19 July 2013

Three Good Ways to Keep the Grocery Bill Low

1.  Comparison shopping is a good idea and it works for groceries too. Take a few minutes to glance through the different store flyers (check online too, subscribe to the mailing list if there is one and get the flyers delivered straight to your inbox - no more junk mail to fill the recycle bin) to find out who has chicken on sale or where you can find the cheapest cheese. If you know your family eats a lot of chicken breast for example, it's worth making a trip to the store that has it on sale and stock up on a few kilos. Freeze some of the meat for the next few weeks.

2.  Make sure you don't go to the supermarket hungry. It's an oldie, but this strategy really works. Eat before you leave home because research and experience show that if you do your food shopping while you're hungry you are going to blow that grocery budget to kingdom come. When we're hungry, we end up buying a lot more food – especially junk food – that we don't really need and weren't planning on buying in the first place and there goes your meal plan and your budget.

3.  And that leads to this next tip: plan your meals! Wandering around the store trying to decide what you'll have for tea on Tuesday and lunch on Friday is distracting and leads to a lot of "maybe" shopping. And "maybe" shopping is expensive. Planning your meals works because you know exactly what you're going to eat so you can make up a detailed shopping list, taking the "maybe" out of the whole experience. When you plan your meals you can plan to use up the food you already have, filling in the gaps with sale items. A meal plan really stops you buying too much extra stuff that you end up tossing because you didn't use it. It also stops those expensive impulse buys - if it's not on the list you don't need it so you don't buy it!

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