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How I Cut My Grocery Bill in Half
When my partner and I decided it was time for me to be a SAHM / WAHM and focus on my writing, we knew that we were going to have to make some pretty drastic changes. We were going from a two high-income household to one income, and that was a pretty scary thought. There were so many things to consider. We prepared a budget and looked at where we could cut our costs. One of the obvious costs we were reviewing was that of our groceries. We asked ourselves how we could save on groceries every month.
Fixed Costs and Variable Costs
So, we looked at our Fixed Costs and our Variable Costs.
Fixed Costs are expenses that DO NOT change. They are fixed. Think about your mortgage (or rent), power bill and other utilities, insurance etc.
Variable Costs are those that vary. Simply put – these are the costs that you have some control over, like your groceries, eating out, alcohol, entertainment, children’s activities and so on. These are also the costs that can blow up your budget!
We didn’t want to compromise on the children’s activities, so we focused on what we were prepared to give up. Because I was going to be working from home; we looked at our variable costs, what we had the power to change, and zoomed in on those.
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3 Costs We Slashed
- Dog Walking Costs
- Eating Out / Takeout Dinners
1. Dog Walking Costs
This one was easy. We were spending $40 a week on dog walking costs. That easily amounted to $2080 per year! So we decided that because I was going to be working from home – I would walk our dog, Evie. This move was a real bonus, because not only did we save money; it also increased my daily exercise. I’m not a huge fan of exercise!
2. Eating Out / Takeout Dinners
Opting for takeout dinners or eating out is almost inevitable when you have a busy working household. Sometimes, you just need to take a break. But we found that we were having takeaways at least 3 times a week, not forgetting our weekend treats. For a household of four – we were spending a whopping $90 a week or $4680 a year on takeaway dinners. That figure doesn’t even include our weekend dining and entertainment. Crazy!
Ah yes… our groceries. THIS is where we made some serious cuts. Now, just a quick reminder that we live in New Zealand – the actual figures may vary to where you are based of course. So… let’s move on!
We used to do groceries every week, with a budget of $250. That’s $13,000 a year.
Looking at our receipts, we noticed that we were haphazard with our spending.
BONUS: Get your free grocery list printable here.
How to Save Money on Groceries
Here’s how we did it!
1. We stopped buying fresh produce
It’s no secret that supermarkets have margins on top of the prices of products. Instead of buying our fresh produce from them, we made a conscious effort to visit the weekend farmers’ markets. Farmers’ Markets sell products directly from the farm to the table. A single cauliflower at the grocery will set you back $5. At the Market, you get it for half the price; if not less. Let’s look at the simple onion. Onions at the supermarket cost $2.99 per KG. The Market sells it for $0.99 per KG. That’s enormous!
2. We cut back on our meats
Instead of having meat every single night, we decided on cutting back on this. I searched up tons of meatless/vegetarian recipes and there are heaps! Here are some of my favorites. I thought the kids would complain – but really, they didn’t.
3. We got cheaper cuts
By getting cheaper cuts or even just Minced Beef, we were able to save at least $7 per meal. I researched recipes using minced beef – and no, it wasn’t meatloaf – and love how versatile it is. I even make pies with it now! This has really helped us. You can cook any cut and it still comes out soooo tender!
4. We now buy in bulk
Now, I don’t mean buying heaps of everything. No. Supermarkets have sales all the time. Look out for products that are sold in bulk or multi-buy.
5. We buy in season
Buying products that are in season, means that you are paying for something that there is plenty of. When there is a lot of something, prices are lower because retailers need to move the product quickly. If they don’t, they face a potential loss if the product spoils quicker than they can sell it.
6. We buy on sale
As I mentioned before, supermarkets always have sales – whatever the product may be. Your local supermarket is likely to have a mailer which features the products that are on sale. Browse through and see which of the products you may actually want/need/use. You’ll be surprised how much you can save from that.
7. We buy generic
More often than not, generic brands perform as well as name branded ones. There really isn’t any reason that you should spend more!
8. We buy online
This tactic became a big help for us. Unlike when browsing through the supermarket aisles; when shopping online, I know my budget and CAN EASILY stick to it. It’s easier to control what goes into your shopping cart. You can make a price comparison straightway. You are able to make use of the online specials – the shop I did last week offered products at 50% off if I purchased before midnight! The best part? It saves me time too.
Total Savings: $13,260 per year
SO – In the past, we had a budget of $250 per week for grocery shopping. Today, my grocery bill sits comfortably between $120-130 per week. That is a total average of $6500 per year.
- Grocery – $100 per week
- Farmers’ Market – $30 per week
- $6500 SAVED per year
- Dog Walking – $40 per week
- Takeaway Dinners/Eating Out – $90 per week, a family of 4
- $6760 SAVED per year
That is a total of $13,260 per year!!
And guess what? It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be ♥
Need some inspiration for cheap dinners to go with spending less on your groceries? Check out 20 Cheap Dinner Ideas for When You are Skint on Money, Food, or Time.