With the festive season having just departed, it seems like it has taken much of our beloved bank funds with it. Now as we gingerly approach our food cupboard we say a little prayer that we get through this month and not starve. Ok cut the drama! The great news is that you can save on your food bill with the tips listed in this blog post. The scary news is that if the above scenario is really you, then you need to learn the art of budgeting which we will cover in our next blog post next week. Let’s jump into it:
Mission: To feed our family well while being on a budget
Objective 1: Do the ground work
Before you jump into your car and speed to the local grocery store to start your trolley dash, let’s take some time to analyse the situation at home. Grab a pen and page and let’s start by opening your food cupboard. Remove all the items and place it on a nearby table so you can easily see all the items. Now starting at one end, pick up each product and look at the best before date of that product. Is it still ok? If so write down the product name, quantity and best before date. If it’s past its best before date, throw it out. Continue in this fashion until your entire food cupboard has been checked and accounted for. Spend some time cleaning the cupboard before putting all your food items back in a much more organised fashion.
Now open your fridge and freezer and do the same thing. Often we buy food and pack it away and forget about it, then a few days later we off to the store to buy the exact same thing that we already have in our fridge, we just forgot about it. Save your time and money and do an inventory of your food status at home at least once a week. The part which is the most work is creating the inventory list, but once it’s done its simply maintaining it.
BONUS TIP: To make this process even easier, laminate your inventory list and using a semi-permanent marker make a note as you use your food items and keep a magnetic note pad on your fridge to write down items as they finish so no more digging in the cupboards to check what you have just before leaving the house or trying to recall what you need as you stroll in the aisles at the shop. Admit it, we have all been there!
Objective 1 Outcomes:
- Inventory list created
- Quality control check done on remaining items
- Shopping list created
Objective 2: Create a game plan
Since our ground work is now done we have a good idea of what we already have in our food cupboard, fridge and freezer. We also have insight into what we commonly eat in the household as these need to be replenished often and we now know what hardly got touched. With this new information we can decide if we need to try new recipes with those neglected food items or change the brand, but the important thing is to remember to use what you have first instead of going and buying unnecessary food items, or the same items again. Buy only what you need!
Now that you have your shopping list, time to go shopping right? Hold on! Not so fast! Grab your local newspaper or classified section and look at the food items on sale. Are any of these items on your shopping list on special? If so, make a note of this (don’t forget to factor in how far the store is from you). If a store has 3 or more specials on that you can take advantage of, it will be worth your trip. Are there food items on sale that you can combine with what you already have to make a meal? Make a note of this too. Awesome! We just shopped around without even having to leave our homes.
BONUS TIP: Don’t forget about loyalty cards you may have at certain stores. These points often translate into discounts and cash back rewards.
BONUS TIP: Coupons are all the rage overseas but in South Africa we are a little limited. However there’s an app called Snap ‘n Save which offers coupons. Use my promo code Chanela658 when you sign up on Google Play Store.
Objective 2 Outcomes:
- Shopping list refined
- Meal plan created
Objective 3: Embark on a journey
Now that we find ourselves within the store, there are still a few more things to keep in mind. Foods such as pre-cut vegetables, prepacked fruit etc. are generally more expensive. Rather go pick your own fruit and vegetables by hand and go home and meal prep (see previous blog post). Chose fruit and vegetables which are in season so that you can get the freshest and generally more economical option. Frozen food is a great option as it lasts linger and is convenient. Don’t be fooled with name brands. Lots of extra money gets spent in marketing these products and as a result they are more expensive. Try different cuts of meat for the dishes you are making or new recipes with portions of meat you haven’t used before. Be creative. Try to limit your trips to the grocery store to just once a week. The rule should be, if it runs out, you go without it.
Objective 3 Outcomes:
- Refuelled and saved
Objective 4: Return to home base and celebrate your victory
At this point you are over the moon that you have saved already! But it gets better. Now that you in the kitchen decide to dedicate one day to vegetables only. Start a vegetable garden in your backyard and get your children involved. This will spark their enthusiasm about food and decrease the desire to eat out as often, saving you both in the short and long term. Pay attention to portion sizes and don’t be afraid to substitute meat with lentils, 50/50 works.
Objective 4 Outcome:
- Well-fed family on a budget! Yay!!!
MISSION COMPLETE ffffffffff