The average Filipino family spends 41.5% of their household income on food. With nearly half of the month’s stipend going towards groceries, it’s clear why many Filipinos are looking to get the most bang for their buck (while still staying safe!) at the supermarket or palengke. From scoring the freshest produce to avoiding bacteria, we’ve put together our top five grocery shopping hacks.
- Make a Plan
Save money and avoid impulse buys by creating a weekly meal plan based on your grocery’s sales and specials. When putting together your meal plan, try to minimize the number of one-off ingredients and be creative with leftovers. Roast chicken for dinner can easily be shredded chicken in a pesto pasta salad for tomorrow’s lunch!
- Fresh Produce and Perishables
Ask your supermarket what time they receive their produce and shop then. You’ll get first picks on all your favorite fruits and vegetables – and most likely, less crowds. Just remember to only purchase what you can feasibly use in 2-3 days. Another great hack is to check the expiry dates on your perishable goods (ie. eggs, bread and dairy). It’s usually worth looking at the back of the shelf as many supermarkets follow the ‘first in, first out’ rule.
- Keep Meat and Dairy Cold
Buy meat, fish and dairy last as these items can spoil if left in a non-chilled environment. If you shop at the palengke, bring a soft cooler that’s been left in the freezer overnight with you so that your meat and fish stays cold. Place these items into the fridge or freezer the moment you get home as cold food should only be left at room temperature for up to two hours.
- Avoid Bacteria
To avoid cross contamination, ask your grocery clerk to double bag fresh meats and seafood to prevent leaks. When bagging your groceries, never place raw food that needs to be cooked on top of ready-to-eat food. Ideally, groceries should be placed in separate bags with produce in one bag, household cleaners and items in another and raw meats and seafood in a chilled soft cooler.
- Bulk Buy
Buy in bulk to get the most bang for your buck. Keep an eye out for sales and buy non-perishable good like tissues or toilet paper then. Buying in bulk can also work for snacks too. Buy a large pack of your favorite chips or chocolate and portion out individual servings into plastic containers or resealable bags instead of buying individual portions each time.