So this is a bit of a departure from our usually party themed posts but great food is part of what we love here at Printable Party Ideas so I thought I’d share some tips I have discovered really work to help you save money on groceries. I think we are pretty typical in that when we sit down to balance the budget we wonder where all the money goes each month. We’re not extravagant dresses, we don’t smoke, we make do with one car and we bought our house a long time ago so our mortgage payments are quite low. So where then does all the money go? Short answer is we eat it! I’ve been tracking our spending quite closely now for about a year and about 20% or our outgoings are on food, and while we all know you can’t do without food, what food we buy and how much we spend on it is somewhat discretionary. I don’t want to come off sounding all Marie Antoinette because I know a lot of people manage on much tighter budgets than we do and you may be already doing all you can but read on and see if any of these suggestions will work for you.
- Set a baseline. The first step in saving money is knowing where it’s going. I recommend before trying to put any savings in place you just spend normally for a couple of months but take a careful look at where it’s going. Using a budget tracking tool for this can really help. Our bank has a great one online. One of the great things about it is everything goes through the bank account so there’s no additional work having to add transactions in and no way of missing anything. This tool even tells you your average spending in any category then when you set your new budget it will tell how how much that will save you in a year. This can be really motivating, especially if the amount is significant enough. It has to be easy or you just won’t do it. So check out if your bank has a facility like this and if it does definitely take advantage of it.
- Set a realistic goal and stick to it. Too low and you’ll be miserable and it won’t last so make sure you go for sustainable long term savings that allow you to still have the odd treat. This usually means by the end of your week you have to get a little creative. The key is to make it kind of like a game rather than a hardship. What can I make for dinner out of what’s in the pantry and the freezer? It can result in some rather interesting dinners but it can also be a fun creative challange.
- Grocery shop online if you can. If you have a supermarket chain in your area that does online shopping – use it! I’ve been doing my grocery shopping online for about 10 years now and it’s by far the easiest way to stick to a budget. Plan your meals according to what’s on special and buy brands that are discounted. You’ll be amazed how that adds up. I saved $50 on my last grocery bill by doing just that. Check your cupboards as you shop so you don’t have any reason to do midweek top up shops. If you do forget something and have to go do a mini shop during the week, stick strictly to a list and make sure the cost of your mini shop is deducted off the next shop so you don’t blow your budget.
- Buy ingredients, not meals or ready made as much as possible. Stock your pantry, fridge and freezer with basics so your never caught out
|Canned Tomatoes||Fresh Fruit and Vegtables|
|Canned Fruit and Vegetables||Butter|
|Chocolate (yes this is a basic as far as I’m concerned) 😀|
- Bake! Bake cookies for lunch boxes. Bake bread. Bake, Bake, Bake. It takes effort for sure but it’s cheaper and yummier than anything pre-made and you know exactly what your putting into your families bodies.
- Plan ahead. You’ll probably have to spend an hour or two each weekend baking for the week ahead. If you have left overs freeze them to save yourself time in the future. We all have busy lives these days so make sure you plan easy quick meals for the nights that your home late so you don’t have the excuse of heading to the take out.
- Cut down on meat and don’t skimp on the fruit and veg. Meat is often the most expensive part of the food bill. Try adding a couple of vegetarian options each week or making meals where the main focus isn’t the meat such as stir fries. Also bacon and salami are your friends here because they pack a big flavour punch for a small quantity.
So we’re about half way into our second month of our new budget. Still early days yet, but so far so good. We’ve survived the back to school test. We’re making our own lucnhes and what’s great is we all agree we are eating much more healthily than before. No one is resenting it – at least not yet and we have more money in the bank account.