4 Best Ways to Save Money for Food in 2018
Let’s face it, we all want to eat healthy and eat right. But is it cheap to do this? Maybe not as cheap as we would have liked it to be. Buying good quality food for your family could cost some money. However, when you save money in earlier shopping, you use it to buy higher quality foods and more variety to cater for needs of every member of the family in your next food shopping. Gladly, there are ways to cut down the extra expenses without compromising the quantity and quality of the food. And here’s how.
1. Take stock of what you have at home
Like I mentioned in a previous post on simple ways to plan your meals, I take inventory of what I have in stock at home. But the best way I decide what to add to my shopping list depends to a large extent on what is not already in my or food store. It is the surest way to avoid food waste and to make sure I use up all ingredients available.
Double-check the items in the fridge, freezer and food containers before writing a shopping list. Then go through all the items on your shopping list again. Cross off what you already have and add what you need to buy to your list.
Taking stock of what you have at home is an easy and important exercise. It saves you time and money-you won’t mistakenly buy what you already have stocked at home.
2. Make a shopping list
Once you have your menu created, you should make grocery shopping list to go with it. It will organize your shopping. A shopping list helps me to save time at the market and ensures I don’t forget anything I need to buy. A shopping list also forces you to make a budget of how much you should spend on your shopping. That way you have an estimate of what your food costs and how much you spend on food at a given time. This is a good habit of managing personal finances.
Again, when you make a list, it helps you to avoid impulse buying and unnecessary spending. Everything in the market or the shop looks appealing and you will most likely convince yourself and find reasons for spending money.
Whether you shop in an open market or in a supermarket, you most likely know where each item on your shopping list can be found. Don’t wander around or act like you are on a fact-finding mission in the market. Stay focused on your list and where to find your food items.
While shopping, stick to your list and budget. Your list contains items from your meal plan. Anything not on your shopping list means you don’t need it, thus, you shouldn’t buy it.
Usually, it takes me thirty to forty-five minutes to shop in a local market. Too little shopping time, you do “panic buying” – shopping under undue pressure with no time for bargains. You also tend to forget to buy some items on your list or you mistakenly buy the wrong items. Too much shopping time, you indulge in impulse buying- spending money you did not plan to spend. Believe me, both scenarios are hard to manage. So, give enough time for you to find and buy the items on your shopping list.
3. Plan your meals with the season
Ingredients that are in season are usually fresher and cheaper. They are healthier too. Different fruits and vegetables in a particular season create variety in your diet. There will be several substitutes for a particular ingredient for a given recipe.
In Nigeria for example, you can substitute spinach for waterleaf, ugwu leaf, hibiscus leaf etc. to make vegetable soup in the rainy season. These leaves are all in abundance. This way you would have more options and diversified your menu.
4. Buy in Bulk
You can also buy some foods in bulk, especially grains, tubers and other non-perishable foods. For perishable foods that are in season, for instance, tomatoes, you can buy many baskets and dry them for use when tomatoes are out of season and very expensive. This is a very common practice in northern Nigeria when where tomatoes and chilies are very cheap when in season. With a steady electricity supply in your home, you can buy tomatoes in excess, grind into a thick paste and store in a deep freezer for months ahead. Same applies to onions and red peppers. This is another way to preserve perishable vegetables for later when they are not in season and very expensive.
These 4 best ways will make you save money to buy the food you need and cook delicious, healthy meals without breaking the bank in 2018.
Let me know your own best tips for saving money for food in 2018. Drop your tips in the comment section.