The easy way to buy cheap food to $ave money

Sunday, August 29, 2021
How to save money on the food bill

How to save money on your food bill

Saving money on the food bills a great way to help ensure you have enough cash for other things like bills, bills, bills.

Groceries can be dreadfully expensive at the best of times (even worse during a flu pandemic!), so putting a few items back on the self and choosing to purchase in bulk will help you save money.

You can also try to save money on shopping and yet still manage to eat quite happily and healthily.

One does not have to entertain a diet of 'bread and jam' all month (or noodles if you're a 'poor' student)  you can enjoy a wholesome variety of food on your set budget.

To make an immediate impact on shrinking at food bill, you can start by not spending your cash on the obvious and easy things such as fast food (Big Macs and supervising gotta go), potato chips and lollies.

It's probably too obvious a thing to say but cutting back on the booze consumption is an easy way to save money. We're not saying to become a teetotaller but maybe don't drink during Monday Night Football?

But you are an adult so live your life how you see best.

Planning ahead of time 


You've probably already planned ahead for the week's meals already - because that helps you allocate according to your food budget. When you did this, you may have already checked your pantry for what you already have - so you don't buy something twice and also because it may give you meal ideas to base around things you already have.

That's a fancy way of saying make a list and stick to it when you are inside the supermarket.

Easy tips to spend less cash on food:

  • Buy meat that is on special or sale. Consider eating more pork as it is usually the cheaper option over beef. 
  • Avoid splurging on pre-made food packages and meals. They are money makers with good margins for the supermarkets. If you can make your own meals at home as much as you can, this will serve your wallet well in the long term. 
  • Use the phone apps that big chains like Walmart offer - there's plenty of deals to be had. 
  • Do not shop on an empty stomach or you will buy that cooked chicken that smells so good (supermarkets like to have nice smells in their stores)
  • You could try to take a set amount of cash and spend that and no more.  
  • Don't throw away leftovers. Made too much pasta tonight? That's a tuna bake for tomorrow. Or so the classic and take your leftovers to work for lunch. 
  • Consider growing vegetables or herbs and spices - spring onion and chives are dead easy to grow! Our potato garden at home is doing quite well!
  • If you have time, go to two supermarkets and only buy the specials that you need. But don't spend an hour driving to the second supermarket as any savings gains could be erased when you factor in the price of petrol. 
  • Do you really need all that bottled water? Unless you reside in Flint, Michigan, your local tap water is probably fine. 
  • Try to shop without your beautiful children  - little ones can often make angry demands of you which you can often fall into the trap of giving into to avoid an 'in-store moment' ;) It's always nice to have some alone time if possible. 
  • Anything precut or prewashed is going to cost you more. Save money and buy the whole head of lettuce. Pre-cut grated cheese? Give me a break and as for pre-peeled oranges, wrapped in all that plastic, give me strength!
  • If you realize that something perishable won't be eaten before it goes off - freeze it. Maybe you were going to eat those meatballs before you went out - instead freeze your balls!
  • Purchase 'bagged potatoes' in bulk over loose potatoes as they are usually are much cheaper to buy. 
  • Get a Soda Stream and make tonic rather than drinking sugar fizz pop. 

Buy generic value brands


Most big supermarkets have a 'house brand' that offer genuine value.

I personally use house brand shaving cream because it saves me a small fortune as the big shaving brands are stupidly priced!

Items like household cleaners will usually contain the exact same active chemical as the fancy name brands - this means they absolutely work just as well but are often priced 25 per cent cheaper (washing laundry power is a great example (the cheap wash powder is great for homebrewing too!).

Many such value brand products are simply made by the producers of the name brand but are re-packaged and re-marketed. Value brand pantry staples such icing, flour and other such staples of the baking industry won't make your cake taste bad, and sugar is simply sugar, no matter how it's packaged or branded.

Hair! 

Most 'cheap' or 'mid-range' shampoos will clean your hair just fine - why buy shampoo from the salon then? Apart from natural vanity of course...

One product we totally think is always overpriced is plastic rubbish bags. While the world seems to hate plastic bags and straws these days, we still need strong trash / bin liner bags.

