Groceries Hack for fine foods

by - January 23, 2019

For me, eating healthy or tasty comes first before saving the dollar. I am not going to pretend that my food bill is low, and this is not a post for someone who spends less than RM20/meal. It's about spending less than high teas at TWG. It may not resonate with you because I shop my groceries in the city centre, which is way more expensive than out of the city. But here's how I don't overspend:

Buy from different places

One of my favourite quick food is sweet corn. For RM5, you get one organic or two normal corn in a supermarket. The standard price in KL market is 3 for RM5. Forget about groceries membership and credit card, that's 30% price difference.

It's hard for me to buy fish from the night market because I am not good at prepping the fish. If you are consuming a lot like a whole 3kg salmon fish, go to a wholesaler and you can get the fish at half the supermarket price. Last I check it's RM42/kg for air flown Norwegian salmon.

Japan rock melon is RM399 in Robinson KL, RM140 in Grocer and RM98 in Selayang Market. Always opt for bakery shop for butter, cream cheese, almonds in bulk. 

Even if you must buy the beautiful looking potatoes, the price difference between different grocery store is RM2-4/kg.

Eat seasonal genius food

Choose food that protect the brain like banana, avocado and eggs. These staples are cheaper than meat or fish and generally better for your health. Cherries in Sep/Oct is half the price of what you get in other months. Crabs are best eaten in Oct/Nov, where the shell is mostly light. Grapefruit when it's cheaper than oranges. 

Be selective on buying imported stuff.

Half of my groceries are imported. I buy USA cherries,  UK butter biscuits, cheese from France, Italian cured meat, and Japan short grain rice. So I can say that not all imported stuff is good or better.  For example, olive oil and coconut oil are actually quite comparable. Gula Malacca and dates syrup. I buy biscuits and honey from M&S, their seasonal flavours can go at 70% after the holidays. Many times, the hype for imported things it's just the price. This is especially true for processed foods. I have had too many tasteless Marks & Spencer tin soup.

Be even more selective on buying processed food.

Which is why it is even more important to buy less processed food. The best buy for processed food is local brands and McDs. I really find them good at the price point.

Mix/pour it yourself.

Gourmet blends like pre-mix spices and teas are usually 10x times the price of loose leaves and raw spice in the traditional shop. Buy a grinder or tea bags at Daiso, and you can have a pantry for less. Pour water into frozen dry speciality coffee instead of ordering a cup at the cafe. You don't even need a coffee machine.

Baking is easier than you think

Baking is about diligently following the instructions. You may need to check temperature, humidity etc. for skilled pastry the but not for a simple cake or scone. I make scones with French butter - five-star and it only cost RM2.50 for a piece.

Here are four more useful ways that I don't use that frequent (but really save when I do):

Meal prep and brown bag lunch

Leftover Meals
Keep and reheat meals. Take away the leftovers from weddings, parties.

Ransack the reduced-to-clear rack
The reduced-to-clear rack is good for things that never actually expire like dried stuff and raw honey. I am quite concerned about mycotoxins on fresh food, so I generally don't buy to-clear fruits.

Eat at soup kitchen  
We live in a blessed country, and I do know people with fat bank accounts going around for free food. It can be a soup kitchen or some events, get yourself an invite, and you may even get to eat for free in five star hotel.

Is there any other principles/methods you use? I like to hear from you if you have other tips and tricks.

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