The fuel price hike will ripple into food price increases. But this should not be all doom and gloom. In order to ensure that you still eat well while cutting your grocery bill as much as possible, here are some cost-cutting tips you can apply …
Planning is key!
It doesn’t matter if you have a big family or live by yourself. Carefully planning your meals every week is a great way to cut down on your grocery bill every month. If you map out what you would like to eat for the week, by writing down a list of ingredients you will need according to your meal plan, you can check what you still have in the fridge and in your cupboards and then go shopping for only those items that you need.
Planning carefully means you won’t end up buying too much extra, which means you will reduce your wastage and save money at the same time.
Download your weekly meal plan template for the week here.
Never buy groceries on an empty stomach
You will probably end up buying extra food if you are hungry. Everything will be more tempting around you if those taste buds are watering for their favourite snack!
Don’t make unnecessary “quick trips” to the shops
Making quick, unplanned trips to the shops will most likely cost you more in the end, as unplanned shopping results in unplanned extra purchases. Make your weekly list according to your meal plan and stick to it!
Set yourself a reasonable, but short time to shop
If you give yourself a reasonable, but short time to do your weekly grocery shopping, e.g. 45 minutes maximum, you will allow yourself just enough time to choose the right, cost-effective products, but not too much time to wonder around to spot all the lovely tempting extras to load into your trolley!
Always compare prices between different brands and explore
Comparing different prices for different brands is definitely worthwhile. Sometimes we tend to only buy one type of brand for a specific product, where it could be wise to try a different brand at a more cost-effective price. You could also try generic “No Name” brands as their quality and taste are often quite comparable with popular brands. If you however feel that the quality of the lower-priced brand is not what you want, you can simply switch back to your previous choice and know that the extra money is spent well. Remember, every cent adds up. All those 10 and 20 cents difference in price can make a difference to your grocery bill.
Shop for local, seasonal foods
Imported fruits and veggies are extremely expensive. Rather choose seasonal fruits and veg from our local producers – they not only cost less compared to imported products, but supporting South African farmers supports our local economy.
Personal care products are often cheaper at certain stores
Do yourself a favour and compare prices for personal care products like shampoo, toothpaste, nizagara and on-the-shelf medicines and vitamins between supermarkets and pharmacies. There are specials running weekly, so keep an eye out for these. Waiting until you run out, can mean that you are buying at a higher price.
Going meat-free on Mondays
Going meat-free once a week will definitely help you save. Vegetarian options can be less expensive and help you cut your grocery bill. Visit these sites for great vegetarian ideas www.freshearth.co.za, www.whatsfordinner.co.za and www.food24.com.
Leftovers can become lunches or lovely dishes the next day
Don’t be fussy about leftovers. Be smart and use what is left over in your fridge or cupboards to take to work for lunch the next day, or whip up tomorrow eve’s dinner. Don’t waste anything – be creative to dish up a new meal with those leftovers. This will cut back on your grocery shopping!
Buying less expensive cuts of meat can help you cut costs
Instead of buying premium meats for stews and casseroles, consider buying less pricey cuts. They can be just as delicious at a fraction of the cost. If you’re unsure of what less expensive cuts to buy, ask your local butcher to help you.
Reward yourself with your accumulated reward points
Use your rewards points to reduce your bill when you have accumulated a fair amount of points. Various shops have various reward card options, for example Pick n Pay Smart Shopper Card, Clicks Club Card, SPAR Card, Dis-Chem Cards, etc.
There are various ways to cut you monthly grocery bill and still eat well. Being more aware and saving in this way make you feel more appreciative of every meal, while you experience a sense of achievement. Fostering a “greener”, more savings-orientated culture contributes to the greater good for all!