By Yin Nwe Ko
I joined the university in 1973. It was the year I passed the matriculation examination. At that moment, I was over 18. Before that, I had never been to large cities. The atmosphere in the university was absolutely queer and amazing for me. I had some food that I had never had in my small town before. Among them, I remembered one named “Kaw Yay Khaut Hswe” meaning noodles with glue costing 60 pyas which were less than one kyat. It was very delicious. Today, “Kaw Yay Khaut Hswe” costs 1500 kyats which is over 1,500 times more than in 1973. The difference in the time from 1973 to 2022 is about 50 years. It is natural the old prices and the current prices cannot be identical.
Here, there will be a query whether the income of a person has also already risen to the prices of goods or food. In this article, I would not like to mean the comparison of rising prices of goods or food to that of the income of people. Regardless of the situations of the time and the political status of a nation, people from everywhere in the world should follow the good practice by which I have recently read a suggestion written by an author from the United Kindom. I think you all will agree with his suggestion and obtain a certain useful advantage after you have completely read his article up to the end. It is as follows:-
When I visit the supermarket it feels like every single item has become more expensive. Even if that’s not true across the board, once you get to the till those extra pennies here and there are adding up.
And some staples have jumped up significantly. A recent study by the Office of National Statistics tracked the prices of essentials over a year. Pasta increased by almost 50 per cent, bread by 16 per cent, and rice by 15 per cent.
So how do you combat the creeping cost of your groceries? Well, there are some simple tricks you can try that’ll reduce your spending and help you get the best value from your shopping.
Plan what you need to buy
There are a few advantages of thinking ahead before you get to the supermarket. First up, meal planning is a great way to ensure you have enough food in for the whole household for every meal, preventing last-minute dashes to the more expensive corner shop for extras.
While planning, check what you already have so you can use these up and cut out food waste (if you forget, a quick trick is to take a photo of your fridge and cupboards before you go to the shops!). Then your plan can turn into a shopping list. This is a great tool as, if you stick to the list, you’ll avoid the “special” offers and treats that tempt you to spend more than you originally planned.
And you can take this a step further by shopping online instead of in-store, removing you completely from an environment that’s engineered to make you buy extras or certain brands.
Change what you buy
We’ve all got our favourite brands and supermarkets, and it can be hard to ditch these for cheaper alternatives. But doing this can make a huge difference. Look for own-brand items, which are often made with similar recipes but cost less.
It’s worth at least giving it a go and seeing if you really can tell the difference. You might end up just swapping one or two items, but that’s still saving you some cash. I also like to check out the “price per unit” information on the shelf. Often this will be per gramme or litre and you’ll be able to see if you can save money by changing to a different size pack or different brand. You’d be surprised just how often the smaller bag is cheaper than the larger “value” options.
Occasionally this can sometimes get a little confusing. For example, you might see bananas in a bag priced per banana versus loose ones priced by weight — that’s impossible to compare! And don’t forget to check if you can pick up the same items for less elsewhere in the shop. You might find bargain spices in the world food aisle or cheaper toiletries in the baby section.
Take advantage of discounts and deals
Special offers can be a huge help, but you do have to be careful. Many, such as Buy-One-Get-One- Free (BOGOF), are designed to make us buy more than we need. But if you are certain you’re going to use something then bulk buying when they’re on offer will bring savings. I tend to do this for non-perishables like toothpaste or any product that I use every week.
You’ll need to check if a discount is a discount too. Often you can find that multi-buy offers only take off a penny or two. And there could be a cheaper alternative on the shelf that’s not part of a promotion. Coupons are handy and can be found online and in many supermarket magazines. There are also cashback apps like Shopmium and CheckoutSmart which offer money back when you buy certain products—though only do this if you want to buy what’s on offer.
You’ll also be able to get more and more special prices via loyalty schemes and apps. Tesco’s Clubcard is essential to get their lower prices, while the MyWaitrose scheme offers weekly vouchers via their app (you can also get paper alternatives if that’s what you prefer). And I’ll always take my trolley on a drive-by of the reduced sections in case I can pick up some yellow sticker bargains. Of course, only buy what you’ll eat and check that food can be frozen if you don’t think you’ll consume it in time (some things have been pre-frozen)
Prevent food waste
Finally, you’ll save a decent chunk of cash by avoiding throwing out food. There are two parts to this. On one hand, there’s forgetting you’ve got something and it’s gone off before you can use it — so keep an eye on the dates. And the extension of this is throwing out stuff past its date but still perfectly safe to eat.
The distinction here is between use-by and best-before. Use-by dates are all about safety, so you’ll see them on things like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. These dates are important, so eat or freeze items while they are in date (though you might get away with a sniff test on things like milk).
Best-before on the other hand is just a guide to the quality of the product. As long as items have been properly stored they’ll be fine to consume after the date — they just might not be at their best. So don’t chuck out those packs of crisps, tinned tomatoes, or cans of beer just because they’ve “expired”.
And remember that the freezer is your friend here. You can freeze more than you’d imagine. From leftovers from last night’s dinner and the last slices of bread or cake through to bananas (peel and chop them up first to add to smoothies), wine (put in ice cubes trays and use for cooking), and hard cheese (if you grate this before freezing it’s easy to quickly add to pasta and pizzas).
All in all, it is wiser and more convenient to practice the suggestion of beating the rising goods or food prices in spite of not blaming others.
Reference: Reader’s Digest UK Aug 2022