When you take a look through your transaction history, chances are the biggest expense won’t be your electricity bill or even your obsession with designer sneakers… it’s probably feeding yourself.
Setting a budget for food is a hard thing to do – it’s not like you can go without for a week and there’s no Dry July for eating! With that being said, you can learn to be a bit savvier when it comes to your dietary habits.
Here are our helpful tips to eat well without breaking the bank:
1. The Preparation Part
- ‘Meal prep’ is really trending at the moment and while the brightly coloured notepads and mason jars make for a great Instagram snap, the best part of meal prepping lies in the savings.
If you plan out your week, you can clearly see what ingredients you need and decide what you already have and what’s wasted. If you have a recipe that calls for half a capsicum, you can find another recipe that uses the rest of it.
- Junk mail gets a bad rap but when you need to save some dollars, these catalogues can be your lifesaver. Grab your shopping list and start jotting down where the specials are. If you feel like cruising around to a few supermarkets to chase those bargains, go for it!
Otherwise, run a tally and head to whichever supermarket has the most specials for what you need.
- Look at your calendar of social events before you stock up on fresh fruit and veg. If you’re not going to be around to eat them, then there is no point buying them.
2. The Shopping Stint
- When you go shopping for “just a few things” don’t grab a trolley or a basket, carry them. You can only buy what you can carry.
- Never go shopping hungry. Don’t let your stomach rule your head!
- One of the only times you will rewarded for online shopping is by grocery shopping online. That way, you’re more likely to stick to your list and if the shopping basket gets over your budget, you can delete or swap ingredients.
Much better than getting to the checkout and realising you really can’t afford the goodies you’ve added to your trolley.
- Most supermarkets will have further discounts at the end of the day. If you can hold out and get to the shops just before closing, keep an ear out over the loudspeaker for any extra discounts which are being promoted.
3. The Eating Experience
- Eat at home. Instead of spending $10 per glass of wine take a detour through the bottle-o and grab a whole bottle for $20. Eating out adds up so try and save it for special occasions.
- When you do eat out, make eating out the main social event. Rather than the age old tradition of dinner and movie, skip the movie and just have dinner. It will mean you get to really enjoy dinner and it will feel like a special treat rather than a means to an end.
- Mix up your meals. Meat can be expensive so have a few meals where you try a vegetarian option or be willing to change up your recipes when certain foods are in season.
- If you live with others, try and have communal meals when you can. It’s going to be cheaper than cooking two or three separate meals and in the long run you’ll use fewer ingredients. Plus it’s a nice thing to do - why not make it a social event?
Prepare yourself to eat well for less with our Savings Calculator here.