I’m on a mission to seriously reduce my spending at the grocery store. In the last few months I’ve managed to reduce spending on all our general grocery costs by over 50%. In November I spent $670 and in April I spent just under $330.
This is how I slashed my grocery bill by 50%
1. Shop the sales
The aim of the game is to never pay full price for your regular purchases. Always keep your eyes open for sales and special deals. If you’re lucky enough to have access to coupons, use them whenever you can to buy items you normally buy. There’s no point stocking up on something just because you have a coupon and it’s dirt cheap, if you’ll never use it.
Creating a price book is invaluable for making sure you always pay the lowest possible price. It’s also a great way to track when your regular purchases go on sale. For some lines it might be once every three months, others might go one sale every 6 – 8 weeks. If it’s on sale and you can afford it, buy enough to last until they go on sale again.
If you make sure you buy sufficient of the ‘on sale’ item to last until it’s on sale again, you’ll naturally start building a stockpile. There are a few items that I buy up big when they are on a special deal (cat food, toiletries and laundry items) and add to my stockpile. In general though, most of the grocery lines I buy are either store brand items (plain flour, unsalted butter, tomato paste) or products that very rarely go on sale (un-homogenised organic milk). I find there’s very little variation in the price I pay from one week to the next so the growth of my stockpile is more deliberate: buying extra of a couple of items each time I shop.
I always add greater value to having ingredients in my pantry rather than products. Ingredients are flexible, you can take flour, sugar, butter and milk, throw in a few flavourings and have a huge range of desserts, if all you have is boxed brownie mix, that’s all you’ll get. Not that I have anything against brownies!
So, when you’re adding to your stockpile, think about the ways in which the item can be used and if that’s the best choice you can make.
3. Spend less on meat
Spending less on meat can mean adding a few vegetarian meals to the menu plan or choosing to use cheaper cuts of meat or a combination of these ideas.
Vegetarian meals don’t need to be all tofu or beans and rice, either. There are many options available, including meat free versions of family favourites. The vegetarian favourite in my home is vegetarian lasagna which is a simple ratatouille style vegetable stew layered with lasagna sheets then topped with a basic white sauce (roux) and grated cheese and baked. No odd or expensive ingredients, tasty and easy to make.
The really cheap cuts of beef are best cooked long and slow and lend themselves to hearty stews or chili con carne. These types of dishes are easy to bulk up with vegetables and beans (if you like them), too.
4. Change the way you meal plan
If you’re looking to slash your food budget, turn off the TV! The worst thing you can do to your food budget is watch cooking shows. If you’re slashing your budget, you’re going to need to keep your meal plan simple: wholesome dishes made with simple (cheap and nutritious) ingredients that are filling and everyone loves. Choose eight to ten evening meals and stick them on a rotation cycle. Using that number of meals means you’ll avoid Tuesday’s becoming tuna casserole night, unless of course, that suits you.
The other advantage with a short rotation cycle is that you’ll get really good at preparing each meal quickly, plus shopping will be quicker and, ultimately cheaper. Sure, you’ll sacrifice some degree of variety but, if you add a little creativity you can turn beef stew into individual beef and vegetable pies using home made flaky pastry (flour, butter, a little salt and water) or turn that chili con carne into baked burritos with home made wheat tortillas (flour, oil, water).
Slash your grocery bill
There it is… Four simple and relatively painless steps to show you how to save heaps on your grocery bill. If you’re looking for ways to find extra money for debt repayment or to save for something special, take a close look at your grocery bill – I’m sure you’ll find ways of slashing it, too.
Slash all your bills by grabbing a download of the Massive Money Saving Checklist here.
You might also enjoy:
- When Money Is Tight – Tips for Living on Next to Nothing
- Your DIY Food Bank – Insurance you can eat!
- 3 Tips to Banish Takeout Forever
- How to Shop from Your Pantry
- Massive Money Saving Checklist
- An Anarchist’s Guide to Meal Planning
Can you slash more from your grocery bill?
Do you stockpile, use a price book or shop with coupons? Do you have any tips to share?