There is no single idea or magic solution that will allow you to save on groceries instantly. There are however strategies and practices that can help you to save money on your food bill consistently. If you don’t plan or organize your grocery shopping you will always end up paying more.
To improve your chances of saving money consider these three things.
- Where you shop
- When you shop
- How you shop
Obviously where you shop will be dictated by where you live, but have you considered other options or looked at alternatives?
When do you shop? Is it after work when you are in a hurry or do you dedicate a specific time? Do you go out when you run out of stuff and just get what you need?
How do you shop? Do you shop with a list or do you pick stuff off the shelf as you pass?
Retailers love impulse shoppers; all the stores are planned to make you spend money, there is nothing wrong with this, its business. However if you shop smart you can avoid many of the pitfalls that everyday shoppers fall into, and keep your money in your wallet.
Save on Groceries Strategy #1
Plan your grocery trips; decide how often you really need to go shopping. The more often you go shopping the more you will spend; perhaps you could stretch a weekly shop to once a fortnight. Make a decision and stick to it. Don’t shop without a list and tick of the items as you go. Always check your docket or receipt, you will be amazed at how often slip ups occur.
Save on Groceries Strategy #2
Take stock of your pantry and check out how much convenience food you really need. Convenience food is just that, but it is expensive. Compare the price of cheese slices with the price of cheese in a kilo bloc, you will be surprised at how much you save.
Try to avoid ready made sauces and mixes such as pancake or pikelet mixes, if you have flour, eggs and milk in the pantry you can whip them up at a fraction of the price. Frozen vegetables are great for emergency or standby purposes but fresh vegetables are usually cheaper.
Make sure you rotate your stock by storing recent purchases at the back, check use by dates regularly. Make it a habit to use everything up and cut down on wastage.
Save on Groceries Strategy #3
Stock up on supplies or products you use regularly when they are on special. If you are smart you should never need to pay full price, some things will save you a few cents but expensive items such as coffee can save you several dollars.
Most supermarkets have their own brand, some are very good and some are not so good. Compare brands and see where you can save without compromising the taste. Don’t buy stuff just because it’s on special, if you don’t need it, it’s not a saving.
Meat is super expensive; when you see what you want at a good price buy it in bulk. Divide it into portions and freeze it, store in freezer bags, for best results use 2 bags at a time. Use a marker pen to write date and identify what type of meat it is.
Consider buying a pressure cooker to get the benefit of cheaper cuts of meat. Form a collective with your friends and buy half a side of beef or a whole lamb to split between you.
Save on Groceries Strategy #4
Organize your pantry. Throw out anything past its use by date and divide pantry into sections. i.e. All breakfast cereals together, herbs spices and sauces together. Cut down on waste by finishing products before opening a new one. Store things like biscuits in air tight containers to keep them fresh.
Save on Groceries Strategy #5
Use up leftovers. Stale bread can be used in a variety of ways the most common being breadcrumbs and croutons. If you make too much sauce or gravy pour it into an air tight container and use as a base for the next dish, store in the fridge and make sure you use it within 2 or 3 days.
Cold sausages make great sandwiches and left over mince tastes good when reheated and served on toast. Most meats can be used up in curries or sauces and served with rice or pasta.
Poultry such as chicken or turkey make ideal fillings for crepes. Cold potatoes are perfect for potato salad. These are just a few examples, check cookery books and online for more recipes.
Save on Groceries Strategy #6
Make your own products. Desserts such as creamed rice are very popular but to make your own is very easy, simply cook rice add milk or cream and sugar to taste. Custard is another example quick easy and so much cheaper. If you eat yoghurt consider buying a yoghurt maker, it’s a real investment especially for a family.
Use tinned fish to make your own fish cakes or patties; you will end up with more and be surprised at the savings. Research recipes for budget meals there are some great ideas out there.
Products such as trail mix, individual packs of mixed fruit and nuts, these are much cheaper to make up yourself and putting them in re-usable containers is a plus for the environment.
Get into the habit of checking the price per gram as you shop, it will help you to see where the best value is. Your money is hard earned make it work for you and over time you will see you can save on groceries.