Ten ways to save on groceries

We can cut our credit card bills, pay off store accounts and even settle our bonds but there is one rising expense that we have to pay for the rest of our lives: grocery bills. With the cost of food going up at an alarming rate it is vital that we get a handle on how much we spend at the supermarket.

Ten ways to save on groceries 

Iona Minton
Thu, 22 Sep 2005

This article is a printout from iafrica.com
Copyright © 2000 iafrica.com*, a division of Metropolis*

We can cut our credit card bills, pay off store accounts and even settle our bonds but there is one rising expense that we have to pay for the rest of our lives: grocery bills. With the cost of food going up at an alarming rate it is vital that we get a handle on how much we spend at the supermarket.

Here are ten ways to save in the food department.

1.      When shopping at the grocery store, keep your eyes open for specials and bargains. Buy extra of whatever is on sale. Canned goods are especially good to stock up on because they have a long shelf life. Cereals, dried fruits, pasta, rice oils and teas can also be stored.

2.      Freeze it! Buy mince, chicken and other frequently used meats in bulk and separate into individual portions. Wrap well and freeze for quick dinners.

3.      Make home-made “fast food”. Kids love American-style junk food but it’s usually unhealthy and very costly. Learn to make the kid’s favourites from scratch. Home-made pizza, hamburgers and tacos, for example, are much healthier, easy to make at home and much more economical.

4.      Use less meat in your meals. Meat is an expensive way to get your protein. Get your kids used to not having meat as the centre of a meal and have meatless meals once or twice a week.

5.      Make a list of what you need and stick to it. It’s those impulsive buys that push up the bills.

6.      Commercial snack foods are expensive and usually unhealthy. Most kids love dips. Make a healthy dip and serve with fresh veggies or a fruit dip with fresh fruit. The dip will last four to five days in the refrigerator and you can keep cut up fruit and veggies available in the fridge for after-school snack attacks.

7.      Make more now, save later. When making soups, stews and sauces, freeze the extra in freezer bags to pull out for meals as needed.

8.      Leave the kids at home when you go shopping. They can easily add 20 percent to your bills by twisting your arm to buy the latest fads.

9.      Do an inventory check before you shop. It’s easy to get in the habit of buying certain items even when they are not needed.

10.   Try shopping online. Woolworth’s Inthebag.com and Pick ‘n Pay offer a great range of products on line. When you shop from the comfort of your home you avoid those impulse buys, save petrol, and can add to your list if you forget something. My personal favourite is the dinner party service.

Most people can save on grocery shopping once they have identified the inefficiencies. A good way to pin point where you are going wrong is to keep a list of everything you spend for a month and then scrutinise it to eliminate the problem areas.

You could probably add another 10 tips to this list. It may not look like much but when you add them all up you could shave at least 20 percent off your bills. If you spend an average of R24 000 a year on groceries, that’s a saving of R4800 a year, so it’s certainly worth the effort.

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