I don’t know if I’m alone, but I absolutely love grocery shopping! I love checking out the new products, spending my time browsing each and every aisle and searching out the latest bargains. When I am in the US, I will spend hours in Walmart, creatively trying to think of ways to bring home the many products that we can’t get back home without (too much) excess baggage costs! My first time in Sydney, I spent more time in Coles than at the Opera House! I don’t know what it is – I just love browsing in supermarkets.
So as you can imagine, and as we saw from my analysis into my spending, my grocery bills are far too high. I am spending almost the same amount of money in Tesco/Lidl/SuperValu as I am on my mortgage. For a 2 person household this is simply not required and not sustainable. As much as I enjoy grocery shopping and cooking, it doesn’t have to be taking up so much of my disposable income. So what can I do….
As I have said all along, this is my journey – I’m not there yet and I’m learning as I go along and breaking a few years of bad habits. So with that in mind, the below are the steps I am going to take in order to make a huge effort to cut down on the amount of money I spend on grocery shopping.
1 – Checking what I already have
Firstly I am going to go through the freezer, fridge, pantry and cupboard to see what I actually have at home. I know that I have the makings of many meals already in the kitchen – I know that for sure because using my freezer is like a game of Tetris!
2 – Meal Planning
Using the ingredients I already have at home, I will start to prepare meal plans. Monday to Sunday – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. This will be the initial push to actually use up what I already have. I’ll then continue the meal planning each week when it comes to planning my grocery shopping.
3 – Making a Shopping List
I’ll use my meal plans to create a list of what’s needed at the supermarket. There will be some items that I’ll always have on there; such as milk and fruit. The rest of the items will come from what’s needed to make the meals on the meal planner.
4 – Shopping ONCE a week
This is my biggest problem – some weeks I am at the shops every day; spending both time and money. I have food at home, but need something; pop to the shop for that “one thing” and end up with a full basket. When I am properly using what I have at home, planning my meals, keeping a shopping list, I should have no need to be at the supermarket more than once a week. I am going to pick a shopping day and stick to it.
5 – Setting a Budget
Of course, all the above are good changes (compared to how I have been), but could all prove pointless if I am still overspending. I am going to work out and set myself a monthly grocery budget. My plan is that on the day I get paid, I withdraw that amount and put it in a separate ‘grocery shopping only’ purse. These days I rarely have cash, always opting for the ease of the debit card – but I have a feeling that using cash, at least at the start, will help me out in sticking to the budget.
So there’s my plan and I’m going to give it my best go. I think better planning and setting a budget will help out hugely in my journey to save money and cut down on waste. I’ll let you know how I get on!