Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Reducing the grocery bill - week 3

I'm almost there.  This week I've managed buy all of our groceries for just over $156.  That is a reduction in our weekly grocery bill of approximately $90 - not to mention the money we used to spend at the bakery on the weekends.  If I continue to do this for a year, I will have saved at least $4,680! That could grow to over $25,000 if I invested the $90 saved each week into an online saver account for 5 years!

We are still eating a healthy and tasty variety of meals and yummy snacks.  This kids are (mostly) cleaning their plates each night.  The Thinker (and sometimes The Engineer) often have nutritious leftovers for lunch the next day. We haven't noticeably cut back on the quality of any food or non-food products.

Tips for saving money on groceries

Here are some of the things that have helped me along:
  • The Simple Savings website was where I started. After reading some of the forum members tips and successes, I began to think that it might, in fact, be possible to feed our family of five for $150 each week. There is a small membership fee to gain access to the Savings Vault (tips) and forums, but as I mentioned in Reducing the grocery bill, I saved the membership fee on my first week's shopping. They also have a free newsletter which is worthwhile if you'd like to check it out a bit before buying a membership.

  • I have started baking again. The kids snacks now often consist of fresh fruit and homebaked goodies. I no longer buy biscuits, muesli bars and pre-packaged snacks.

  • On a similar note, I make a lot of our food from scratch. This is something that I had been doing since the kids were born - I didn't like the idea of not knowing what additives, preservatives and who know what else, were going into their little tummies. Recently though, I had begun to slip into the habit of buying jars of pasta sauce or Chicken Tonight type things, purely for the convenience of them. Convenience costs.

  • I have started planning out our week's menus before I go shopping. This means I have a structured list when I hit the shops. It also means that I can get all our groceries in one hit and not make any extra trips to the supermarket where I would be tempted to buy more than I need. An added benefit is I find it easier to keep track of leftovers. For example, if I have planned roast chicken on the weekend, I know I can use the leftover for enchilladas later in the week.

  • I plan at least one vegetarian meal each week, sometimes two.

  • We recently had an Aldi store open nearby, so I get whatever groceries I can there before hitting the other larger supermarket. I still like to get our meat from the local butcher and fruit and veg from the local greengrocer. Even before I began really trying to reduce our grocery bill I estimate that I saved at least $40 for each trolley of groceries I bought at Aldi.

  • Last week I reviewed my grocery receipts to see where the money was really going. The results were a little surprising and I found I was able to save quite a bit more without much effort.
Now that I've almost reached the magical $150, I'm encouraged to try and save even more. I hope you are encouraged as well.

Next week I'll post some links to some great blog resources about saving money on groceries.


Suze said...

Wow!that's a massive difference to your grocery bill! We just decided to do a monthly shop at Aldi, for the things we can get there, and then supplement that with the normal fortnightly Coles shop. Only because last time we shopped at Aldi, we didn't like some of their items so figure a monthly trip for 'generic' stuff is bound to save us some money. I like to make too, but working full time makes it hard..


A Juggling Mum said...

Congrats on the savings :) That is excellent. I need to take another look at my grocery spending and tighten up a bit. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts :)

Rachel xxx
A Juggling Mum

Journeyer said...

Suze: Yes, I bet it's hard to find the time and energy to make a lot of stuff when you're working. Do you do "cooking days" type things? I did Once A Month Cooking once. I was so exhausted at the end of the day I've never tried it again!

Thanks Rachel. I was really surprised when I went through the docket what I could easily do differently. I think it's a worthwhile exercise to do every once in a while.

The Happy Housewife said...

Great job! Reducing the grocery bill was one of the best things we did to free up extra money in our house.
I look forward to reading more.