How much of your income should you spend on groceries?
There is no universal answer to this, but a safe rule of thumb should be to aim for spending between 5-15% of your income on food. But you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on groceries.
Here are nine easy ways to go grocery shopping on a budget.
1. Make a budget
A budget helps you control your spending.
Before you shop, set up a weekly budget and determine how to allot for the grocery line. Look over your previous month’s expenses and do a little maths.
Let’s say your budget is $400 for the month; it means you have $93 per week (the average month is 4.3 weeks, not 4) to spend. You might underspend or overspend in some weeks, but it is about balancing out and staying at or under your monthly budget.
2. Let what’s in your pantry guide your meal planning
Raid your pantry today and see the kind of meals you can make with the ingredients you already have. You might find a couple of unopened cans of beans on your sleeves or chicken shoved at the back of your freezer.
Go to Pinterest and look for simple recipes featuring some of your ingredients before you go to the grocery store. See what you can make without spending any money. Do a google search for a bunch of your current staples and see what recipes come back.
3. Shop outer aisles and bottom shelves
Grocery stores place pricier brands at an eye level, so you’re more likely to pick them without looking around for better deals. Scan from the top and ignore eye-level items.
The more affordable brands could be lower or higher on the shelves – think of it as a treasure hunt for the best price.
4. Use grocery store apps to compare prices.
Browse stores apps and their websites to see what is going to be on sale and then choose Coles, Woolies or Aldi over the other based on what’s on sale.
5. Know the sales cycle and shop in season
When you want to save money on weekly grocery shopping, it’s super important to live by this rule. A pomegranate in mid-July will cost you an arm and a leg. Therefore, take note only to buy fruits and veggies in season.
Stock up things when they are on sale. You spot them when stores stock them up at a lower than usual price.
6. Find coupons before you shop.
Some people are coupon experts. They know all the stores that double or accept both a store coupon or manufacturer coupon. Others have no idea – and that’s fine; they can still save money on grocery shopping.
Coupons are powerful and beautiful tools you can use even if you are a beginner.
You can clip paper versions, click digital versions in your favorite store, or print paper versions from a store’s website. Coupons will guide you in some of your meal planning too.
7. Buy generic
Don’t spend so much on an item because you love the brand. Sometimes, the brand could be pricey because the company spent a lot of money on branding and advertising.
However, it does not necessarily mean the quality is any higher. It doesn’t also mean you should buy junk. You can still be healthy and thrifty. You have to be purposeful in your grocery shopping.
8. Keep tracking your expenses.
Tracking what you spend is the only way you know you are still within budget and what’s left. It helps you know where you need to cut spending.
The best way to track your expenses is by;
- Always check your account balances
- Check your expense categories
- Use a budgeting app or expense-tracking app
- Identify room for change
As a reminder, the number one step in saving on your weekly groceries is to budget first. So start now and get ready to save, save, and save.
9. Do you buy soft drink?
Get a soda stream machine! It’s super cheap to run, makes soda water (or flavoured varieties and will help you save a ton of money on bottled drinks.
How can you save money on groceries weekly?
Changing your shopping habits and your approach to shopping will help you cut your weekly grocery bill and save on food.
Becoming more frugal doesn’t mean denying yourself the things you love, instead, frugality helps you make well-thought-out decisions. Frugality helps you save money too while eating healthy. It also helps you cut down on waste.
What have you done to spend less money at the grocery store? Let us know in the comments.