If you’re looking to reduce household costs, food is one area where you can cut expenses and help your family budget. Here are my tips on how to save money on food.
With the cost of living going up, it can be difficult to keep the family budget under control. It can also be really stressful and place pressure on families. If you’re spending time and energy being worried about money, or if you’re wanting to save up for a holiday or a house, it’s time to make a mindset shift and get your budget under control.
There are lots of ways to save money and its easier on variable costs such as the weekly grocery shop. Here are my tips on how to save money on food.
ways to save money on food
Unlike your fixed bills, food is one area of your budget that is flexible. The weekly grocery bill can vary significantly, depending on what you are cooking and how prepared you are. These are my top tips on how to save money on food.
- Set a grocery budget – it’s amazing how much you can save when you have to. Bring the grocery budget back into your control by setting yourself an affordable limit each week for food and don’t go over it. You’ll find creative ways to make it work!
- Consider buying groceries online – Have you ever walked the supermarket aisles, trying to mentally add up the total cost of your shop and keep within budget? It can be tricky to do this and it only takes one lapse of concentration (oooh, Tim Tams are on sale…) to lose track! Shopping online allows you to see the tally as you add items to your cart. This way you can easily remove from your cart to keep within your budget. It’s much harder to put items back when your doing it instore.
- Use my coupons (yes The Organised Housewife offers coupon codes) – see what special offers Woolworths and Coles are offering that might help you keep this week’s grocery shop down.
- Compare the cost at different supermarkets – This sounds time-consuming but there is a way to cheat and do this quickly! I have only recently discovered that there are platforms and apps that will compare the cost of your shopping at different supermarkets and let you know where it’s cheaper to buy. How clever is that? Smartcart is a Google extension that compares Woolworths and Coles and then allows you to carry your list over to the cheapest supermarket to place your order online. The app Frugl is another way to cross check the cheapest place to shop.
- Choose budget-friendly meals – there are plenty of tasty, nutritious meals you can make without spending a fortune – find some budget-friendly meal ideas here and in my cookbook.
- Meal plan – work out exactly what meals you’ll cook so you only buy what you need and this will reduce food wastage. You can find lots of meal plan ideas here.
- Shop your pantry – if you’re having a lean week, use up items you already have in your pantry to make dinner. You might only need to buy one or two ingredients instead of ten.
- Lunchbox plan – use a lunchbox planner so you’re not tempted to buy extra snacks.
- Shop just once a week – avoid those expensive mid-week dashes to the shops by making a shopping list and only buying what’s on the list.
- Make your own snacks – it doesn’t take long to make a batch of muffins or cookies for lunchboxes. Pop them in the freezer ready to grab and go on busy mornings. Find lots of lunchbox recipes here and in my lunchbox cookbook.
- Make your own lunch for work – it can get really pricey to buy lunches and a lot of the time, you can make something similar at home for a fraction of the price.
- Buy generic brands – even just swapping to the generic brand of cereals, flours, sauces and veggie tins can add up.
- Organise your fridge and pantry to reduce food waste. It’s amazing how much food can go to waste simply because the family can’t see it. Avoid things getting shoved to the back and going off by taking the time to organise your fridge and pantry. Use containers to store things like biscuits and chips, otherwise the packet tends to get left open and they go stale.
- Make double-batch meals and freeze them so you’ve always got leftovers and don’t need to buy takeaway.
- Buy frozen or seasonal fruit and veg – Fresh fruit and veggies will always be cheaper when they’re plentiful and in season so be prepared to change what you buy to suit the season. Also try frozen fruit and vegetables as they are often cheaper than fresh while still retaining their nutrients and taste.
- Make fakeaway instead of having takeaway – its cheaper to heat up some fish fillets, hot chips, chicken nuggets, pizza or nachos than order in.
- Make your own coffee – of course, it can be nicer to buy a quality coffee from a cafe, but you’ll save quite a lot by making your own. Often buying coffee is habitual so see if you can change the habit.
- Always carry a water bottle so you’re not tempted to buy drinks when you’re out and about.
- Kat’s tip: Saving money on food and other household expenses requires some organisation. A planner will help you remember the tasks you have to do to keep your budget on track, such as meal planning or scheduling time for grocery shopping or baking.
Ultimately, keeping food costs down is a fantastic way to take control of your budget, save money and ease your financial worries. I hope some of these tips are helpful for your family’s budget! Watch this blog for more tips on how to save money around the home.
If you need help with your financial situation, try the not-for-profit organisation Financial Counselling Australia for assistance.