Thrifty ways to save on that grocery bill

All Woman

HAVE you ever gone to the supermarket with a limit on how much you intend to spend, then you end up leaving with twice that amount in goods? Shopping on a budget can be a tough task when it seems as if the items you need to feed your family are getting more expensive with every trip to the grocer's.

All Woman asks some thrifty women to share their tricks for buying groceries on a budget, while ensuring that their homes never run out of nutritious food. Here are some tips that they volunteered.

Make a meal plan before you go shopping

“I'm the one cooking all the food, so I decide what is prepared for breakfast and dinner each day, and lunch on the weekends. My husband and I get paid monthly and shop a day or two after payday. But I realised that sometimes I'd have to go back for some items in the middle of the month because I wasn't always cooking what I was buying, so I decided to make a meal plan for the month, and then shop for the ingredients for what I have on the plan, in the right quantities. It's better than a weekly plan because it doesn't get predictable, and I can manage to reduce leftovers by having some 'warm up' days.”

— Kim, 34, family of five

Budget your food, not your money

“If you go shopping with an idea of the money you want to spend, but no clear understanding of the things you need, you will probably end up overspending. It might seem old-fashioned, but I make a list, and on my list I put the amount of each thing that I need for the month, so I'm not wondering if I should pick up three of this or six of that, because I tend to pick up the higher number.”

— Crystal, 27, family of three

Freeze more

“I cook enough food to last more than one day and freeze portion sizes in containers, and just warm up what I need. This not only saves time when I get home tired each night, but I literally never throw away food because I don't have any leftovers to spoil on me. In the end I save a lot of both time and money.”

— Jenelle, 25, family of two

Start at the far end of the supermarket first

“I don't know if I'm the only one who notices that they put all the discounted items and necessities at the farthest part of the supermarket, so by the time you get to them the trolley is full of things that you probably don't need, and you won't put back. So I get my trolley, walk to the last aisle, then shop backwards. Confuse the enemy.”

— Toni, 29, family of six

Don't just compare prices, compare weight

“Sometimes something might be a bit more expensive that the other, but when you check the difference in what the cheaper one holds, it's a better value to take the one that costs a little more.”

— Sandra, 38, family of three

Buy in bulk

“I buy everything in bulk, unless it's something that will expire soon. I don't even shop in supermarkets for most things. I go to the wholesales that shopkeepers buy from, and get the boxes and large bags of things. The trick, though, is to still use them as if it's the last one you have, because it doesn't make sense to buy a lot of something and waste it.”

— Leigh-Ann, 26, family of three

Add the tax before you get to the cashier

“I like to buy in the Chinese wholesale supermarkets because they list the full price of the goods, instead of the price before tax. But if I go to any other supermarket I add the tax in my head before picking up each item, so I'm not surprised and embarrassed at the cashier.”

— Kay, 33, family of four

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