LISA Venter, social media marketing manager at Money Dashboard, gives tips on the best ways to save money on your grocery bill
1 Eyes on the discount aisle
In smaller shops the reduced section is often little more than an unappetising pile of macaroni pies and chocolate milk, but in the bigger stores you’ll often find a whole section of a chilled aisle dedicated to “eat today” deals. Significantly reduced prices on pricier items such as good cuts of meat or “straight to oven” meals can help cut the cost of your food bill dramatically. You don’t have to eat these things straight away if you freeze them. Stock up here before you do the rest of your shop so that later on you only put things in your trolley that you need.
2 Waste not, want not
Knowing exactly what different food labels means can prevent you from throwing out what you could be using or ensure you finish up certain items before they can potentially make you ill. “Use by! means don’t eat after this date, but if you freeze on the day or before then you should be OK to defrost and consume this within three months of freezing.
“Best before” is more of a guide whereby the quality of items may decrease after this date but be fine to eat still; this applies for everything except eggs, which should be consumed within this date.
“Display until” or “sell by” are just for the staff in the store so ignore these, but check for bruising first on items like fruit or vegetables.
3 Plan ahead
If you are able to plan a few meals in advance that use the same ingredients you can save yourself time and money but this does require a little more dedication. Slice vegetables and freeze them in small bags, such as peppers and onions, and even add a little garlic so all you have to do is add them straight to a hot pan later on in the month. Doing this with meat and poultry is also wise.
4 Trim fat – and pounds
Using tools like My Fitness Pal, a free calorie counting app, can not only save you money but save your waist line too. Scrap the shopping list that always gets abandoned and use this tool to plug in recipes you’d like to try and plan meals using a handy calendar function.
It will break meals down into calories and offer valuable nutritional information to help keep you and your family healthy. Use the app to act as your shopping list and try to include cheaper items to bulk up stews and salads to help you save money on your grocery bill.
• Lisa Venter is social media marketing manager at Money Dashboard