Living on one salary has meant that we have had to really get honest about our monthly budget. One of the best ways to save or cut down on your expenses is honing in what you spend your money on. Since we all gotta eat, food and eating out seems to take a large portion of your overall monthly budget. It is exceptionally costly to eat out here in Dublin – more than it was back home in Johannesburg. But there are ways we have learnt on how to lower our food costs each month. We still are able to eat out (selectively), but here are ways we have been able to cut down on our grocery bill.
- Set a budget for take-out and eating out – and stick to it.
Something we have gotten quite good at is getting creative on how we eat take out or eating out in general. We look for specials all the time. We often skip going out at dinner time because dinner is often more expensive, especially if there is alcohol involved. If we do plan on eating out, then we opt for brunch or lunch. One of or fave things to do over a weekend is make a big breakfast at home and then grab a coffee and or donut while we are out. It still gives us the same amount of joy, just works out cheaper.
- Create your own take-out meals at home.
If we feel like take out we opt for getting frozen pizza or making nachos or burgers at home. It is super easy to make and is more cost effective than if we were to order take aways.
- Drink water – it’s free.
We try not drink during the week, not only does it help keep the costs down, but it is healthier! What I have noticed is how much money we can save if we skip drinking even non-alcoholic drinks and opt for water instead. We drink water straight from the tap, we crazy like that, and to be honest I think it tastes great.
- Plan your meals for the week and meal prep what you can.
We have found that the minute we plan what we are going to eat – we spend less on food. We eat breakfast at home, and take a packed lunch to work. I try plan at least 4-5 dinners every week. This way we have some wiggle room for impromptu plans while we are out exploring or we eat the leftovers. On top of planning what we eat each week, I like to meal prep on a Sunday. We grill a bunch of chicken, chop some veg and boil some eggs. Easy things that we can grab and put a quick meal together. This is perfect to have on hand on the evenings we both get home late from work and the thought of starting to cook dinner from scratch sounds like too much admin to do.
- Use what you have at home first before buying more.
When we plan meals, we stick to the plan. The rule in our house is we eat what we have at home before going and buying more food. The key to making this rule work is making sure that you have planned a variety of meal options for the week – if you stick to chicken and veg every day of the week, you will get tired of eating the same thing every day. But if you have different dinner ideas, then you have the option to change dinners around to what you feel like eating on that particular day.
- Pick meals that use seasonal foods, and look for items that are on sale.
The best way to save money on the cost of food is to use seasonal foods that are slightly cheaper than if they were out of season. Our local Tesco keeps the food in season or on sale right at the front of the aisle. When we go shopping for food, I try incorporate these foods into the dinner ideas we plan for the week. Similarly, if its not on the plan for that week, even if it is on sale, I try stick to my shopping list. It is quite easy to get wrapped up on the sale items and buying for the sake of a good deal, does not save you money. Especially if you can’t eat it all, if you buy too much it causes unnecessary food wastage – which is one thing I hate to do. Besides, its very often the unhealthy food on sale – and we don’t any more of that in the house!
- Avoid buying bulk if you know you won’t use it in a month.
This rule just helps keep the budget in check. If you buy a large amount of one thing, you might be saving money in the long run but it uses up your monthly budget pretty quickly. Unless you take that savings in the next month and put in savings, but not many people do that – you tend to not really see where that money goes in the end.
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOU TRY SAVE MONEY ON YOUR OWN GROCERY BILL?
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