One of the ways in which I reduce our outgoings is to stick to a limited grocery budget. Here’s some of the things I do to keep this cost down.
- I always check the reduced section in the supermarket when I do my shopping. The best deals I find are around 6pm, so it does depend on when you do your shopping as to what bargains you get. On my maternity leave I used to go shopping around 3pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday and found that there were still some really good deals and could always manage to get loaves of bread for 10p each, so it’s worth having a look whenever you’re in. If I get reduced bread like this I simply put it in the freezer; as we generally only use bread for toast; this can be just taken out and toasted from frozen.
- If there’s any leftovers from our meals I either use them in some way for lunch the next day or freeze them to use in a future meal. For example we always seem to have left over mashed potato (I always seem to make too much!) but this is perfect to freeze and can be reheated from frozen in the microwave to go with a meal later in the week. Any pasta or curry dishes that we make will usually get used for the next days lunch. This is good on two levels, firstly because of the money saving aspect and secondly because it means I don’t have to worry about what to make for lunch the next day!
- If we’re going out anywhere, I will always try to take drinks and snacks and ideally lunch out with us. This isn’t always easy with two small boys, especially if its an impromptu outing but I’ll always try to at least make sure their water bottles are filled and I have a couple of snacks to hand. This is much easier to do if it’s a planned outing and will generally find any excuse to have a picnic. My sister and I always take a flask of tea, sandwiches and biscuits when we’re on our car boot sale trips. There’s nothing nicer than settling down on a picnic blanket to a lovely cuppa after rummaging round a car boot sale. I always take my lunch to work and in the warmer months I’ll head outside with a book to enjoy a quiet break and a lovely homemade lunch in the sun.
- I always try to do a meal plan and base my shopping list around this. It definitely helps to lessen impulse buys and makes you think about the food that you already have in your cupboards and therefore what you really do need to buy.
- I really make use of our freezer and treat it like another food cupboard. When I find 10p loaves in the reduced section in the supermarkets, I fill the freezer up. I also buy any treat items like croissants or pain au chocolat reduced and they go straight in the freezer for times when we fancy a bit more or a treat breakfast. Things like bread buns or bagels will go straight in the freezer and I’ll just take what I need out the night before or defrost in the microwave.
With a bit or thought and forward planning you can really make a difference to the amount you spend.