Grocery for One: 7 Shopping Tips for Solo Living


One-person households are on the rise, particularly in highly developed nations.

Studies reveal that this coincides with the prosperity that many young adults experience in terms of finances and their careers. Additionally, there seem to be a lot of people nowadays who feel like they have a better chance of creating the life of their dreams alone.

Some say the hassle of dealing with another person with a different personality, preferences and priorities, are some of the reasons why solo living is the logical option.

However, there’s no denying that solo living is not a perfect arrangement. Some say it can get lonely, and certain responsibilities cost them more. For example, with food preparation, this can often cost more because smaller orders and solo products tend to have a higher price. Most cost-saving deals are also designed for families.

If you are a household of one and grocery shopping is costing you more than you want it to and you’re dealing with a lot of wastage, there are ways for you to manage it better.

Here are seven tips you can implement while living on your own:

1. Plan your meals

Meal planning will ensure that you only buy what you will use. At the same time, it will provide you with the opportunity to take advantage of wholesale products.

Over the weekend, gather recipes for the upcoming week’s menu, and while doing so, make sure that these recipes use similar ingredients. This way, you’ll know the items to buy in bulk, as well as prevent perishable ingredients from not being used and spoiling eventually.

Another approach that you can take with planning meals is visiting an online grocery store first. Go through the different deals on ingredients and let these deals direct your meal planning.

Say, there are huge discounts on seasonal vegetables, how about making them the main ingredients for the following week’s menu? Once you’ve created your menu, launch into online grocery shopping to take advantage of fantastic deals.

2. Shop online more

One of the leading benefits of shopping online is a more focused experience. Online grocers can’t make their galleries as visually enticing as in-store displays. Therefore, you can just focus on what you need to buy and the amount you will be able to consume.

Another advantage of shopping online more is that online grocers use a point of sale (POS) system, which collects data from all your transactions and also keeps a record of your purchases. So, in the future, you can refer to your old purchases to determine the products you usually buy and how many of them you need. With this, you may be able to set a fixed budget for grocery shopping.

3. Pay attention to expiry dates

If there are items that you like to buy in bulk, try to move through them quickly based on their best-before dates. This is an effective way to avoid spoilage and wastage of ingredients.

The trick that most single people have for this is moving all the soon-to-expire items to the front of a stack and placing the newest purchases at the back. This movement will help you go through your supplies the right way, as well as prompt you to research new recipes using these soon-to-perish items.

4. Learn food preservation techniques

Improve your homemaking skills by learning how to preserve highly perishable ingredients. If you are all about being wise with grocery shopping and can’t let low-priced wholesale produce pass you by, extend their shelf life through pickling or dehydration.

Dehydrators are perfect for drying fruits and vegetables as snacks, tea, or ingredients for pastries, soups, and other treats. Meanwhile, pickling and canning will work well for all kinds of vegetables.

5. Avoid buying anything that you won’t be needing soon

A typical grocery shopping booboo that many singles make is buying items that they have this fantasy using. For example, there are those who buy baking supplies because of the dream of making artisan bread and then forget about them because they have still to learn how to make bread or bake.

The advice of practical shoppers here is only to purchase what you know you will consume. So, if you really want to make your own bread, perhaps enroll in an artisan bread making course first before buying baking ingredients and supplies. Once you have the know-how, even a busy schedule won’t stop you from baking bread.

The same principle applies to produce. Only buy what you need because they usually do not keep long. Besides, it’s best to consume produce fresh as they will taste better and be more nutritious.

6. Invest in the right cooking tools or utensils

When you already have recipes prepared, and you also have all the necessary ingredients for your weekly menu, what you need now are the right cooking tools. Here is a short list of kitchen utensils that every solo household needs:

  • Crockpot (perfect for slow-cook recipes and baking without an oven)
  • Frying pans
  • Pots
  • Strainers
  • Graters
  • Sharp knives
  • Spatulas
  • Ladles
  • Forks
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Chopping board
  • Bowl set

With all the items on the list, you pretty much can conquer any baking or cooking recipe, and create all kinds of dishes and treats with your grocery items.

7. Set a shopping day

If you tend to shop only when it’s convenient, you’re likely to either run out of supplies or make shopping trips more than necessary. It’s best not to find yourself in either situation.

Wellness experts say that if you’re out of supplies, you might end up indulging yourself too much at a fast-food restaurant. Meanwhile, if you go grocery shopping often, you may fall prey to the lure of flashy products that you probably don’t need.

So, set a shopping day and be intentional about it. You’ll find yourself better equipped for the task and get shopping done much faster.

Shopping for one presents some inconveniences that can be a bit tricky to work out. But give the tips here a try. After all, they have worked so well for others, there shouldn’t be too many reasons why they won’t work for you.

Author Bio

Xavi Nunes is the Co-Founder and CMO at El Grocer, a digital platform for grocery stores and specialty and gourmet shops in the UAE. The company is reinventing the grocery shopping experience, integrating the best local stores into the mobile-first environment.

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