"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
George Bernard Shaw
I really do love food. But ... Ouch.
Grocery costs are rather painful at the moment, aren’t they?
We’re all dealing with this differently of course. We are in different financial positions, with different responsibilities, with different priorities and different challenges.
But it’s been weighing on my mind recently. So, here are some ways that I am working towards keeping these costs under control:
Never shop hungry
This one is SO true for me. I’m mostly an online shopper, and those clever algorithms seem to know exactly how to make me click on food to add to my basket when my tummy is rumbling (how does it know?!).
I also tend to shop for the ‘naughtier’ foods when I’m hungry too which does nothing to support my health. So, make sure you’ve already eaten before you do your food shop. It really helps to shop with your mind rather than your stomach!
Look up and down
This is a nifty supermarket trick. Supermarkets tend to stock the items they want you to buy at eye level (i.e. the more expensive ones), and the more reasonable products low down or up high.
So check out the bargains outside of your eyeline.
Lowest price ‘per’
If you’re more of an online shopper like me, make sure you do a search for the item you are looking for, and then list things by ‘lowest price per’ which means the lowest equivalent price per kilo, or whatever (assuming your online supermarket shows this option).
Going for the lowest price item isn’t always the best deal, so check out the lowest price ‘per’ and see how that affects your choice.
I’m a fan of this, but then I’m lucky enough to have a spare freezer in my shed and some space in my cupboards. Buying in bulk tends to mean that you can make significant savings.
Have a look at the long shelf life stuff, like pasta and tins, which are great for times when money is tight. Household toiletries and cleaning products are worth buying bulk too (though do check out the ‘price per’ as above) as long as you have the space to store it.
Write a list
Probably a no-brainer in theory, but in practice it is easy to go off-piste and pop into the supermarket to ‘grab some bits’ (sound familiar?). But then you’ll end up buying things that you may not really needs.
Focus on what is on your shopping list, what you need rather than what you want, and stick to it where possible.
I don’t do this one. But I know lots of people who do and swear by it as it helps with the list writing and means less waste and a more economical shop.
Should I try it? Let me know.
Use up the bits n bobs
I challenge myself to creating minimal food waste. I can’t bear waste. So if I find various random vegetables in my fridge, I will make a soup or roast them and add them to a salad. I will also freeze food rather than letting it go off before it is used.
Chopped up fruit and veg seems convenient, but it comes at a premium. And goes off quicker. And meats or fish with a sauce on them, or an over-priced piece of garlic butter in the packet, is more expensive than buying the protein yourself and creating a tasty meal yourself.
Look for the stickers
I do a little happy dance if I see one of my favourite regular buys on a special offer or reduced.
Ok, the dance is in my head, and I’m a little bit sad I know. But hey, I love a special offer. Just make sure it is something you were going to buy anyway! Otherwise you’re not saving, you’re spending.
Don’t obsess over use-by dates
Modern fridges nowadays tend to be pretty efficient, and I think that supermarkets are a tad paranoid when it comes to use-by dates. I personally use the ‘sniff test’ when it comes to food that is past the use by date. Not a reliable method for everyone I realise, but I do have the nose of a blood hound.
And if we’re talking about cupboard products, I mostly ignore those dates (within reason). But use your common sense. Obv.
I don’t mean in terms of scales, but I mean in terms of feeling like you are not always depriving yourself. If we constantly trying to cut back, cut down, say no, choose the cheapest etc it is easier to fall off the wagon. I like to ensure that I have a treat of some kind in my weekly grocery shop. I don’t mean chocolate (though that is usually in my shopping too), but I mean ingredients for a yummy meal to look forward to that week.
That way, I am intentionally choosing how to spend my money, and choosing something that brings happiness and contentment, rather than feeling like I am constantly pulling back.
As I say, it’s about balance, being intentional and making choices that are right for you.
What do you do to keep your grocery costs down? Please drop me a note and share your tips! As they say … every little helps.
And if you are finding it tricky to gain clarity over what you are spending, don't forget that you can book a FREE mini 121 with me to chat about ways I could help.