Given that groceries can often account for 50% or more of your weekly budget, it can pay dividends to occasionally find ways to skip a weekly grocery shop or create a plan to spend less for one week (or fortnight).
Setting yourself a goal to do a grocery shop for only $50 can be inspiring. For many, this means a little planning is required and a quick stock take of what is already in the cupboards (and fridge).
If you want to find a way to only spend $50 this weekend at the grocery store, here is what you should consider.
Plan your meals in advance
Extravagant meals, which require a lot of ingredients, are just not possible here. Easy and cheap meals include bacon and egg pie, spaghetti and meatballs and apricot chicken. With small kids, you’re unlikely to get far with anything more elaborate so rejigging your recipe selection for simple meals is a great idea. Once that’s done, write out a meal plan for the week. If you really want to save money, consider making a meal plan for a month in advance and do a single grocery shop to accomodate, cook, freeze, repeat.
Ransack your pantry and nether regions of the freezer
Generally, you’ll repeat some recipes. Have you got some apricot stored in a can at the back of your pantry? Or some pastry still in the freezer that would be great for making a pie? You’ll be able to carve a significant amount from your weekly shopping bill if you don’t re-buy items, and can use everything in your pantry.
Buy once, use twice/three times
If you’re shopping fortnightly, you’ll be able to save money by planning to use the same meat twice in the fortnight and buy in bulk. Say you’re having apricot chicken one week, and green chicken curry the next. Buy a larger quantity, taking advantage of the discounts, and freeze the second half for the following week.
The freezer is single handedly the greatest invention on planet earth for money savers. Given we all have a freezer, there is no excuses why you should ever waste food. If you are wasting food, you aren’t planning correctly and it’s probably costing you thousands a year without even knowing it.
Make a rule that all lunches are leftovers
It’s hard not to eat seconds when you’re tired, cold and hungry. Try and find some discipline to immediately put away the next days lunch for the family after making dinner; do this prior to eating your dinner.
I find that if I prepare the leftovers for tomorrows lunch before I eat, I am less likely to go back to the fridge and open a plastic container to retrieve seconds.
Create a routine that works for you
A large part of success here is about routine. Routine helps you not waste food. Routine helps you prepare your lunch the next day, before it’s eaten by the hungry locusts (family).
Experts often suggest that routine also helps you with; losing weight, saving money, organising a small business and more. If you aren’t planning, you are planning to fail.
Bake things yourself instead of buying pre-mix
I know, we’re all pressed for time. But it’s amazing the savings you can make if you make some items from scratch. This isn’t always the case; bread, for instance, is cheaper to buy than make. But if you have pancakes every Saturday, skip the mixture and make it yourself. The same is true of pastry- buying it ready-made can cost a fortune, and it’s very simple to make and then freeze. Instead of store-bought treats, make a super-easy chocolate cake or scones. They’re cheap as chips to make, and you’ll have the comfort of knowing exactly what is going into the products your family is eating.