With a bit of care and discipline, the weekly grocery bill can be reduced. Follow these practical ideas to make a difference.
How to Save Money by Budgeting and making lists
- Before setting out to the shops decide what weekly budget should be set for groceries. Make a point to stick to this budget.
- The first shopping bill on this new routine may be a bit larger, so allow for this but return to the set budget from then on. It may be necessary to stock up on some basic ingredients (see below)
- Write a list of food and other items that are needed and try not to deviate from this list.
- Allowing a small treat each week in the grocery shop makes it seem like not such a dreary task but limit that treat to only one item or one item per person.
- Avoid buying extra items throughout the week. Using a list should reduce the risk of running out and having to make a quick dash to the nearest shop.
When Doing the Groceries Buy Seasonal Food and Locally produced food.
Buying fruit and vegetables only when they are in season means food will not only taste fresher but will cost less as it has not had to be transported from overseas and has not been hothouse-grown. Some ideas for seasonal food are as follows
- In spring – Globe artichokes, strawberries, lettuce, beans, citrus fruits, asparagus.
- Summer – Tomatoes, beans, egg plants, water melon, lettuce, avocados, peaches.
- Autumn – Apples, pears (early varieties) broccoli, cabbage, carrots, pumpkin.
- Winter – Silver beet, spinach, grapefruit, cauliflower, broad beans.
To Save Money Avoid Ready Made Products.
Ready made meals, biscuits, cookies and bread are usually dearer then if they have been home made. Even people with a busy lifestyle can cook a healthy meal quickly using basic ingredients. Look up the many recipes on the internet and at the library to see how easy it can be with a bit of planning.
- Stock up on basic pantry items such as flour, sugar, baking powder, dried herbs and spices.
- Potatoes are a staple for many filling and nutritious meals so always have some handy.
- Pumpkin will keep well if stored in a dry dark place and is another cheap, useful vegetable.
- Onions add flavor to many dishes and store well.
Saving Money on Groceries by Buying Specials
When an item of food that would be used in the household is on special, buy a few to store away for later use. Of course this is only suitable for things that will last such as tinned food. It defeats the purpose if things are bought just because they are on special so make sure it is something that the family will use.
- Check the use by date on sale items as they may be close to even past the use-by date.
- Buy cuts of meat when they are on special and freeze for later use.
To Save Money Grow Herbs at Home
- Herbs can be expensive to buy fresh, so why not try growing some in a pot or in the garden?
- Herbs are easy to grow in regular potting mix and look attractive on the kitchen windowsill.
- Water them regularly and pick the leaves as required.
Buy Groceries From the Bulk Bins at the Supermarket
- Check the prices at the bulk bins, sometimes they are cheaper but not always so don’t rely on this.
- Bulk bins are usually cheaper because the store doesn’t have to pay for packaging.
Saving Money by Going to Farmers Markets
- Farmers’ markets are a great source of locally produced food and should be cheaper but not always.
- Visit the farmers market to check it out before deciding to buy there on a regular basis.
- Because not all items will be available at the market the budget will have to be split to allow for how much to spend at the market and how much is needed for the rest of the groceries.
Invest in Useful Small Appliances to Help Save Money on the Grocery Bill
- A slow cooker is ideal for the busy householder. Cheap cuts of meat can be cooked slowly during the day so that it is all ready when coming home from work. Even the cheapest cuts of meat taste tender with such a long cooking time.
- A bread maker is another useful appliance and some models can be set to make bread while the family is asleep, waking to the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread.
- Be careful not to become a gadget junkie, buying fancy appliances that are never used.
These money saving tips and budgeting can make it easy to reduce the weekly grocery bill. Buy seasonal, locally produced products and get back into the kitchen and the garden, then watch the grocery bill shrink.