10 simple tricks to save money on your groceries

One of the biggest expenses on my own budget and I'm sure many others is the grocery bill. It is also the easiest to cut the fat from. Need to save money? Cut the food bill! Modern advertising tells us that the healthiest and best way forward is to buy their product. What a lot of us forget is of course they are going to tell you that, they want to make money by you buying their product. A great example of this is laundry powder, did you know that the 'recommended' amount of powder is about twice as much as you actually need? For the simple reason that the more you use, the more you buy.

1. Do you need to buy it?
My first tip is simple. Think about if you actually need this item or are you only buying it because you feel like you should? Would another cheaper product, or item you already own work just as well?

2. Name brand
Flashy labels and stellar marketing make us think that we need the most expensive brands. The reality is that the no name or supermarket brands are often packed at the exact same factory and are a fraction of the price.

3. Use it up
I challenge you to shop from your home first. It can become a fall back to just go and buy food because its easy. Often we have all the ingredients we need in our home already to make several meals.

4. Cut the ingredients
In the age of master chef a lot of recipes are overly complicated and call for twenty ingredients where five would work just as well. Find recipes which are simple and tasty and there is no need to buy a whole bag of turmeric just for one teaspoon in a recipe.

5. Discount meat
Alot of the bigger supermarkets will mark down meat when it is a day or two away from its use by date. You can get it for 50%-80% off! Either eat it the same day or freeze it and eat the day you defrost it.

6. Reduce the meat
With meat being readily available people eat much more than is healthy. Some people, me included, can eat meat for every meal without often realising it.  Being the most expensive thing on many shopping lists try and substitute meat for vegetables and beans. Add lentals to bolognaise instead of mince, have a vegetable curry instead of beef.

7. Cut the snacks
Alot of people snack because its there. If you don't have these foods in your home then your eating becomes much more mindful and you will opt for healthier options like fruit or just waiting until your main meal. If you have kids who need regular snacks opt for fruit, bulk yoghurt (over individual packets) or bake at the start of the week and have a regular supply of healthy muffins.

8. Shop the specials and stock up
My grocery store releases their specials on a Wednesday. I always check for the half price items (usually over 250 each week) and see how i can plan for the week ahead. Always make sure that the cost of the item is still the cheaper one as sometimes even being halfprice doesn't make it the cheapest option. When something you buy often comes up, buy several to save running out while its full price.

9. Shop online
Shopping online means that you can add items to your cart as you run out during the week. Wait until the specials go live then know exactly how much it will cost before you hit order. There is no temptation of the pretty items on the shelves, no hauling heavy bags to the car and you can compare prices at a glance.

10.  Grow your own
It may seem like alot of effort but for herbs especially it is much cheaper, more satisfying and tastier to grow your own. You have a fresh supply that never wilts at the bottom of the fridge. Just snip and toss it in. Has the added benefits of teaching you and your children where our food comes from and makes your home and garden smell amazing.

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