Over the last few months purchasing our first home has put our budget under a lot of strain and it has forced us to change our budgeting habits (there were none) quite dramatically and the result has not only led to helping us to live a healthier lifestyle and helped me to lose the stubborn baby/comfort weight but it has also decreased our spending grocery wise by over R1000…
So here are my tips for helping to shop on a budget
Google/ Pinterest/ what’s for dinner etc…
There are so many sites available today with budget/ child friendly and healthy alternative meals, it takes a bit of time but towards the end of every month I sit down and I search for enough recipes to keep me going for the month, I download and print them and keep them in a recipe file at home, this helps me to plan out my meals correctly and ensure that I don’t get left in a fluster when it comes to meal times, it also means that my family don’t get bored with the same sort of meals every day!!!
Create a list
Create a grocery list from the recipes you have collected, shopping with a set list means that you don’t forget anything and ensures that you don’t buy anything you do not need. I categorize my list by section this makes it even easier as I go down the aisles, if you are like me and you shop at the same place every month then you can even arrange it according to the layout of the isles so that you go from isle to the next, I know this sounds like a lot of work but believe me it gets easier every month and will save you so much in the long run.
STOP buying them, not only are they unhealthy but they are more expensive, whatever you can make from scratch do it, I cannot tell you how much we saved just by doing this.
*however if you really want a mom time out day then set aside one day a week that you don’t cook ie a leftover night or a sandwich/hotdog night .
Keep an ear and eye out for specials
Make note of any specials at the shop you go to, I usually check the pamphlet before I go and mark down anything on my list that is on special
Buy in Bulk
When it comes to meat particularly buy strait from the butchery section and buy in bulk it works out cheaper and you can separate it into smaller packs when you get home, many shops sell bulk or combined packs of cleaning products or vegetable combos which also save money in the long run.
Swop Out Ingredients
If a meal calls for an expensive or hard to procure item then search for an alternative or if possible leave it out I have made many red meat dishes into veggie meals or chicken meals and they taste just as good.
Do not shop without your list
Leave your hubby and kids at home
I know this is not always possible but try to do it, my husband is the worst when it comes to throwing luxuries into the trolley, if they must come along then make it clear that unless it is on the list it will not go into the trolley.
Set a goal
Set a monetary maximum and stick to it, it is hard in the beginning but it gets easier every month, and if you come in under your budget keep that extra for a rainy day.
Do not shop while hungry it is a recipe for disaster and you will end up straying from your list and buying things you do not need.
Extra Shopping trips
Decide if you will shop once a month, every 2 weeks or weekly, set out your list and monetary amounts and stick to it- do not shop in-between.
I know this seems like a lot of work but once you are used to it, it becomes 2nd nature and it will be worth it when you see the amount of money and energy you save, I really enjoy cooking a meal for my family when it is enjoyed and appreciated and when I can actually enjoy it knowing I saved us money and myself the stress.
In today's economy every cent counts!