If you are struggling to put food on the table with constantly rising grocery prices, it's time to do things a little differently. When writing out your shopping list, ask yourself a few questions -
* Do we need it ? Can we go without ? Can we make it ourselves ? Is there a cheaper option ?
Last week I shared 6 ways you can save a small fortune on your grocery bill. This week I have another 6 ways to save and every single one of them I personally use for Darren and I. Our grocery budget is $120 a month for 2 adults and has been for about 18 months.
* Make your own. If you want to stretch your food budget so you can buy more or save money, then start making things from scratch. Jam is dirt cheap to make and even cheaper if you grow your own fruit or know someone who does. Make gravy from scratch instead of buying those little sachets or ready made. Make your own wedges / chips / fries instead of buying a bag. Make foaming hand wash, surface spray, custard, desserts, lasagnes. Cut you own veggies bake your own biscuits, cook your own pasta sauce.
* Bulk buying. Buying larger packets / bags is usually the cheaper option but make sure you know your prices. Also make sure you can use that quantity within a reasonable time frame. Go halves with friends or family to split the cost.
* Buy ingredients. A trolley full of ingredients will cost far less and provide more meals than a trolley full of processed food. My grocery bill is proof of this. Don't listen to the so called experts who report that healthy food is dearer than processed. My pantry, fridge and freezers are full of ingredients all bought for $120 ( or even less ) a month. I had a distant family member tell me recently that it's cheaper to buy a box of biscuit mix to make rather than buying ingredients. I don't think she understood the concept that buying ingredients might cost more upfront but can make many batches of biscuits. The box mix she uses only bakes maybe 12 - 18 biscuits in total.
* Less meat, more vegetables. I'm not going to tell anyone to give up meat. That's a personal choice and should be talked over with your doctor to make sure you get your nutrients elsewhere. Darren and I quite enjoy meat but you won't find a hunk of meat on our plates. On the rare occasion I cook a roast, I get 2 slices of meat and Darren might get 3. We fill up our plates with veggies and no one goes hungry. Chop suey, stews, soups and casseroles are a great way to have meat and stretch it further.
* Cut the treats and give as presents. If you like chocolate, chips and lollies, consider adding them to gifts within your family. They make great Christmas stocking stuffers or gift bag fillers for a birthday present and the recipient will be thrilled to get what they love to eat. This is the only way Darren and I can afford a food treat and not have it impact our grocery budget.
* Grow your own. Have a look at your shopping list. What fresh items do you buy regularly ? Could you start growing some of these ? Lettuce is super cheap, easy and quick to grow. It can be grown all year round in many areas. You can grow it in a pot or in the ground. Even if you start with this you could save $2 - $4 a week.