Behind housing, groceries and food make up the second highest category in most Australian budgets (1). Reducing your grocery bill can save you big bucks, which you could then put towards building your emergency fund or doing something fun for the family. Below are some simple tips that will help you learn how to cut your grocery bill in half.
Shop your pantry
Most of us head to the grocery store every week out of habit, but do we actually need more food? Have you ever tried shopping from your own pantry, fridge or freezer? If you take a stocktake of these food storage areas in your own home, you’ll probably find that there are several meals that you can make from items you already have.
Shopping your own pantry is the first step in the meal planning process. From there, write down meals that you can make with what you already have or that are only missing a few ingredients. Shopping with a list and not just wandering the aisles is one of the quickest ways to reduce your grocery bill. When you shop with a plan you won’t find yourself buying things and then trying to work out what to cook from them, or worse, buying unnecessary items that end up in the bin.
Buy store brand
We don’t often think about it, but the more expensive products are usually displayed in prime positions on the aisle, right at eye level. If you look above or below eye level, you’ll find the ‘store brand’ products which are cheaper versions of essentially the same product. There is often very little difference in their flavour but a big difference in price. Even just replacing a few items with these store brand alternatives can save you lots.
Grow your own produce
Gardening is a healthy and budget-friendly way to cut your food bill. When you grow your own produce, you know how it’s been grown and exactly where it came from. You can even grow vegetables from cuttings or the ends of the plant that you’d normally throw away. Not only does this cut down on waste, but it also helps your future spending. Getting the kids involved will also help them to eat better and give them a sense of achievement when they eat the vegetables they helped grow.
If you don’t have a lot of space, herbs are a perfect start as they can be grown in a few pots on a windowsill.
Shop the sales
Catalogues and coupons will become your best friend! Plan your meals around the sales and you can save a lot of money. If you have a few different supermarkets nearby, make sure to check all the catalogues and price match items from your shopping list.
Cleaning supplies and beauty items commonly appear in half price sales. Stock up on items you buy regularly (and ones that will last) so that you don’t have to pay full price the next time you need them.
Eat less meat
Meat is often one of the most expensive items on our shopping lists, but it is still seen as essential for many families. If you try just one meat-free night a week, you’ll be sure to save on your food bill. Cutting down on your meat consumption not only saves your budget but will help save the planet as well. I can see a meat-free-Monday in your future!
It’s time to put these tips to the test. You might be surprised by how much you save once you try them out!