Aside from your mortgage or rent, your biggest monthly expense is likely to be your food shop.
The good news is that unlike your mortgage, your car payment and most of the rest of your bills, you actually have some control over how much you spend at the supermarket!
This means that focusing on your grocery spend is a great way to trim your household budget when you need to save some extra cash.
Make A Grocery Budget
Start by tracking how much you’re spending on groceries for a few weeks. From there, come up with a weekly or monthly budget. Allot that money for groceries, and whatever you do don’t go over.
If you find it hard to track your spend, consider the ‘envelope system’. Withdraw the amount of cash you plan to spend on groceries for one month, and keep it in an envelope. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Some people find it much easier to restrict their spending when they can physically see the cash.
Next, try cutting back your budget by £20 per month. Keep going and see how low you can go. The remaining tips will help you do that without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.
Keep A Price Book
Who doesn’t love a bargain or a good deal? They are all over the shops, but do you know if what they advertise as a good deal is actually saving you money?
Keep a little notebook in your bag or keep a text document on your phone with the regular prices of the items you buy most often. Not only can you see if that “deal” really is a deal, you can also determine what kitchen staple is cheapest where and adjust your shopping accordingly.
Your price book will also come in handy when you browse through weekly grocery flyers. You can decide if a loss leader deal is worth driving to the store long before you ever set a foot out the door.
Come Up With A Few Frugal Dishes
You don’t have to make drastic changes and eat nothing but rice and beans all week. Instead think of a few inexpensive dishes your family enjoys.
They may be rice and beans. Or how about a big pot of soup or chilli. Often meatless dishes will be your best frugal bet, or use meat in small portions on frugal dish days.
Enjoying frugal meals even just a handful of days during the month combined with using up any and all leftovers will make a big difference in your grocery budget.
Cut Out The Extras
Make a list before you head to the store and stick to it. All those little extras like the fancy bread from the bakery or the candy you grabbed at checkout start to add up.
Get in the habit of skipping those extras unless there’s a good reason to buy them. Stick to your list and you’ll cut your grocery bill by quite a bit each week. It’s amazing how all those little extras add up.
Give these tips a try and see if you don’t start to see big savings on a weekly basis.
So what to do with all the extra money each month? Well, that’s up to you! Save up for a fun summer holiday, pay off those credit cards or start building your financial safety net. Enjoy!