Monday, August 8, 2011

Cutting the grocery bill

I recently stumbled across this old post at which is a new blog I'm following and it got me thinking. After reading through many of the comments from a number of people willing to share their grocery bill online I realised I spend far too much on groceries.

This isn't quite a new revelation. I don't have a budget set out for grocery shopping so it's quite easy to just buy what I feel like at the time. And since moving back home to New Zealand from London I have noticed a considerable increase in the percentage of my income that goes to food, sadly because food costs here are higher.

So I have decided to finally tackle this issue head on and attempt to cut my spending on the grocery shop. I made the decision about two weeks ago and I have seen incredible improvements.

Firstly I have set myself a weekly budget that I am going to stick to. It is a fair budget that reflects the number of people in the house and the variety of food we like to eat.

When I shop I tend to shop at three different locations. The butchers, local fruit and veggie store and finally the supermarket. So I have to track my budget across all three but I find the supermarket is where my budget usually falls over. Cheese, toiletries, and laundry/kitchen items are usually the high ticket items that throw out a week.

I have always been one to plan out my meals but often I just plan based on whatever I think will be tasty for that week. Now I am thinking about the cost of all the ingredients. Looking for low cost meals isn't as difficult as it sounds. I find recipes that are high in vegetables and low in meat definitely cheaper. I also have been finding ways to swap out ingredients for cheaper options. Italian inspired meals are the worst as pancetta, olives and cheese all come at a high price here. But that doesn't mean I have to forgo them completely. I simply look for alternative options or stick to the tomato and mushroom based recipe, bruschetta anyone?! Yum!

Meats can also be tricky, I like to be flexible and replace out meats in a recipe based on what's on special. I would love to cook more vegetarian options but with my meat loving boyfriend that is a tough one. But I have started to reduce the amount of meat I put into each meal and he hasn't noticed a thing ;)

I'm also trying to make as many items at home as I can. I recently baked my own bread buns and have made home made muesli bars.

I'll keep you posted with how the next couple of months go but I have already noticed a decrease in my weekly spending just by trying out these few small changes.

I would love to hear other tips for how you reduce your grocery shopping bill.

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