Sometimes you come back with bags and bags of crap you never eat. Sometimes you overspend sometimes you underspend. You buy a load of reduced items that instantly go moldy when you get home. Food and budgeting is a tricky balancing act. Here’s how to do it well and save money.
Know Your Sections
Food can be divided into “groceries”, “condiments”, “frozen” and “fresh”. You shop for “groceries”, “frozen” and “condiments” once a month and “fresh” once a week. What exactly fits into these wide ranging categories? Read on…
Groceries – things that will last for months in the cupboard
Canned goods, beans, peanut butter, jelly, canned fish, spreads, coffee, cheese, cereal etc.
Condiments – things to add flavor that last for a long time
Dried herbs, spices, catsup, mayo etc.
Frozen – Obvious
Pizza, fries, frozen veg, deserts etc.
Fresh- things that go off quickly
Fresh meat and veg, butter, milk, bread etc.
The Monthly “Big Shop”
So once a month get everything on the above list – everything you need. Be sure to make a list first and have an idea of how much things will cost. It is difficult to re-budget when you’re in the shop. Sometimes you might not be able to afford everything on your list. Herbs and spices can be expensive so I used to buy three or four every month until I had a nice collection.
On Reduced Food
Reduced food is good as long as you don’t buy a whole load of crap. Therefore set aside around 15% of your overall budget for whatever is on offer when you are shopping. But it is really impossible to know what to expect. You could go on a day that 10 packets of mince are half price. In such a situation it’s best to buy them all and freeze them. It’s a tough call so think on your feet and be sure think carefully about whether you actually need what you are buying.
The Weekly “Small Shop”
Once a week get all your fresh food in. It is important to eat fresh fruit and vegetables and you are going to need to stock up on bread and milk. Enjoy this little shop with the pressure off.