Shave Down that Grocery Bill!

grocery-bill-receiptNo doubt one of the biggest cost centres in your home is the grocery bill. Just think about it- if you could consistently shave off that bill every time you do the grocery run, the savings over the long term could be substantial.

Beyond doing the obvious straight-up savings strategies like cruising the flyers, couponing and price matching, here are some idea to trim down costs and bump up savings.

Plan Menus

When you don’t have the answer to “what’s for dinner?” generally the reaction falls into a few categories. Maybe you’ve got enough pantry staples to whip something up- or maybe you end up hitting the drive-thru (and depleting your budget allocation unnecessarily). Either way, you are not leveraging the resources that you have available to you at their full capacity.

The way to rein in spending is to plan, plan, plan. In this case, this means setting out menus for the week- and the associated grocery list to match.

Double Duty

The other great budget killer is waste. There is little point to scoring a great deal on an ingredient or staple, only to use a portion and end up with the rest sitting in the cupboards forever, or have to be thrown out.

Try to mitigate this by using items that can serve double duty- like salad dressing, for instance- which can help to make a quick, yummy sauce over chicken or pasta.

Don’t throw out things like unused canned tomatoes or tomato paste- both of which can be frozen and used at a later date.

A great trick with tomato paste is to portion it when you bring it home in an ice cube tray and then freeze in individual portions. The same goes for other staples like broth.

Pick a Day, any Day

Pick a single day to do your groceries and stick to it. Running out to grab a single item here and there not only wastes gas, time and money- it brings you into the arms of the store- and the potential for unnecessary spending.

Think about it. How many times have you gone in to “grab a bag of milk” and come out with just a bag of milk?

Can it

Make sure that your pantry is well-stocked with things like tomatoes, dried spices, canned tuna and salmon and beans of various kinds.

These staples can be thrown into a variety of dishes as a last-minute addition, which will save you much money in the long term.

Rethink the Plate

Who says that dinner has to have meat, potato and vegetable? What about an omelette or a sandwich or even soup?

Think food groups and calories, vs what may have been on your plate when you were a kid.

Look at some of your favourite recipes, and consider what ingredients might be swapped in and out (i.e. could you use fish filets instead of boneless chicken?)