We are all feeling the pinch right now when it comes to the ever-increasing costs of monthly groceries. However, there are ways to beat the financial blues and get that household grocery bill down, with a little know how.
Plan with Military Precision!
Our first saving tip is to plan your monthly meals and your grocery shop beforehand. Get your list and recipes ready and plan your meals for the month. This makes it a lot easier to create a list of the groceries that you will need to prepare those. You can then split the list up into a ‘dry goods’ (items that will keep for at least a month) and ‘fresh goods’. The dry goods list can be done in one go at a good discount store, and the fresh goods (such as vegetables, fruit and meat) can be done weekly at a fresh food outlet. This way, you won’t waste money on food that will spoil before you get a chance to cook it.
If your list is well planned, you won’t forget to buy crucial items and have to dash out to a convenience store, where you’ll pay a higher price for them. By limiting the number of trips you make to the store, you’ll also save on petrol, time, and parking.
Another way to start saving is to make use of store loyalty cards – whether you gain points, get cash back or discounts, you will be surprised at how much you can save like this over a period of a few months. You can either put this back into your monthly shop, or store the savings for a special occasion when you have additional expenses, such as your Christmas grocery shop, or your child’s birthday party treats.
Make use of specials and discounts, if possible, and try to stock up on items that are heavily discounted and required every month, such as toilet paper, toothpaste or washing powder.
Use What You Have
Take stock of what you already have and create your meals and grocery lists around using what is already in your pantry or freezer. So, if you have lots of pasta in the pantry, plan several pasta meals, and don’t buy more pasta until you have finished it!
This is a great way to clear out clutter. A well-organised pantry will also ensure that you can easily spot the items you have so you don’t buy duplicates. Use empty ice-cream containers to stack and sort loose items like packet soups and refill sachets, and then label the containers accordingly so you can quickly spot what you already have. Store items that are closer to expiry at the front of your pantry cupboard so that you use them first, with newer items or items that have a longer shelf life stored at the back.
Grow your own veggies and herbs! This is a very fulfilling activity that acts as family bonding time with your child and as a money saving exercise. You will have your own healthy, organic produce in no time, and starting out is not difficult or expensive. Check out ‘How to grow your own vegetable garden’ here. Oh, and while we are on the subject of green, don’t forget to take your own grocery bags with you when shopping to save the planet and some cash too!
Go meat free at least one dinner per week. Meat is often one of the most expensive grocery items, so experimenting with alternative meals that do not include meat is a healthy and cost-saving family exercise.
Trash the Takeaway Habit
Limit takeaways and convenience meals as much as possible, and plan a budget for restaurant outings. It all comes back to careful planning. So, if you know there are certain evenings when you will always be home a bit later leaving little time to cook, make double of another meal when you have more time and freeze it, so that you have a ‘ready meal’ when you come home. If you know there’s a meal waiting at home, you won’t be tempted to stop and get takeaways. If your restaurant meals are planned and budgeted for, you will also enjoy and appreciate them more. Make sure to take advantage of ‘specials’ nights at restaurants, when certain meals are discounted, or you can get a ‘2 for the price of 1’ deal.
We all have a few tricks up our sleeves when it comes to saving money. Please share your budget saving tips here, so we can all smile when we unpack after a trip to the supermarket!
If the rising cost of groceries is getting you down, take a look here for sure-fire ways to beat the money blues and save on your groceries every month.