I like food. I like to cook and I like to eat. Food is something I enjoy very much (sometimes maybe too much) and that is why I am probably willing to spend a certain amount of time on planning it, preparing it and eating it! It has been like this for as long as I remember so there is a high probability that it is not going to change in the near future.
What has changed is the way that I go about the subject of food. Once, one of the things that I would almost always do, was to first think what I would like to eat for dinner and then go to the store to buy the things I needed for that meal. This is what you call very short term planning and meant that when we started to look closer at what we spent on food, we could see that we were spending way too much money on food, probably because of things like this.
For about a year now we have been budgeting our money and especially the amount we spend in the supermarket and on take-away. We decided that we needed a specific amount that we could spend and we settled on NIS 500 (USD 130) as we felt that this is a number that should be able to cover all our needs while avoiding overspending. While there are weeks where we have no problems to stay inside the limit and other weeks where we struggle.
Here are some of things that helps us to spend less money on food:
We plan our meals ahead and make a shopping list – that way we buy mostly only what we need and avoid throwing too much food away
We try to cut down on the number of times we go to the store – we have found that the less we go, the less we spend
We try not to buy processed foods – for one we don’t know exactly what went into them and secondly they are usually more expensive
We try to buy mostly basic products – products like fruit, vegetables, milk products, flour, rice/ lentils and meat will make it possible to make almost anything
We rarely buy cakes and cookies and bread – these items are quite a lot more expensive to buy and by baking one can really save some money in this area, plus it is something that is fun to do with the kids
We try not to go to the shop for a thing or two – normally being out of something is not the end of the world and waiting for that next round of shopping is actually doable (except if it is milk for my morning coffee!)
I tend to send Dear Husband to the store – quite surprisingly since I am way cheaper than him, when it comes to food he is much better at keeping to the list and buying smarter…
What are your grocery strategies? I would love to hear them 🙂