If you are anything like me, you can be a nightmare when it comes to going grocery shopping – especially if you have a fiance who is just as bad plus a toddler in tow. I do try my hardest to keep to budget when it comes to food shopping but we have all been there when you are reaching the final aisles in the supermarket, your toddler is getting irritable and you just want to treat yourself – fancy cheeses, bag upon bag of sweets, a cheap bottle of plonk – things you don’t need and it all adds up.
Whilst I do quite like shopping in the supermarket (for the first 10 minutes, anyway), I have found I stick to my budget much better if I do my shop online. The temptation to buy as much isn’t there and whilst you do see some fantastic deals online, it is easier to say no.
Never go food shopping when hungry. I broke my own rule on Christmas Eve – Steve was on nights and literally picked us up as soon as he got home at 7am, leaving no time for me to have breakfast after making sure Jack was fed and watered. This definitely wreaked havoc when it came to picking up items for the trolley and I found myself with lots I didn’t need – and a tummy full of McDonalds from across the road too!
Check out the reduced aisle. This is a bone of contention with plenty of people – they think that because something is reduced, then the quality is diminished. Yes, most reduced items have same day dates on them or the next days date – but this doesn’t mean that they are rubbish! I love popping up to the Co-Op where my Mum works and grabbing the reduced stuff – my freezer is full of meat and ready meals which were going out of date but I simply stuck in the freezer for when I needed them.
Stock up your store cupboard gradually. Bear with me here – all too often, you will find a recipe that you want to try out – only to find you don’t have this spice or that flour. More and more frequently, recipe books mention these store cupboard essentials and you have none of them! I know we haven’t got many at the minute – but we are planning to start adding a couple of things to every food shop – you will barely notice the difference and once your cupboard is full, no more going out and spending loads to make that one cake you have seen!
Finally, there is always the biggie – cut out the non-essentials. The non-essentials are different for everyone – some would say tobacco, some would say wine – but obviously everyone has their vice so no one person can be the judge of any other. However, whilst Steve still has his tobacco and I have my chocolate and we both have our fizzy drinks, we have cut down on biscuits, sweets, ready meals and certain condiments as we don’t need them! Living to a budget needn’t be hard so why make it hard for yourself!
Have you got any tips for keeping grocery spends down?