How to save money on your grocery and food bill

Nov 30, 2019

how to save money your food bill

How to save money on the food bill

There are plenty of ways to economize around the family home to save money. One of the easiest places to start is with your food bill. Groceries can be frightfully expensive at the best of times, so paring back on a few items and buying up in bulk in other places can help you save money.

You can save money on shopping and still eat happily and healthily.

There's no need to live on bread and jam all week (or noodles if you're a penny-pinching student) and you can enjoy a wholesome variety of food on your set budget.

If we're talking quite broadly, you can save money on food by not spending your money on obvious and easy things like Big Macs and potato chips.

If you're happy to change your lifestyle to cut back on the food bill, then simply cutting out take away food, soda (drink water) and cutting back on the booze is a sure-fire way to save money.

But you are an adult and you know this already.

Indeed, you've probably already planned ahead for the week's meals already - because that helps you allocate according to your food budget. When you did this, you may have already checked your pantry for what you already have - so you don't buy something twice and also because it may give you meal ideas to base around things you already have.

Quick bites on spending less money on food:


  • Use the apps that big chains like Walmart offer - there's plenty of deals to be had
  • Never shop on an empty stomach or you will buy that cooked chicken that smells so good
  • Take a set amount of cash and spend only that. It's called sticking to a budget. 
  • Don't throw away leftovers. Made too much pasta tonight? It's lasagne tomorrow. Or eat the leftovers for lunch. 
  • Only buy meat that is on sale. Pork is usually the cheaper option over beef. 
  • Consider growing vegetables or herbs and spices - spring onion and chives are dead easy to grow!
  • If have time, go to two supermarkets and only buy the specials that you need.
  • Avoid pre-made food packages and meals. They are money makers for the supermarkets. If you can make your own meals, do this. 
  • Do you really need all that bottled water? Unless you live in Flint, your tap water is probably fine. 
  • Try to shop without the children in tow - they can often make demands of you that are easier to cave into than deal with the resulting tantrum. 
  • Anything precut or prewashed is going to cost you more. Save money and buy the whole head of lettuce. Pre-cut grated cheese? Give me a break. 
  • If you realize that something perishable won't be eaten before it goes off - freeze it. Maybe you were going to eat those meatballs you went out - freeze your balls!
  • Bagged potatoes over loose potatoes are usually are much cheaper buy. 

Buy generic value brands


Brands at the supermarket. Most big supermarkets have a house brand that offer genuine value.

I personally use house brand shaving cream because it saves me a small fortune as the kids love to play with it in the bath! Items like household cleaners contain the exact same active chemical as fancy name brands so work just as well but are often priced 25 percent cheaper.

Many such value brand products are simply made by the producers of the name brand but are re-packaged and re-marketed. Value brand pantry staples such icing, flour and other such staples of the baking industry won't make your cake taste bad, and sugar is simply sugar, no matter how it's packaged.

In the same vein most 'cheap' or 'mid-range' shampoos will clean your hair just fine - why buy shampoo from the salon then?

One product we totally think is always overpriced is trash bags. While the world seems to hate plastic bags and straws these days, we still need strong trash bags. And the good thing here, is the generic bags do the same job as name brands.

Many people hate to do this, but your pet dog or cat can live on generic or low budget branded pet food quite easily. If you think you can't starve poor Fido of their precious bites sourced from the local vet clinic, then perhaps mix it up a bit and every second round, add some house brand pet food into the mix.

Whether dear Fido chooses to eat it is another story...

uberwuess - buying in bulk to save cash
Ross Geller knew bulk buying washing powder was a great way to save cash

When buying in bulk is a scam


Bulk-buying can save money, yes BUT keep a sharp eye out for the dirty tricks supermarkets can pull on the cost-conscious consumer.

The classic trick is to charge a price for an 'in bulk' item which is more expensive per unit or gram than the individual unit. What they are doing here is prey on the concept that 'buying in bulk' is cheaper across the board.

