Back in September, I published a blog post about living on £100 each month. For the past four months, I have been spending around £70-£80 on groceries each month and the rest on personal care and cleaning products. I received a few comments as well as emails from my readers asking how I managed to spend so little on food, and today I thought I would let you in on my secret (there’s more than one!). I make sure I have enough food in my fridge, and I am eating a healthy balanced diet.
If you are on a tight budget or simply want to save a few pennies here and there, reviewing your grocery list could do the trick. Here are some things that I do (and don’t do) to save on groceries.
I cook from scratch
I don’t buy any ready meals. If I want a pasta salad, I will not buy it from the store; I will make it myself. If someone else made it for me to buy, there is no reason I cannot make it at home myself.
I bring my own lunch to work
During the first four months of my “budgeting game”, I was bringing lunch to work every.single.day! If I can, I cook and freeze my lunch in small lunch boxes so that I don’t have to worry about cooking every day because this, my friends, is not fun.
I eat breakfast at home before I leave for work
I normally have a boiled egg and toast or oatcakes with hummus. If I am running late, I bring my breakfast with me and eat it at my desk before I start work.
I buy some food from the budget range (store own brand)
There is nothing wrong with downgrading to a cheaper brand. Try it – if you don’t like it, you can always go back to buying more expensive stuff.
I stick to my shopping list
I don’t meal plan as such; however, I’ve got a good idea what I will be making for lunch and dinner. I only buy the ingredients that I know I will use.
I don’t eat meat or fish
This stuff is expensive. These are the things that I wouldn’t recommend saving money on. Buy quality or don’t buy at all.
I don’t buy alcohol
At all. Not because it is expensive, but because I get headaches after two sips. This unfortunate situation saves me pennies which is definitely a bonus.
I never bin food; I freeze it if I can
I especially love doing this with mushroom risotto. I would make a big pot of this yumminess, pack in small lunch boxes and freeze. I also freeze bread which takes me to my next point.
I buy soon-to-expire products
I don’t see anything wrong with buying soon-to-expire items. I either eat them that very same day or freeze them. I eat toasts and most stores always have bread on sale for mere pennies, so I buy it and freeze it.
I buy on offer
I don’t buy in bulk a lot as I have limited storage space. But even an occasional purchase of something that is on offer (2-for-1, buy one get one free) saves some cash.
I don’t shop on an empty stomach
I mentioned this little trick in one of my old posts about grocery shopping. It doesn’t get old. An empty stomach is bad news when you’re shopping for groceries. It will make you want to buy everything in sight. If you find yourself hungry in a grocery store wanting to buy all sorts of crap, eat an energy bar. This will give you a “quick fix” while you’re shopping, and you can always pay for what you’ve eaten at the check-out. Yes, I’ve done that!
I shop around
If I know I can get something cheaper elsewhere, I will schedule an additional trip to a different grocery store. I may have been a Marks & Spencer girl who used to buy her food there religiously, but now I think this was not very smart of me (to say the least).
I shop at discount stores
Since I moved in with my sister, I discovered Lidl, which is a budget store not too far away from where she lives. I plan on visiting it at least once per month to buy staple foods that are much cheaper there than anywhere else.
I collect points
I scan my loyalty card every time I do my grocery shopping to accumulate points. I get vouchers or discount codes to use in store once I have collected enough points.
THIS WEEK’S GROCERY BILL
I went food shopping over the weekend, and this is what I bought (all the stores mentioned below are conveniently located next to each other in the area I live in now, so I am not limited to one store and can shop around) –
Orange juice (Tesco own brand) £0.65
Greek Feta (Tesco own brand) £1.00
Bananas x3 £0.33
Chestnut mushrooms £0.79
Iceberg Lettuce £0.45
Grapefruit x1 £0.35
Cherry Tomatoes £0.69
Mozzarella Light £0.44
Penne pasta x2 (Asda own brand) £0.58
A big jar of Olives £1.32
Frozen Vegetables (broccoli & cauliflower) £1.25
Oriental Mix Vegetables £1.11
Baked Beans (Asda own brand) £0.32
Total food: £9.73
I have some eggs, rice, baby potatoes, milk and bread at home. Other than that, I still need to get oatcakes (Nairns cheese ones are my absolute favourites) for my breakfast. It is not as hard to get good quality food (branded or not, it comes from the same place) and all nutrients you need for less. Try these little tricks and watch your grocery bill go down dramatically!
How much is your monthly grocery bill on average? Do you use any of these tricks? Share your own too!
How to Live on £100 per Month
10 Ways to Cut Your Food Bill in Half
12 Easy Things You Can Do Today to Save Money