3 Steps to Mastering Your Grocery Bill

We all think of a million ways our lives would be better, if only ……, but what are you doing to change this? We all dream of winning the lottery and changing our lives for the better but buying a Lotto ticket only helps a very few. Why not start with changing the way you spend your money, instead of focusing on how much is coming in?

Today I am writing about a first step in changing your life. My motto for Kashering your life is “making living life easier”, there are no quick fix promises or solutions, the suggestions I am going to give you are things that have worked and are still working for my family.

Something none of us can avoid, is grocery shopping.  It’s got to be done; everyone needs to eat, bath and clean house. What we all can do, though, is look at how we can do it without over spending and under eating.  So here are some practical steps to get you started.  You can also read previous articles about each topic. You may either need to get up earlier one morning or go to bed slightly later one evening, especially if you work or have ‘help’ in the form of little kids.

Assessment

The first step is going through your cupboards, fridge and freezer. Do a quick, (or not so quick) stock take. You’d be amazed at what you find in there! You need to know what you have and what you should toss out.  The first time I did this I found tins with date stamps 5 years out of date.  Draw up a list and then repack what you are going to keep in such a way that you will easily be able to find the item you want.  This is especially true of freezer space. Once your cupboards are back in order it is time for the next step. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/06/30/i-own-my-kitchen/

I got this cluttered grocery cupboard picture off frugalfindsduringnaptime.com
I got this cluttered grocery cupboard picture off frugalfindsduringnaptime.com

Planning

For me this means meal planning and knowing what I have at home. Now comes a little bit of homework. With your new stock list, draw up a meal plan for as many meals as you can. For this you need paper and pencil as you will be crossing it out multiple times before you are finished. Once you are done you will probably have around 2 weeks’ worth of meals, possibly more, even if it is only dinner meals. You can print a meal planner off this site.  This is the first step in changing your life. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/printables/monthly-menu-planner-and-shopping-list/

This magnetic menu board is great and you can write your grocery list on it.
This magnetic menu board is great and you can write your grocery list on it.

Look at your list and get an idea of how much money you will need for that trip and set a limit in your head.

Down load your coupon apps, if you don’t already have them, there is SNAPnSAVE, EZEE coupons (checkers) and Unilever, learn how they work and use them – they are like free money!  Collect all your plastic bags and other bags that can be used as shopping bags.  A large shopping trip can use 10 bags or more, which would cost is at least R 4.00 – R6.00!

Implementation

You have drawn up your first meal plan and it is now time to look at those plans and work out what it is you will need to buy in terms of fresh ingredients. Write this down on a shopping list. You can print a comprehensive list by going to the link. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/grocery-list/

Choose a day when you are going to go to the shop. Write down everything you need to buy, not only food but toiletries, housecleaning and pet items too. It is preferable to leave the kids at home, but I know it isn’t always possible.  So, if you have to take them with, budget in an extra R 50.00 maximum, so that if they behave they can have a treat. Preselect the treat and get it first so that it can be shown as a reminder when they get a little grumpy. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/07/26/things-i-learned-while-shopping/

Eat a full meal before you go.  This is almost as important as taking that shopping list with you! http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2016/02/17/10-tips-help-save-when-shopping/

Now it is time to go to the shop, make sure you have nothing planned as it can take a while!  You will be looking specifically for items that you have coupons for AND that you need.  Just because it has a coupon or a reduced price, doesn’t mean you have to buy it!http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2016/02/04/conned-by-the-special/

Do not wander up and down the aisles.  Only go the aisles where you will find what you have on your list! As you put items in the trolley, round them up, if something is R11 make it R15, when you get to the figure you had in your head from your planning stage it is time to stop.

Look in your trolley and check that you have no extra items.

My husband and I went shopping on Thursday night; he was so impressed because we came in around 10% less than what I had said we would need for the trip. What impressed him most was the fact that I had still managed to add special treats for school and work lunches.

If you budget right, you are the winner! Why not sign up now and receive your 7 night dinner plan including recipes and shopping list.

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