Friday, 21 February 2014

Learn to be a discerning shopper

Bavani Krishnan saves on her food bill by shopping at the wholesale market.

Bavani Krishnan saves on her food bill by shopping at the wholesale market.

Find out ways you can save money when buying groceries and other basic needs.

FOOD eats up quite a bit of Bavani Krishnan’s household expenditure, and she is always looking for ways to lessen her spending. Working as a chef in a restaurant has taught Bavani to make wiser choices when shopping for her own household.

“I buy a lot of meat products for the restaurant and have learned to make price comparisons. Controlled items such as chicken and fish are easier to shop for, as their prices don’t differ much. Still, it’s cheaper to buy them in wet markets,” explains Bavani, 36, who does her grocery shopping in the market these days.

Bavani says it is not necessary to buy expensive fish as they all contain more or less the same nutrients.

“Yellowstripe scad (selar kuning) and mackerel (ikan kembong) are the types of fish I stick to as they are cheaper.

“But if you would like to go for more expensive fish, buy them when they go on sale. During special occasions, sea bass (siakap) and tilapia, for example, are sold at a lower price. I marinate the fish, freeze them and cook them on a different day,” says Bavani.

Bavani does not usually freeze cooked food as they can get contaminated.

“When you marinate poultry, fish and other types of meat and then freeze them, it will lock in the nutrients and keep the food fresh longer,” she suggests.

According to her, this also works for onions and garlic as the shelf life for these items are short.

“If you chop onions and garlic and keep them in the fridge, they last longer.”

These days, Bavani compares the price of the household goods she buys. She even shops at wholesalers to take advantage of the lower prices.

But Bavani also cautions against being penny wise and pound foolish, pointing out that sometimes it’s better to pay more for products that are better in quality.

“A bottle of liquid detergent may be cheaper by RM1 but if you need to use a lot more to clean your dishes, then it’s better to opt for one that costs more but is of a better quality. In the long run, you’ll actually save money,” says the thrifty Bavani.

Bavani and her husband have also cut down on other expenses.

“In the past few months, I have shopped in pharmacies for my make-up supplies. While I don’t look like a million bucks, I’d sooner save a million bucks if I continue shopping wisely,” she says.

The couple have also started to do without luxury holidays and overseas trips.

“It has not been easy for us. But to survive and be able to pay our monthly bills, we have learned to limit our usual luxuries.

“My husband and I have decided to eat out only on special occasions, or go for a movie once a month,” she explains.

But not all is doom and gloom. Since they are now shopping and eating out less, Bavani is now spending more time outdoors.

“I have two dogs and they are more than happy to go for a run in the park every day. It’s not just cheaper but also healthier. I guess I have to weigh between my wants and needs these days,” Bavani concludes on a positive note.

Related stories:

Practising prudence

Sensible choices

Tags / Keywords: Family Community , Price hikes , financial woes , shopping wisely


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