Do you have trouble sticking to your food budget, or do you have a good system? Do you have any advice to share that has helped you stay within your budget?
This was a question I put out on my ThermoFun facebook page a few months ago. Here are some tips that I collated from that post.
- For me the really big thing I learn time and time again is do NOT go shopping when hungry!!!! (Yep I'm a slow learner at remembering this big no no!). Absolutely fatal for me when it comes to walking down the chocolate/lolly aisle!! Lol! ;)
- The high cost of many items nowadays necessitates careful budgeting. If you carefully select your purchases and create a shopping list, you'll be able to get what you need without damaging your wallet too much.
- Look at the ends of the meat and seafood section. There are often marked-down items there.
- Compare brands and check prices. There is usually a 'home brand' version of most items that is cheaper and of comparable quality to the big name item.
- Read junk mail before you go into the shop to see if what you need is on sale. Comparing junk mail from different shops might help you get a better deal.
- Buy dry goods and toiletries in larger sizes to save money.
- Always bring a sensible shopping list, and STICK TO IT! This way, you will only buy the things you need without being tempted by other offers.
Lyn: Sit down on a designated day each week and write a menu for the coming week. Only buy the ingredients to produce your menu and don't forget to use reinvented 'left overs' to make another meal. This method saved our family heaps and made meals easier because I didn't have to decided what to cook.
Lisa: sorry we don't budget, I know, I know, but only buy kind of as we need it. I top fruit and veg up during the week along with bread and milk, then while I am at the shopping centre buy the meat for dinner for that night and maybe the next and any extras that might be needed for that meal. Means I don't have a lot of waste and there isn’t a bucket load of food for the kids to scoff, and this seems to work. Helps that I drive past a major shopping centre on my way to and from dropping the two younger ones to school.
Meaghan: One tip that I found really useful is to pay all the bills etc BEFORE doing the groceries. Makes me more inclined to sus out the pantry for meal ingredients before shopping if I know I've only got a few dollars left in bank till payday
Georgia: Can't stick to budget! Would love ideas on how to! I've tried bulk buying but end up throwing stuff out!
Ailie: Do you know what really helps me? Shopping online. Much easier to stick to what's on the list without seeing all those delicious and tempting unnecessary things!!
Jenny: We have a set budget and get that exact cash out and don't spend over it. I menu plan, write shopping lists, highlight the absolute necessity's and leave behind some things on my list for the following week. I shop online for our organic fruit, grains, nuts and legumes, put my ideal order into shopping cart then spend about 20mins realistically cutting it back to the budget amount. I buy juicing carrots and apples, as when carrots are in casseroles doesn't matter if they aren't perfect. We buy organic veg straight from local farm for around $20-30 a week for 2 crispers + full know your prices and shop around. Using a Thermomix and try and make most things from scratch and we rarely have take away, healthier and cheaper
Joanne The only times manage to stick to a budget is if i menu plan and I online shop with home delivery. I find it less tempting to add items not on my list and stick to the budget.
Genaya: Menu plan, grocery list, buy weekly/fortnightly, buy bulk.
Rebecca: Number 1 for us is for me to do the shopping alone - no kids and especially no husband. Number 2 is reduce waste by shopping for small amounts often. Number 3 is buy specials/bulk for non-perishables.
Lisa: We also have a huge fruit basket and go through that much fruit that I would not be able to keep it all in there at once anyway.
Stephanie: I do up a fortnightly meal plan. Before typing it up, I check what's in my freezer, fridge & pantry. This way I eliminate waste. Then I ensure we have a balanced diet by having 5 white meat meals (I consider Pork as a white meat), 5 red meat meals, 2 fish meals and 2 Meatless Mondays every fortnight. Then I draw up my shopping list and buy only what I need for my menu, plus lunches. I just bought a pie maker and I'm starting to use that for leftovers - yummy lunches, using the Rough Puff recipe in the EDC. Here's an example of my 2 week menu: since I don't have any leftovers yet, and I'm dying to try out the pie maker, I just made a batch of Béchamel Sauce, steamed some chicken (both in the thermie) and divided the mixture in half. I'm doing 1 batch of chicken & asparagus pies and one batch of chicken & mushroom pies. These will go in the freezer and make lunches, or go on the menu next fortnight!
Shelley: I have a large family with five children and my biggest tip is buying in bulk and definitely meal plans
Karina: I shop for specials and mark downs a lot! I know my prices and look for best deals on everything! I buy mostly home brand stuff. Shop when not hungry too
Mary: Meal planning - It also helps my sanity of an evening!
Gemma: live out of town so no shops!! I get a vege box so no tempting to pop in to buy things.
Rebekah: Buy in bulk when something you use a lot of is cheaper. Only take cash (helps you stick to budget). Don't shop when you're hungry. Make a list and stick to it.
Haylee: I have no idea what we spend as I bulk shop on specials all the time.
Lisa: I also buy bulk of things I use a lot when they are on special. Always means I can pull something together.
Jane: I am not a weekly shopper, do keep a mental tally and stick to a daily amount. Eg, if i spend four times the daily amount, no shops until 4 days later. I am still overspending I am sure as it is a generous daily amount, but spending less than I was.
Aimee: For me, not looking at recipes of yummy desserts would save me a LOT of money!
Tara: I buy meat from butchers, about what takes my fancy, and then do a rough meal plan around that. i.e.: we have diced beef, do we have ingredients for goulash or stroganoff. Markets for fruit n veg saves us 100+ a week. Online shop for the rest.
Katherine: Do a reverse meal plan. So buy what is on super special and then create a plan around that. Buy things on the clearance table and cook them straight away then freeze the meal.
Kirrilly: You are supposed to have a budget?!! I just buy stuff I know will get eaten if I see it on special, and the stuff we eat all the time when it’s on special. I have tried menu planning - couldn't even stick to it for a week, the twice I tried it, so I decide at least 4 nights per week what we are having for dinner at around 5pm...luckily I have a freezer full of beef, ham, bacon, chicken, veggies, herbs, fruit ...and can get away with the odd veggo meal. I get veggies and fruit about twice a week at the market.
Jenny: Yep don't spend more than I have in my wallet.
Do you have any advice to share that has helped you stay within your budget? If so you are most welcome to tell us in the comments below.
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