When your wallet’s feeling the pinch, planning meals, buying in bulk, shopping at sales and avoiding takeaway food can take the squeeze out of feeding your family.
With Australia having one of the highest cost of living in the world is it any wonder we’re worried about making ends meet? While there isn’t much we can do about rising utility prices or interest rate hikes, there is something we can control – our grocery bills. Avoiding junk food, sticking to a budget and coming up with a meal plan will see you saving money in no time.
Don’t buy food you don’t need
Make a meal plan
If you want to cut back on the cash you’re forking over at the checkout each week you really need to stick to a plan. Planning your meals in advance will ensure you don’t buy food you don’t need. It will also prevent you from adding those impulse buys to your shopping cart. Don’t just plan your dinners. You need to plan every meal. This includes all snacks and any drinks you may want throughout the week. Consider meals that opt for fresh veggies and salads, pasta, soups and plenty of grains. This is a great opportunity to be healthier and save on food waste.
Check out catalogues
You know those grocery catalogues they offer you at the checkout every week? Get into the habit of perusing them from front to back. Apart from their famous ‘special buy’s’ it will also list all the discounted items on sale. Look closely, these items could be the mainstay of your menu over the coming week.
Dump the packaging
Everyone likes convenience – but you pay for it through the nose. Forget about buying those prepackaged salads, precut vegetables and precooked meals. They all cost more than double their unpackaged counterparts. The same goes for individual serves of items such as yoghurt, cheese or juice boxes. Think of the environment, steer clear of the packaging and you’ll be doing yourself and the planet a favour.
Don’t shop for brands
I know we all have our favourite brands but if you did a blind tasting could you really spot the difference? If the answer is ‘no’ then consider adopting a brand blind attitude. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much money you will save.
Buy in bulk
Is your supermarket running a special on tinned tomatoes? Buy up! Purchasing staples in bulk makes sense as they can be used as the basis for a number of recipes. Keep your eye out for bulk items such grains, brown rice, pasta, oversized jars of peanut butter, honey and even Vegemite. Don’t just buy a single loaf of bread if they are on special. Buy several and freeze them. But don’t be tempted by items you won’t use before their expiry date.
More and more people are discovering the benefits of a paddock to plate philosophy. It’s sustainable, better for the environment and ensures you are eating fresh locally sourced produce. So, if you have a farmer’s market in your local area – make sure to frequent it. You’d be surprised how much cheaper it is to buy directly from the source. Not only that, you’ll love how great food tastes when you’re getting it fresh not cold stored!
Ditch the meat
Think about replacing half of your meals with a different source of protein and your grocery bill will shrink significantly. If ditching meat is not an option, then consider opting for cheaper cuts. They are perfect for slow cooker recipes.
Turn on the oven
While we’re talking about recipes, it goes without saying if you want to cut back on your grocery bills you will be doing a lot of cooking. Tie on your apron and roll up your sleeves and get into it! Use your imagination and think beyond your basics. It’s super easy to make your own salad dressings, hummus, desserts, biscuits and juices and incorporating treats into your cooking will ensure you don’t feel deprived.
Became a waste-free household and use up all your leftovers. If you have leftovers after baking a roast dinner, the meat is great for use in a stew or as a base for a soup. Or you can slap it on a sandwich for lunch the next day. You can use the extra veggies for a frittata or quiche or blend them up to make a roasted veggie relish. Delish!
Plant some veggies
If you have the space in your garden for a vegetable plot, then it will be super easy to save money on your grocery bills. Plus, the kids will get a kick out of watching the plants grow and get a better understanding of where food comes from. You’ll be surprised how much tastier vegetables become to your children when they have grown them.