They are relying on the belief that their shoppers will buy the bulk item reasoning it's mere existence will mean they save money. Supermarkets take advantage of that psychology and price accordingly.

So if it means you have to do some maths when buying in bulk, it's worth your time.

Another thought - don't actually buy more in bulk than you actually may need. There's no point stockpiling 10 liters of tomato source really...

That said, stocking up is not a bad thing per se. If you have a spare freezer to put some of that mincemeat you got on special, then why not. A well-stocked freezer is always a source for homemade meals - especially if by knowing you can make pasta and meatballs, you won't go to the supermarket just to source that one meal, because what happens when you are there?

You buy extra things you didn't intend to!

So, check the freezer before you go shopping. You might not need to leave the house!

While this one may add to your shopping time, it's a fantastic way to save money on vegetables.


Some supermarkets charge killer prices, especially went stock is out-of-season.

The solution?

Visit a good old fashioned gardener's market. Odds are on that you can save around 20 percent on quality fruit and vegetables.

Many markets spring up in urban areas on Sunday mornings. Check some Facebook groups in your local areas for details.

Loyalty cards can save you cash 


Join up for the loyalty card. Sure, a loyalty card means the supermarket can analyze your spending habits and market to you according but who cares if your goal is to save money.

Loyalty cards will often give discounts to only customers using those cards and they will often have a rebate or voucher system that basically gives you some of your own money back to spend in-store when you have spent a certain amount.

If you save them, up, this can be pretty handy at Christmas time.

In the same vein, using coupons is still a really big thing in several countries, particularly in America. The wise use of coupons, particularly on products you already intended to buy, will totally lead to savings on your food bill.

Let's talk about meat 


We are not saying you need to go vegetarian but cutting meat from a meal or two each week will save you plenty of cash as it's often the most expensive part of the food bill.

Some families often choose to do 'Meat Free Mondays' and make a simple dish such as mac n' cheese, tacos, bean burgers with avocado or fried vegetable noodles. Let's not forget the classic 'chickpea curry on rice combo'.

If you make the meals flavorsome with additional herbs, chives and other goodies like spring onion, you're onto a winning meal and no one will complain about there not being any meat!

How supermarkets manipulate customers


How supermarkets manipulate their customers


The psychological tricks that supermarkets pull on customers are quite clever.

Supermarkets are living laboratories that study humans. Ever wonder what all those cameras in modern shopping complex are for?

They are not for catching shoplifters (a money-saving measure e do not recommend!) - they are there to monitor and observe consumer traffic patterns and behaviors. Supermarkets know how their customers work and plan the shop layout accordingly.

That's why milk and bread are placed at the back so you walk all the way past other attractive food items. Vegetables and fruit are placed at the entrance as your first port of call - because you're more inclined to pick more items at the start of your shopping experience.

You are also being bombarded with colors and smells.

The bakery is usually right next to the vegetable section because the bread smells nice. Fruit displays are often backed against mirrors to add volume and light vibrancy to the fruit. The supermarket is saying to you, hey, this is a great place to shop!

You might also feel a little bit smug about all the healthy food that you bought that'll you'll consider that enough of a reason to buy some biscuits or other junk type food.

So how does this affect you?

Forget the shop layout, you're already a mouse caught in that wheel, look at the shelf layout. Your eyes will naturally gravitate to the product that's in your eye line. And that's where the expensive items are placed.

Heck, some brands often pay for the privilege of having their goods placed in the customer's eye line. It's called a 'slotting fee'.

If you are looking for cheaper brands or generic items to save money, look on the bottom or lower shelves and the top!

The classic trick is to put items that will be bought as 'impulse purchases' by the checkout. Sweets, magazines. biscuits, chewing gum - it's all there so you will add a couple of extra bucks to your shopping bill.

Be wise about this, know it's a trap and stick to buying what you need and not what you want! In that sense, make a shopping list before you leave the house and stick to it.

Now you've got your saving on groceries sorted, perhaps it's time to think about how to save money on the power bill!

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