Here are five easy ways to reduce your grocery bill;
Buy bulk - only buy common household items when on sale and buy in bulk quantities for a better deal (ie; toilet paper). This only works if you buy items you are going to consume and make sure that the use by date is far enough in the future to reduce unnecessary waste. If you find a common household item at 50% off the normal retail price, this is a great opportunity to stock up and keep it stored in a place that you will remember! When you get down to a smaller quantity, put it back on your shopping list and wait for another special price offer. This will prevent you from rushing out last minute and paying full price when you unexpectedly run out (ie; toiletries and washing liquids are easy to store and get consumed every day etc). Try allocating a portion of your budget to purchase bulk sale items. Consider buying larger quantities of common items as they usually offer better value for money (ie; extra large tins of fruit or vegetables that can be stored in a container once opened and used for multiple meals in a row). For example; an extra large tin of pineapple can be used for fruit smoothies, grilled pineapple, icy poles, BBQ kebabs, sweet and sour chicken or fruit salad within a few days. Get creative, search for recipes and stretch your grocery budget further.
Best value - set a challenging budget for your grocery shopping and look around for the best price on groceries at supermarkets by using catalogues or websites. Always check for heavily reduced items before paying full price, provided that the item won’t go to waste. It is sometimes worth splitting your shopping list across different supermarkets to find better savings, however you will need to weigh up the cost savings in favour of convenience if driving around depletes any cost savings. Keep a seperate list of non-urgent items to purchase when the item is on sale and call it your ‘sales wait list’.
Research/shop online - most supermarkets offer online shopping, so it pays to do your shopping online for pick up or delivery. This eliminates the risk of buying unnecessary impulse items and also tracks your spending amount while you shop (no more embarrassing surprises when you have overspent at the check out). If you’re online shopping cart exceeds your budget, carefully analyse your items and cull full priced items that may not be necessary on this occasion, but add to your ‘sales wait list’. Time your delivery within the ‘free’ timings or pick your order up from the store for free. Don’t forget to keep your eye out for online specials and register for any loyalty reward programs on offer.
Write a meal plan and a shopping list - sit down once a week and organise a thorough meal plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunch can be one of the most common meals for takeaway and convenience spending, so make sure you include various options on your shopping list, including snacks! Work out your regular shopping day (pay day) and plan the super fresh meals in the first few days. It’s also a great idea to select meals that have the same fresh ingredients that can be divided over a couple of meals in a row (ie; grated zucchini, fresh tomato, lettuce packs etc). You can also plan quick and easy meals for your most busy nights during the week, which prevents the risk of 7:00pm panic and buying last minute takeaway (expensive!). If you research all of the weekly specials while creating your meal plan, you can tailor the menu to suit the best deals. It’s also a great idea to keep a few convenient frozen meals on hand for quick, last minute options to feed the kids (ie; family meat pies). Shopping with a list and a meal plan will prevent you from buying ‘multiple dinner options’ that go to waste (including fresh fruit and vegetables that stay in the fridge drawer) and will keep your household running efficiently. No more running to the shops last minute, buying junk food as a last resort, throwing out wasted food or questions about ‘what’s for dinner’!!
Don’t shop when you’re hungry - studies show that you tend to buy a lot more when you do your shopping on an empty stomach. This also applies to shopping in a rush as you may grab extra items that you don’t need ‘just in case’. It’s also a great idea to shop without the kids (if possible) as they somehow find a way to sneak extra ‘treats’ into the trolley.