Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Grocery Shop: On a Budget

I received a comment on the blog this week from a reader who wrote: I'd like to see a post about your grocery budget, i really struggle to keep it on track or plan well for the week

When it comes to our grocery budget I like to make sure we are getting the most value for money products that we possibly can. You don't have to have a family to budget your grocery bill, I have just used my own examples to give you an honest view of how our budget operates.

Here are my top 5 tips for Grocery Shopping on a Budget:

Make an Inventory List of your cupboard, fridge and freezer:

Having a well stocked fridge, freezer and pantry is going to save you hundreds of dollars a year and cut out the risk of you purchasing items you already have. Most of us have started with a bare cupboard, fridge and freezer. You just start at a point and work yourself forward. Meal planning will help you figure out what YOU need in YOUR pantry, fridge and freezer.

Meal Plan:  

This step alone can save you a lot of $$ each week! I always plan my meals ahead of time, incorporating as much as I can the ingredients we already have from our inventory list. My meal plan is written just before my grocery list, so I am reducing the chance of buying an item/s we will not need for that week/fortnight. 

I need to plan (if doing a fortnightly shop):

14 breakfasts
14 lunches for Lily and myself
14 lunches for Luke
14 dinners
14 snacks (Usually this is in-season fruit with yogurt or muesli bars and home made muffins)

When I am meal planning, I always keep Luke's lunch for the next day in mind. Making sure he will have left overs to take, and should there not be any left overs for that lunch I will have planned sandwiches etc. in the leftovers replacement.

Caution on Buying in Bulk: Only buy in bulk if you use that product on a regular basis. 

My 3 Bulk Bought items are: 
-Pasta (store brand spaghetti and shell pasta)
-Toilet Paper (it doesn't go off, and there can be many savings to be made buying it in bulk)
Tip: Read the unit price information on products which is generally displayed underneath the price of the item itself, if the store has an online website, this information can generally be found on there. It'll show you just how much you may be 'saving' or not saving on items. 

Buy In-season:  

I LOVE Strawberries but if Bananas are in season and cheaper on that particular shop, I will definitely choose the bananas. It's the same with vegetables and meat. Make yourself aware of what is available and when (you can ask your local butcher or grocer). In-season products will bring with them greater savings, this is something to consider when meal planning as it'll save you even more $$


Don't feel like you have to purchase 100% of your list at one store:  

We discovered a few weeks ago Groceryrun which offers bulk discounts on a massive range of products. I go onto their site and see what kind of specials they have on a weekly basis, compared to that of Coles. As it's an $11 delivery charge though, the savings have to be quite significant for me to purchase items otherwise as you'd imagine it's not worth it.

To stay on track with your budget, I suggest:

 - Set aside some time each week to update your inventory list. 

- Be very REALISTIC with your menu planning. 

- Don't skip out on planning meals you know you eat every day (or every other) also don't be naive and think you won't want a snack during the day (even if it is a banana or a muesli bar) skipping meals will negatively impact your predicted budget as you are more likely to purchase take away.

- Don't menu plan based on another persons lifestyle needs. If you have a family of 5, your grocery budget will be bigger than a single person's, who lives with their pet fish Goldy. The point is you need to be REALISTIC (there's that word again) about your household's NEEDS. This will save you hundreds of dollars a month.

I hope this has been of some help, if you'd like me to elaborate or add something be sure to comment below, as I do reply :) You also have to option to follow the blog or like it on Facebook (I'm starting to 'get with the times') ha ha

Until Next Time,

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