Swapping to generic bags will usually do the same job as name brands.

Swap to cheaper pet food


Many animal lovers will hate to do this, but your pet dog or cat can live on generic or low budget branded pet food quite easily and at least for the short term.

If you think you can't starve poor Felix of their precious snippets and bites sourced from the local vet clinic or butcher, then perhaps mix it up a bit and every second round, add some house brand pet food into the mix.

Whether dearest Felix chooses to eat it is another story... the reality is that your family household needs should come before your pet's. Many pet owners will disagree of course but they have to ask themselves why that's the case for themselves.

buying in bulk to save cash
Ross Geller always knew that bulk buying washing powder was a great way to save cash - Uberweiss!

Sometimes buying in bulk is actually a scam!


Bulk-buying can save money, no question BUT you must keep a sharp eye out for the shameful tricks supermarkets will pull on a buyer who is looking to buy in bulk.

The classic trick is to charge a price for an 'in bulk' item which is actually more expensive per unit or gram than the individual unit. What they are doing here is preying on the mindset of shoppers that 'buying in bulk' is always cheaper across the board.

It's not.

Supermarkets are relying on the belief that their customers will continue to buy the bulk item reasoning it's mere existence will mean they save money. Supermarkets take want to take advantage of that psychology and pricing decisions accordingly.

If you have to do some maths comparing bulk-sized when buying in bulk, it's worth your time. I trust the supermarkets that actually disclose price per gram or unit labelling.

You may wish to buy only what you actually may need. There's no point stockpiling 30 pounds of flour is there?

Depends on what you do during your weekends, I guess.

That said, stocking up is not a bad thing per se. If you have a spare freezer to put some of that mincemeat you got on special, then why not.

 A well-stocked freezer is always a source for homemade meals - especially if by knowing you can make pasta and meatballs, you won't go to the supermarket just to source that one meal, because what happens when you are there?

You buy many extra things you didn't intend to!

So, check the freezer before you go shopping. You might not need to leave the house!

how to save money your food bill

Shop around for vegetables at local markets


Some supermarkets charge killer prices for vegetables, especially when food stock is out-of-season.

The solution?

Visit a good old fashioned gardener's market. Odds are on that you can save around 20 per cent on quality fruit and vegetables.

Many markets spring up in urban areas on weekends. Check some Facebook groups in your local areas for details.

If you have little time, this one will be hard. But, this is one of those times when you should take the kids out - veggie markets can be fun - ours is near the harbour and the kids love buying fish from the boat - well the love the fisherman throwing fish cuts into the water and watching the Eagle Rays come in for a bite or two.

Check the Facebook groups too, many niche providers are bypassing supermarkets and selling directly to consumers via Facebook pages, their own sites and subscription services too. 

Loyalty cards help save you cash 


If you are not too fearful of Big Brother, consider joining up for the loyalty card.

Sure, a loyalty card means the supermarket can analyze your spending habits and market to you accordingly but who cares if your goal is to save money.

Loyalty cards will often give discounts to only customers using those cards and they will often have a rebate or voucher system that basically gives you some of your own money back to spend in-store when you have spent a certain amount.

If you save them, up, this can be pretty handy at Christmas time!

In the same vein, using coupons is still a really big thing in several countries, particularly in America. The wise use of coupons, particularly on products you already intended to buy, will totally lead to savings on your food bill.

Let's talk about meat 


We are not saying you need to go vegetarian but cutting meat from a meal or two each week will save you plenty of cash as it's often the most expensive component of the grocery bill.

Many families and roommates often choose to do 'Meat Free Mondays' or similar and make a simple dish such as mac n' cheese, tacos, lentils, bean burgers with avocado or fried vegetable noodles.

My personal favorite at the moment is a dish where the remain ingredients are onions, garlic, peppers and oil mixed with whatever other veggies are in the fridge...

If you make the meals flavoursome with additional herbs, chives, and other goodies like spring onion, you're onto a winning meal and no one will complain about there not being any meat!

Now you've got your saving on groceries sorted, perhaps it's time to think about how to save money on the power bill!
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