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7 ways to save money on food (every day) and get the whole family involved

Saving money on the family grocery shopIf you are a parent looking to supercharge your household budget, there are many things you can do to save money around your home. However, one of the most important is reducing food waste.

Although food is such a valuable resource worldwide, 8 billion dollars’ worth is thrown out by Australians each year. That equates to around 500kg per Australian household, effectively costing your pocket more than $1036 annually.

Accepting these food statistics is the first step to helping reduce your household food wastage, save money, and become a more ‘aware’ consumer that does not take the privilege of easy-to-access food for granted.

Here are my seven top tips to help you save money on food every day.

7 ways to save money on food every day

Develop weekly meal plans

Many of us feel too rushed in the mornings or evenings to find the time to make pre-prepared meals. However, the 15-to-20 minutes spent on a Sunday, deciding which recipes you will make for lunch and dinner for the whole week will prevent unnecessary spending on fast food or convenience meals during the week. Take the time to prepare, save, and get ahead. You could even get the whole family involved to provide ideas on what they would like to eat this week.

Look for clearance tables or on-special items when grocery shopping

Supermarkets have tables or labels indicating products are being cleared out, so keep an eye out for these. Most products are still very good, and it’s just that the store will no longer be carrying that product, or the labels are changing, or the product is nearing its expiry date. Not only are the savings here substantial for the frugal family shopper, but it’s key to developing a food-waste conscious mindset.

Always store leftovers and use them the next day for lunch or similar

See yourself – and your kids – as a ‘human vacuum’ that can eat up all the leftover food that would otherwise go to waste (but, be careful not to let your kids hoover up too much). Reducing waste is as good as saving money, as you don’t need to outlay even more money.

Learn what vegetables go off quickly – use them first

From salad leaves to tomatoes, it is important to understand which vegetables go off the fastest, so you can make sure to eat them first. This is particularly important if you are only shopping for the family once a week.

Study the use-by dates of items at the supermarket

When buying in bulk for your family, always check the ‘use-by’ and ‘best before’ dates. Remember, it is only good value if you can use all of it before the food expires. Also, avoid deviating from your shopping list just because something is ‘on special.’ If you didn’t want it or need it before, you don’t need it now. Put it back on the shelf and walk away.

Also check your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for expiry dates

In addition to studying the use-by dates in the supermarket, make sure to keep tabs on the expiry dates of the foods you already have at home. That way, you know which foods you need to use quickly, and can look up recipes that use those foods and ingredients. There’s no point in buying something new if you already have something you could eat instead!

Stock up on long-life, healthy foods

When at the supermarket, stock up on tuna, four bean mixes, and other long-life canned goods (however, be wary not to buy those high in salt content). Not only are these foods healthy, high in protein and nourishment, but they will survive almost forever. Having items in your pantry means that if your kids are hungry but you haven’t had the chance to do your weekly supermarket run, you have food that is healthy and close by to dull their cravings.

About Helen Baker

Helen Baker is an award-winning financial advisor who has been empowering Aussies to find financial freedom since 2009. She is also the spokesperson for online finance information platform money.com.au. Helen has ...

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