Put your grocery bill on a diet
By Vanessa Beddoe-Sandstrom
Top 10 ways to save on groceries
Want to save money on your grocery bill but not interested in raising crops, chickens and sheep in the backyard? Follow these practical tips and save!
#1 Plan a weekly menu
The number one way to save money on your grocery bill. Plan your week’s meals in advance, before you shop. Plan meals around busy nights and special occasions; this means you won’t have to resort to buying lunch from bakeries and takeaways on the way home.
# 2 Remember your shopping list!
So you’ve planned your week’s menu and written your grocery list, now make sure you don’t forget it! A shopping list reduces the amount of impulse buying, or having to pay a premium for something you’ve forgotten at the local dairy or service station.
#3 Shop once a week
Topping up during the week is a sure-fire way to impulse buy and blow your budget. Try to shop at the same time every week, and make sure you never buy groceries when you or your children are hungry!
#4 Remember the humble lentil!
Try substituting at least one meat meal a week with lentils or pulses. Adding affordable lentils to casseroles and mince dishes can double the quantity, making your meals and dollar go further.
#5 Know your basics and buy in bulk
Basics are items that form the basis of many meals: tinned tomatoes, rice, pasta, tinned tuna, etc. Make sure to stock up on these items when they’re on sale; this also applies to cleaning products and toiletries.
#6 Don’t forget to freeze it!
Don’t leave leftovers to fester on the bench over night. Freeze unused portions of lemon juice, stock, herbs, tinned tomatoes, etc. in ice cube trays or zip lock bags to be used at later date. Even veges like capsicum and celery can be frozen and added to stews and casseroles.
# 7 Shop seasonally and shop around
Buying products in season is so much cheaper, so make sure to plan your menu around the seasons. Fruit and vege stores often undercut supermarket prices, and great deals can also be had at growers and farmers markets.
# 8 Cook from scratch
Don’t reach for a jar of pasta sauce, reach for canned tomatoes instead. Making your meals and sauces from scratch is cheaper, healthier and tastier. It may take a few minutes longer, but the results are worth it.
#9 Shop down a brand
Don’t panic, we’re not asking you to shop entirely to No Frills, just think about swapping one of everything to a more ‘value’ brand. For example, if you usually buy four cans of Watties spaghetti, try purchasing three and add one value can or home brand. If you don’t notice a difference in taste, then consider choosing the value brand next time. Keep trying this method to see what works for you, and remember to taste with your mouth, not your eyes. This savings method is especially effective with cleaning products where taste doesn’t matter, or better still, clean your house the ecological way with baking soda and vinegar!
# 10 Look high and low!
The most profitable stock in a supermarket is placed at eye level (or your children’s!), yet profitable goods tend not to be the best deals. Look above and below for the best deals and cheaper options.
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