Hang on to your cash
GROCERY shopping is a necessary evil. But there are so many ways to cut the fat. Frugal living means you have more money in your pocket at the end of the week.
Here are some grocery shopping tips to keep money in your wallet.
Always shop with a list
Plan your weekly/fortnightly/monthly meals including school lunches and work lunches - and work it all out. An Excel spreadsheet or similar is perfect to set out all the ingredients you need. By not using a list you risk missing an important component of the food shop, and means more trips back where you can be tempted to buy more. Keep a list on the fridge or somewhere you will see it and add to it as required. Train your family to do the same. If it isn't on the list, don't buy it.
Don't shop when you're hungry
When you're hungry, you want to buy all kinds of junk. You'll end up spending a lot more. Eat a good meal first, and you'll be more likely to stick to your list. Plus always take your own bottle of water and some for the kids, too, if you take them. Bottled water is an expensive drink - more expensive than milk these days.
Have a budget
Know how much you can spend on groceries and stick to that limit. Having a book or using the internet so you know the prices of grocery items is time consuming - but can help you stick to that budget. Do a rough running total as you shop so you know how much you have spent, and how much you have to go. If you are notoriously bad at over-spending at the supermarket, get your cash out first and leave your card at home. Take a calculator - that way there is no possible way you can go over budget. Harsh, but it works.
Keep a pantry staples list
Staples mean you always have the cooking basics in your cupboard - and replace them as needed. Items like flour, sugar and milk. Know what you usually stock in your pantry and pick up extra if they are on sale. It's also a great idea to keep a few easy meals on hand in the pantry - like pasta and pasta sauce for those nights you are tempted by take out.
Jody Allen is the founder of Stay At Home Mum: stayathomemum.com.au