Shopping is a fun and relaxing way for many to break out of their mundane daily routine. In countries like Pakistan, a monthly shopping trip, whether to a big mall or a mart, is a family affair and allows them to relax and have good family time. Due to the COVID outbreak, many families are denied this pleasure and resort to online shopping.
Most of Pakistan’s urban population is middle-classed, so planning for the whole month starts at the beginning of the month. The most important for any household is a grocery; this is the single expense, which can ruin your monthly budget if not managed correctly. Now for most families, a monthly trip to a mart used to be enough, no lists required; just pass through different aisles, fill up the trolley, and that was it. But since COVID, it has changed; although there is no lockdown anymore in Pakistan, a fairly large population still feels scared to have those monthly trips to the mart. Another factor is the growing trend of online shopping, where you just select an item, and it is delivered to your doorstep. If you want to shop online, just go to GradeOneMart, an online grocery store in Islamabad & Rawalpindi, and select the brand you want. The mart delivers it in less than 24 hours with the quality and weight guaranteed.
The is just a single example of several things you can buy from Grade One Mart, but what about the complete monthly grocery. Don’t worry; the mart has all the grocery items that are essentials. Most of us are on a budget for grocery shopping, so having a list of all the essential items can help save time and money. Following is a categorized list of items that can help you in your grocery shopping the next time:
Budget Grocery List:
If you are new to grocery shopping or online grocery shopping, always remember to divide it into the following four parts;
- Toiletries or bath items
This is a basic categorization of all the grocery items that a house needs during a month.
Essentials are the items that a house can’t do without. Most of the products are used in the kitchen and that for cooking. So you get the idea why this category is at the top and rightly named “essentials.” This category alone can make or break your monthly budget, so always try and select products commonly used and consumed by you.
- Grains, Lentil, and Rice: All Pakistani households are incomplete without grains, lentils, and rice. Since they are the most consumed products, buying them in bulk can be a good idea. For example, the current rate for a 1Kg bag of good quality basmati rice is between 260 rupees, but if a 5Kg bag is purchased, you will be able to save 20-30 rupees. If you buy basmati rice online from a mart like Grade One Mart, where the 1Kg bag is priced at 250 rupees, and the 5Kg one is priced at 1250 rupees, you will be able to save more than if you purchase them it from the market. This might not seem much, but add in other essentials like red and white beans, lentils of your preferred choice, and chickpeas; you’ll be saving a hefty amount.
- Flour: In our culture, it is unthinkable to eat grains, lentils, and other curries without roti. There are different types, qualities, and rates of flour in Pakistan, depending upon your preference. Before making up a grocery list, estimate how much flour is used every month. On average, most households use between 10-15 kilos a month, so buying the complete quantity is a wise idea. A 10 kg bag of “Fine Atta” is sold at 820-830 rupees, which might save you 30-40 rupees compared to a 5Kg bag. This figure increases when bought from Grade One Mart, where a 10Kg bag’s price is fixed at 800 rupees.
- Cooking oil and ghee: Without this, our cuisine is never complete. So having them on your monthly list is a priority. Understand your monthly usage and then buy accordingly. Luckily these are produced by international and local companies, so their rates don’t vary much. But still, if you buy them from a mart, you might save 20-30 rupees on a 5kg carton.
- Dairy: Our nation starts its day with dairy, either drinking whole milk or taking tea; it is an item we can’t live without. Estimate your monthly intake of dairy products, which should mainly include milk or cream. Milk cartons come in different sizes, understand your need and buy the quantity that covers your entire month. Remember buying them from a mart like Grade One Mart will save some extra money.
These two items complement the above category. We can’t enjoy our food without condiments, including sugar, tea, sauces, and spices, making them necessary in our monthly grocery shopping.
- Sugar and Tea: The most consumed item other than lentils and flour is sugar and tea. When making a grocery list, always include the quantity used in the previous month. On average, a household comprising of 6 members usually consumes between 3-5 kilos of sugar and approximately 1kg of teabag in a month, depending upon their love of these products. Luckily our government has set a cap on the per kg price of sugar, but if you buy a 5kg bag from a mart, you will still save between 30-40 rupees.
- Spices and Salts: As important as sugar, these are never ignored in a grocery list. People have an idea of their monthly usage, and these items do not need much consideration. But remember to always buy salts and spices from well-known companies. Spices now come in economical packs, so buying them instead of individual ones can be a good idea.
After covering up most of the kitchen items, it’s time to think about the rest of the house. Grocery lists can never be complete without toiletries. These items are for your home and personal hygiene, and like essentials, they are the second category that requires smart planning.
- Soap, toothpaste, and brushes: These products are always included in a monthly list. But you can save a bit of money if you buy smart. For example, a standard 175g soap bar costs around 70-80 rupees, but if the same is bought in a three-pack size, the total amount goes to 160 rupees, immediately saving you 30-40 rupees against purchasing a single bar. Similarly, buy toothpaste that comes with a toothbrush. This will save you extra 50-60 rupees.
- Cleaners and wipes: These are essential for cleaning washrooms and toilets. Since we are a Muslim nation, the importance of these items is self-explanatory. International companies produce these items, so there is no issue with the rates. But still, if bought from an online mart, you will be able to save between 100-200 rupees on all the items combined.
The above categories cover almost everything that a household needs monthly. This category deals with all the items that are not necessary monthly but still an important part of the list.
- Frozen foods and Other Items: Every household buys some form of frozen food items, be it nuggets or burger patties, samosa rolls or tempuras, or simply a whole frozen chicken. When buying online, these products can save you at least 30-40 rupees per item compared to the outside market. Similarly, jams, peanut butter, margarine, and cereals are essentials for breakfast. Buying them from online stores can save you almost 20-30 rupees per item as well.
- Other Products: Household items required other than eating ones fall in this category; mops, towels, broomsticks, small electronics, batteries, etc. Their price varies from vendor to vendor since several local and international companies manufacture them. The price is never regulated, but if bought from online stores, they can save you a good amount of money since these items are most of the time on sale.
Shopping from online stores can save you between 1000-2000 rupees every time compared to when the same is done from marts. Marts like GradeOneMart offer products at subsidized rates and deal with discounts that others don’t. It also offers fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables, so you can get everything under one roof.
- White and Black chickpeas
- Green, red, brown, and yellow lentils
- Red and white beans
- Cooking oil and ghee
- Flour (wheat)
- Carton of milk
- One pack of each kind of spices
- Soap bars
- Toothpaste and brushes
- Toilet Cleaners
- Brushes and vipers
- Cleaning cloth
- Frozen food items (optional)
- Jams, Peanut butter, and margarine
This list with standard weights (5 and 10Kg in case of lentils, grains, rice, cooking oils, and flour) can cost around 11k to 12k a month, but if bought online from a store GradeOneMart, the same can cost between 9k and 10K.