As the cost of living rises, we could all do with some cost saving tips. Check out our tips to help you save on your grocery bill.
Check your supplies
Before you food shop, look through your kitchen cupboards and fridge. Make sure you don’t buy what’s already hiding in your kitchen. Use what you already have and write your shopping list accordingly.
Don’t shop when hungry
Having a shopping list and food shopping when you are not hungry all keeps you from impulse buys. Buy what you need and not what you want and this will help lower the bill at the cashier.
Making a meal plan in advance will ensure you only buy what you need and will save in the long term. This will also help minimise impulse buys, make food shopping more efficient, reduce your food waste and help avoid the need for extra trips to the store.
Check per-unit prices
Don’t look at just the total price of a product when food shopping, be sure to check the per-unit price too. Packaging and product sales can be deceptive. Sometimes a product on sale still isn’t as cheap per unit as an alternative brand.
Bulk item buys
Bulk shopping for items where prices are lower can be tempting, but you need to be smart when buying in bulk. Don’t buy large quantities of items you wouldn’t normally buy or use. You wont save money on buying items that you won’t use or that take years to use up.
If you have a large freezer, take advantage of bulk item discounts for freezable items such as meat and frozen vegetables. Work out how much freezer space you have and buy accordingly.
Limit ready-to-eat and non-essentials
Prepared meals and treats aren’t usually cheap. The more prepared your food is when you buy it, the higher the mark-up’s will be. Cut these items from your shopping list and buy the ingredients to make the meals and snacks you want. It will save you money and even help you be healthier. Also cut back on other non-essentials such as fruit drinks and soft drinks, which can be expensive.
Visit the clearance section
Make sure to check out the clearance items when doing your food shopping. There can be big savings on meat and other items that are close to their use by or best before dates or even pick up some excess stock or discontinued line discounts.
Often shopping at the end of the day can mean discounts on perishable goods such as fruit, vegetables and baked items, which need to be cleared to make way for fresh stock.
Shopping at multiple stores for the best deals can be very beneficial, with many discount retailers around that offer specials on certain items. For example buying your dishwashing detergent from a discount store or your nuts and legumes at a bulk retailer can save you a lot. Even joining a large discount chain like Costco can result in savings, as long as you don’t just buy because things are cheap. Always stick to the shopping list!
Buy the store brands
Store branded or generic branded products can often have the same quality as the more premium brands. Often you will barely even notice the difference; however you will notice the difference on your shopping bill.
Use some simple substitutions to save you money in your weekly cooking. You will probably have the substitution items in the cupboard already and often the substitutions are healthier. Here are some substation ideas:
1 teaspoon lemon juice = 1/2 teaspoon vinegar OR bottled lemon juice
1 cup sour cream = 1 cup milk + 1 1/3 tablespoons vinegar OR
Ricotta cheese = cottage cheese
Expensive cheeses = cheddar +/or mozzarella
Cream = milk (depending on the recipe)
1 cup mayonnaise = 1 cup plain yogurt
Fresh herbs = dried herbs
Pine nuts = sunflower seeds
Shallots and leeks = onions
White or red wine in cooking = for white wine use apple juice or chicken broth + 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, for red wine use cranberry juice or beef broth with 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
Buy meat with the bones
If buying the whole chicken is cheaper per kilo than the preferred cuts choose this option. You can use the meat for your normal meals, bones to make a broth or stock or a base of a soup. This also applies to other meats like beef and pork.
Try cooking several meat free meals a week, things like soups, pasta and rice dishes can have the meat left out. Legumes are much more economical compared to meat, and if you really want to cut costs, buy legumes dry and in bulk. Alternatively, if you are a big meat lover, just cut down on the quantity of meat you include in your meals.
Make soup a staple in your diet
If you are working hard on cutting food waste, making a big pot of soup every week will help. You can use your meat bones to make the broth and then add in all your leftover bits of meat and vegetables that need to be used from your fridge. This reduces waste and gives another meal or two for the household.
Make your own
Learn how to make your own products such as cleaning and beauty products with simple ingredients. Also making your own jams, condiments and seasonings when products are in season and cheap can save you a lot of money long term.