Going grocery shopping may be the bane of your existence but when you succeed on a bargain-hunting mission it can feel supremely satisfying. Try out some of our great tips and set yourself the challenge of saving money each week.
Keep an eye on catalogues
Look out for sales and bargains at your local supermarkets as well as specialty stores like delis, greengrocers and butchers. Compare the prices at the various outlets and see which works out to be the most budget-friendly for you. When certain items such as toilet paper or canned goods come on sale, stock up and save money in the long run.
It’s time to get organised! Plan out the meals you’ll need to cook for the week ahead, taking into account dinner party plans and your children’s playdates. Look through your recipe books for a few recipes that use the same ingredient, which will mean you can bulk buy certain items (e.g. try a chicken casserole and a chicken and cashew nut stir-fry for two dinners, plus chicken and pesto rolls for a weekend lunch). Also have a thorough check of what’s hiding in the back of the pantry and fridge to ensure you choose recipes that use up all of the food you have first, before buying more. Also browse the internet for budget-friendly recipes or find some right here. Make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need and make sure you avoid doubling up on items you already have at home. Planning out all items for a full week ahead will help you to cut down on pesky mid-week shops and those impulse last-minute buys.
Grow your own
Start your own veggie patch or herb garden and cut down on the items you have to buy from the store! If you’ve got kids, this is a great opportunity to teach them about fresh produce and responsibility. Give them a few seedlings each and let them be in charge of maintaining their own veggies. They’ll love it when the lettuce grows or tomatoes are ready to be picked. If you don’t have space for a whole vegetable patch, even just a few pots of herbs on the balcony or windowsill will help cut costs.
Go shopping alone — and when full
Shopping when you’re hungry often ends in extra purchases in line with your hunger cravings, while grocery shopping with the kids can lead to extra purchases and spontaneous buys, not to mention a few treats to bribe good behaviour. Stick to your list and get in and out of there as fast as you can!
Buy in season
It’s basic economics that as supply rises, the value of an item decreases. This means that fresh produce that’s in season should be selling for a very reasonable price. Check out which fruits and vegetables are in season through winter and stick to these key ingredients.
Don’t buy things you don’t need
Only buy as much food as you need and avoid being sucked into marketing campaigns. Also cut down on overspending on luxuries and food or drink your family is better off without. For example, invest in a small water filter and choose to drink fresh water instead of paying for soft drink or juice.
Don’t be lazy
Buying pre-packaged and convenient food products like bags of pre-cut vegetables and snack packs of dried fruit and nuts will drive up the cost of your grocery bill. Buy the raw ingredients and make your own packs for the kids’ lunchboxes.
Pay with cash to avoid interest on credit cards. Also keep your dockets and take advantage of the deals on the back, like petrol discounts, free coffees and buy-one-get-one-free meals. (Just don’t get sucked into buying anything you normally wouldn’t!)