You’re trying to cut down on your grocery bill – that is, if you’re anything like the rest of us. With price increases and very few wage increases, we are all looking to save a couple of bucks here and there and turning over our pennies is the first thing on our minds. Once you’ve put together your budget (if you are needing some help with this, check out our simple guide to budgeting for beginners), you’ll probably realise that you are spending way too much money on your grocery bill.
But, how do you cut down on something as incredibly important to our survival and energy levels as food? Well, you won’t necessarily need to cut down on the actual food itself or even change the type of food that you are eating. Let’s have a look at 5 unique ways to cut your grocery bill that won’t completely flip your whole lifestyle on its head.
Go Meat Free
One of the absolute best ways to cut your grocery bill is to reduce the amount of meat that you are consuming. Meat is just plain expensive and it will continue to be expensive. Meat costs a large amount of money to produce from the water and food intake of the animals to the amount of space the animals take up and the ridiculous transport costs.
That delicious piece of juicy steak in your fridge costs a pretty penny to provide. That’s why we would suggest trying something attainable like a “meatless Monday.” If you simply remove one day of meat consumption per week you could save up to R600 per month. Meat replacements like lentils, beans, soy, or mushrooms are a more affordable replacement and, in our opinion, if prepared well they are just as delicious. This is definitely the fastest way to see a drastic decline in your grocery bill.
Create Less Waste
Another way to decrease your grocery bill is to create less food and plastic waste. What many of us don’t realise is that we are quite literally throwing away our money every month and it doesn’t do any good for the planet or our wallets.
Let’s talk about plastic waste first. Asking for the store-provided plastic bags only costs a few extra Rands at every shop, but those plastic bag costs add up. The easiest way to avoid this is to simply bring your own shopping bags. Another way to cut down your grocery bill and save the planet is to choose the items with as little packaging as possible. All those plastic fruit and veggie bags and the bag that your firewood comes in cost money and, let’s be honest, the consumer will be absorbing those costs. Cut the plastic, cut the bill.
To create less food waste, we suggest that you plan your meals and snacks before you go shopping. This way, your trip to the shop is more focused and you don’t end up throwing away food that you never got around to eating. Another way that having a more focused shopping trip will cut your budget is that you won’t buy things that you walk past like chocolate and waste unnecessary money.
Buy Seasonal Vegetables
One of our favourite ways to cut a grocery bill is to buy seasonal vegetables (and preferably from the local, farmer’s market). You might think that buying fresh organic vegetables will be more expensive, but if you are smart about it, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Buying the vegetables that are growing in your area at the time of purchase will undoubtedly work out cheaper as there are fewer transport costs involved, fewer middlemen, and less storage and freezing. The fruit and vegetables will even be more filling, satisfying, and nourishing because plants produce more of the nutrients that people will need in the area where the plants are grown. Amazing, right? The food you buy will also be freshly picked, so you’ll end up with less food waste.
Make Processed Food at Home
Anything extra that is added or done to a raw product will increase the price. Think about it, baked bread will cost you more money than raw ingredients. Why? There was time, effort, and money added to the product. If you rather DIY your groceries, you become in control of the costs involved. You can source the raw ingredients from more affordable, bulk suppliers and put in the hard work of creating the product yourself.
Things that you can make for cheaper at home to cut your grocery bill in half include:
- Bread and other baked goods
- Jams and preserves
- Cleaning products
- Personal hygiene products
- Cloth nappies
- Tomato sauces and other tomato-based products
- Pizza bases, rotis, wraps, naan, etc.
Bonus: one of the very best ways to cut your grocery bill by DIYing your groceries at home is to grow your own garden. This is a major step in the right direction – even if you only start by growing your own salad greens. In Summer, you can eventually provide all your own fruits and vegetables. You might even grow enough to sell at that local, farmer’s market we were talking about earlier. There is so much abundance in nature.
Our 5th and final unique way to cut your grocery bill is to shop around. Ask for catalogues from your local stores and sign up for the mailing list so that you are informed about. the new specials. You’ll be surprised to find out that one place will not necessarily be the cheapest for all the things on your grocery list. Some things are cheaper in bulk and other things make more sense to buy from Checkers.
Cutting down your grocery bill is easier than you think. At the end of the day, it comes down to planning beforehand and making smarter food choices. The extra effort can be seriously worth it when you are turning over your pennies.