It is a scary prospect when your budget is tight.
How will you meet credit card repayments and still take the kids on fun outings? How can you balance saving and entertaining?
I won’t pretend to have a perfect answer but I will share what from my experience helps me to feel like I am doing OK.
For me it is the grocery bill where I feel I have some control over our weekly family budget and can make a difference. As a part-time stay-at-home mum it is one of the key expenses that I feel I can influence the magnitude of.
Having said that, I know that life happens, and I am grounded in the real world where mops break and labrador puppies still chew everything to bits. So not every dollar, every week is going towards a planned spend.
Still, there are likely some improvements to be made so that we can save a little at the supermarkets, repay the credit card – and hopefully soften that nasty interest charge.
6 easy ways to save money at the supermarket
1. Plan your meals
Firstly, plan your meals for the week or fortnight before you head to the shops. The key point is that you keep your money in your pocket and only buy what you will, in fact, eat and use. This is instead of purchasing what you think you’ll have time to cook or what your tastebuds decide are necessary on a whim. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love reading recipes and trying something different but I don’t do this seven nights a week. For example don’t buy two heads of broccoli if you don’t have a plan to use them. So many people complain about limp vegetables in the crisper that will just be thrown out and all I can think is ‘why did you buy it’?
2. Use what you have first
When you are preparing your meal plan, have a look at your pantry and freezer and use up what is sitting on the shelves for your dinners this week. I don’t feel it makes sense to plan meals that require extravagant costly ingredients when you could prepare plenty of well-loved and appreciated family recipes with what you already have on hand. You will only have to throw out the waste at a later date and have less in your trolley this shop because you aren’t using what you spent your money on last trip.
3. Thirdly, give your trolley a spot health check
Processed and refined foods, as we all should know, are not healthy or helpful for us and our families. Furthermore they suck up our grocery budget without giving us much satisfaction or filling our trolleys. Snacks, drinks, ready-made sauces and meal kits are all really convenient but also very expensive when you consider how much you could purchase if instead you bought the raw ingredients.
4. Fourthly (and in the spirit of the entire article) get organised!
Take a moment to plan your outings beforehand so you don’t waste money when you’re out and about. It may be my thrifty nature but I feel a little disgruntled when I have to buy expensive burgers that cost a bomb or overpriced drinks that aren’t really what I want my family eating anyway. Have some supplies for barbecues and picnics or even simple sandwiches ready for these trips. And take some time to renew the enchantment of making your own sundaes and milkshakes at home as a treat.
5. Check unit prices while shopping
While you are at the shops you must take advantage of the unit pricing that can be found on most, if not all, products in grocery stores these days. The hard work has already been done for you and all we need to do is read the labels – no math required! It may mean that you buy in bulk or end up with a different brand, but the bottom line will be that you have bought a better value item.
6. And lastly persevere!
It is a little more work and time but the benefits will be seen as you get in step with the needs of your family and your pantry and use the difference to repay your credit card.
Image credit: jperagine/123RF Stock Photo