Simple tips to tackle the high cost of living emergency

In Uganda, prices of basic commodities are rising fast. Uganda is one of many developing countries affected by this global trend. While the government promises to assist in solving this problem which is adversely affecting the average Ugandan, not much has yet improved.

According to the Uganda Ministry of Finance, the price of Laundry Bar soap has increased by 20 percent between December 2021 and February 2022 and by 47.8 percent in the past one year. Fuel has also risen by 15.3 percent in the past three months and 34 percent during the past one year, among other items.

As a solution, President Yoweri Museveni has asked Ugandans to take on cheaper alternatives like cassava instead of bread and purchasing imported goods instead of depending on “rainfall agriculture”.

Economics experts have revealed that the increase in prices of basic commodities is linked to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing Ukraine war and supply-chain disruption. While they warn that this is not about to end and may affect households severely, there is need to find ways to mitigate this emergency.

We have compiled some hacks to help you manage:

Reduce food wastage

Wasting food is very common in homesteads where there are more people, because a lot of food is prepared. Sometimes, people are not as hungry as anticipated and this is why preparing smaller portions is helpful. If measuring the right amounts isn’t easy for you, consider freezing leftover food and warming it for another meal. The best option is preparing what will be consumed totally.

Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk helps you save on the frequent visits to the shops or market. The best option is to buy products in family size as long as there is adequate storage. Necessities like rice, maize flour and sugar should be bought in bulk because meals will be easier to manage and plan for in advance. Also, consider buying household items and food from wholesale stores since prices are lower and you can get things at discounts.

Eat at home

Dining out is an expensive plan and poor planning can lead to excessive expenditure. For families, eating out shouldn’t be an option if you’re looking at minimizing expenditure. If necessary, it should be once in a while and make use of vouchers and discount offers. However, for people living alone, eating out can be cheaper. Find a place where you can get a full meal cheaply and save on money for gas, tomatoes and spices, among others.

Take advantage of discounts offers/ reward cards

If the store where you shop offers loyalty reward cards, use the opportunity to enjoy the benefits. In most cases, if you have been shopping at the same store, you’re likely to get discounts on products using your card. Also, businesses use discounts and offers to advertise new products, so be on the lookout but don’t fall prey to fake products, always be cautious.

Shop locally

The recent trend of convenience has made online shopping a thing, waiting for things to find you where you are without lifting a finger. Well, you have supported online platforms enough, it is time to survive, so go back to “mama Joan” and build that friendship because you’re going to frequent her stall. Honestly, local markets have cheaper groceries compared to supermarkets and online shops. Locally grown food is always available in local farmers markets and stalls at a cheaper price, so you don’t have to pay for long transportation costs and besides organic food is healthier.

Shop for Necessities

Impulsive shopping is very common among women and is such a bad habit that if not minimized can result into unplanned expenditure. This is the time to drop that habit because minimizing expenditure is going to be the goal for the rest of this year until prices return to normal. Buy things you need, shop for basics and luxuries such as mayonnaise and chocolate can wait.

Eat before you go shopping

This may come off as odd but it is a very useful hack because it will help you avoid admiring and craving things out of your budget. The only way to survive this kind of temptation is eating something before going to the shops.

Don’t take the children

Shopping maybe the only time you get to take your kids out, but stand warned that hungry, tired and naughty children will have you spending more time in the mall. The more time, the higher chances of buying excess items out of your planned budget.

Substitute recipe items

Everyone has favorite recipe items that complete the meal, but in such times when prices are skyrocketing, it is advisable to find cheaper alternatives to substitute the costlier ones. This way, you save more. For instance, if tomatoes are very expensive, find cheap tomato paste and use that instead.

It is important to be a smart shopper and spend only on necessary items to minimize expenditure and live within your means. Also, associate yourself with information on spending, money and exchange rates, so that you know when to spend and when not to.