12 Super Simple Ways to Spend Less on Groceries
1. Make a plan. This is almost too obvious to be on here, but it's a step than many of us forget to do week to week, and end up with doubles and triples of the regular items we buy. Look in your fridge, freezer and pantry, and plan your weekly meals around what you already have first. Have you got a few tins of tomatoes? Why not make a veggie pasta? Got some eggs left from last week? Make a frittata with your leftover veggies. There's a lot we can do with pantry staples, sometimes we just have to think outside the box.
2. Write a list, and stick to it. Going into a supermarket can be dangerous without a list. I know if I don't have a list I will get overwhelmed and only get half of the things I need (and a few I don't), and then have to go back again, which is a waste of time. Also, by sticking to our lists we'll get the stuff we need with out wasting money on unnecessary extras.
3. Use legumes as your protein source for 2-3 meals per week. Meat is generally the most expensive part of the meal, so try subbing it for lentils, beans or tofu a few nights per week to save extra on your grocery bill. Psst. legumes are also super nutritious.
4. Make your own granola. Granola is delicious yes, but it's expensive and the packets are oh so small! Homemade granola, however, is a lot cheaper than the store bought variety + I think it's way nicer as well. Start with a base of rolled oats, add shredded coconut, the nuts and seeds of your choice, and mix together with some olive oil and honey or maple, spread evenly on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, at around 180°C. Mix in dried fruit after cooking if that's your jam, and voila!
5. Bake your own bread. I love sourdough! Actually, I'm sure most people do. But at $7 a loaf it can get expensive for a bread-loving household. So, I've started making my own, and really it's a whole lot easier than you would imagine. Get a starter off a friend, or bakery, or make your own and get baking. It's also super fun and really satisfying, anyone who's made sourdough can attest to this!
6. Make your own dressings and sauces. Pre-made dressings and sauces are usually expensive and filled with sugar and salt, so why not make your own?! A nice salad dressing can be as easy as olive oil and balsamic, a stir-fry sauce could be soy and fresh ginger, and a pasta sauce could be tinned (or fresh if they are in season) tomatoes and dried herbs - all of these options are cheaper (and tastier!) than the pre-made varieties.
7. Buy a big bag of rolled oats instead of single flavoured oat sachets. Not only are rolled oats a lot cheaper than the flavoured quick oat sachets, they are also less processed and have a lower GI (keep you fuller for longer). And believe it or not, rolled oats are also super quick to cook (a couple of minutes in the microwave or around 5 on the stove, or try overnight oats!), and you can add your own toppings so you're in charge of what goes into your breakfast.
8. Buy bulk rice and cook it, instead of microwave packs. There is nothing wrong with rice sachets if you've run out of time. They're a quick and nutritious option, and a much better choice than many other convenience foods. They are, however, infinitely more expensive than cooking your own rice (stove top, rice cooker etc.), and if you are wanting to cut down your grocery bill this might be an area to look in to.
9. Let the seasons dictate your fruit and veggie selection. Eating seasonally is usually a whole lot cheaper than buying the same veggies all year round. Shop at a farmer's market and buy what's cheap, this way you'll be getting the fresh in-season produce, and saving a few dollars along the way.
10. Take your leftovers for lunch the next day. When you're dishing up your dinner, serve up an extra serve or two (depending on the quantity you've made) into a tupperware container, for tomorrow's lunch. This means you'll save money on lunch the next day, and also by packing it when you're dishing out dinner you're less likely to eat seconds. Now don't get me wrong, if you're truly hungry there is nothing wrong with having something more to eat, but often we don't stop and wait to see if we are still actually hungry before eating more, and consequently end up eating too much and feeling uncomfortable. It takes around 20 minutes for our brain to register that the stomach is full, so having the rest of the meal packed up and harder to access can be beneficial in limiting overeating.
11. Use the whole thing. Waste not, want not, and use the whole vegetable!
- Broccoli and cauliflower stems are delicious and crunchy, either cooked or raw.
- Celery leaves can add rich flavour to pasta sauces, soups and broths.
- Beetroot greens can be used exactly the same as spinach - sauteed, in a quiche or frittata, or added to a stir-fry.
12. Switch up your snacks. I get it, sometimes you need something to put in your handbag just in case you get hangry, but pre-packaged snacks are expensive! Swap your nut bars and veggie chip packs to fruit, cut up veggies, a small handful of nuts, or a piece of toast! Here is a list of nutritious snacks I love, that are all cheaper than your pre-packaged favourites.
What are some of the ways that you use to spend less on your groceries? Comment below.
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