure out how to spend less?
The weekly grocery budget is a popular topic within the Amsterdam Mamas community, so much so that we have been able to harvest the top tips and tricks for getting the most bang for your buck while grocery shopping in the Netherlands.
Start with a Budget, a Meal Plan, and a List
Before heading to the supermarket determine what you aim to spend for the week and with this in mind make a meal plan. By meal planning, you purchase only what you need to consume in the coming week, thus, saving you money by reducing potential food waste from over purchasing.
Once you know what you are going to eat make your shopping list. Whether you write it out the old-school way or utilize an app (like Wunderlist or Remember the Milk), a shopping list helps you oversee your potential purchases against your budget. You can add to the list over the course of the week as you discover the toilet paper has run out or the last box of rice is gone.
Do Your Homework and Find the Good Deals
Nearly everything goes on sale at some time or another; from your favorite brand of shampoo to preferred brand of diapers. If you are loyal to brands or products then visit Voordeelmuis to find where the product is currently available at a discount.
With a dozen or more major supermarket chains in the Netherlands, fresh and non-perishable foods are always on sale. By utilizing Reclamefolder you can leaf through supermarkets’ deals of the week.
It’s All About Where You Choose to Shop
If you’ve done your homework and have your list of requirements, then you should be able to divide your list of groceries according to the availability of goods at different supermarkets. You might be used to hopping into the Albert Heijn across your home (which is undoubtedly convenient), but try exploring the other supermarkets in your neighborhood like Aldi, Lidl, the Turkish shop and local Tokos, favorites that offer good quality products at a fair, if not lesser price than the major supermarket chains.
Armed with your list, you know what your shopping needs are; you can now be sure to get a fair deal at your local baker, butcher or outdoor markets.
Shop Less Frequently and Buy in Bulk
Have you ever noticed that you ran in for milk and came out with toothpaste, bananas and a bottle of wine? They may have been on sale but impulse purchases can add up, so resist the urge to purchase items not on your list. Even better is to do your shopping a maximum of once a week and never go shopping on an empty stomach. Food cravings will override your ability to make sound decisions and stick you to your list.
Albert Heijn’s Hamster week is a good opportunity to stockpile. Stock up on non-perishables, cleaning products and freezable items that will last several months. You shouldn’t have to pay full price for diapers, coffee, toilet paper or laundry detergent; and, before your stockpile is up, the deals will be on again.
Track Your Expenses
So in the end, what do we all spend? Well, according to what we hear within our community the average Amsterdam Mama’s family of four spends between 400-500 euros per month. This is in line with the Dutch national average calculated by National Institute for Family Finance Information.
To know what you are spending keep your receipts and tally them at the end of the week. Do this for a month to see what your shopping trends are and discover your actual spending budget. Do you want to track your budget more consistently? Try using an app such as EZ Expense Manager or Spending Tracker. Knowing what you spend and how you spend will dramatically reduce your shopping cost. One of our Mamas asserts to have slashed her weekly shopping by 35% by applying these tips & tricks. Could you do the same?
These tips have been compiled from the recommendations of our members on the Amsterdam Mamas Facebook group.
Melissa Curran Kalker is a professional organizer who runs her own business sorted.by Melissa. As a former ex-pat who now calls Holland home, and as a working mother and partner, she understands the unique stresses and needs of those who may be re-locating far from family and friends. Her mission is to help working families find more space, focus and time for a richer quality of life. She shares her organizing & minimalism journey on her Blog and Facebook page.