Food often takes the biggest portion of our budget. People need to eat, and that’s a fact. So most of the time, when you’re creating a budget plan, food is something you don’t want to touch, because you think there’s nothing you can do about the food budget, since you basically need to it.
However, there are actually some things you can do to stretch your food budget and avoid overusing your credit card in the supermarkets and groceries. Here are some ways.
Create a meal plan. Probably the first thing you need is to create a meal plan. If you don’t plan your meals ahead, chances are you will just be picking up things that you see and then decide later what you can cook with them. However, if you have a meal plan, not only can you prepare a healthy and well- balanced diet, but you will know exactly what ingredients you will buy.
Limit your grocery visits. Avoid frequent trips to the grocery especially if you don’t need to buy a lot of things. After creating a meal plan, make sure you have everything you need so you won’t have to come back. Returning for a couple of items almost probably can lead you to picking up stuff just to fill your cart.
Bring cash. With a credit card, you may lose control and switch on your impulse buying mode. Bringing cash in the supermarket, on the other hand, can help you avoid making big spends. With the meal plan and list of ingredients that you have, you will get an idea how much they would cost, so you need to bring only sufficient amount so as not to spend too much.
Stock up on sale items. From time to time, items would be put up on sale. Stock up on these items as they might not last for too long. However, consider the item’s shelf life. There’s no use stocking food that are near expiry, as much as it’s also unreasonable to buy items you don’t need just because they are on sale.
Buy in bulk. Bulk buying is a surefire way to save money on groceries. For example, a 5 kilogram pack of sugar is definitely cheaper than buying sugar packed in half kilo. Make sure though that these items have long shelf lives, and that you are able to consume them soon.
Don’t buy pre- cooked meals. Ready- made products are always more expensive than making them from scratch. In addition, instant food items may contain preservatives that are harmful to our health.
Store food properly. Spoiling of perishable items means wasted money. You need to make sure you have appropriate storage for specific kinds of foods. You may also want to review your meal plan for perishable ingredients. For example, you have one dish that includes carrots, and you know that those carrots are more than enough. Maybe you can insert another dish that also contains carrots so you will be able to cook all these veggies.