One of the biggest challenges of being a single mum is living on one income. For this reason, saving money on regular outgoings, such as grocery shopping, can make a massive difference to your household budget.
To get you started we’ve put together a list of simple money-saving tips for when you do your weekly shop.
Further reading: 20 Cheap meal ideas to feed your family.
10 Ludicrously easy ways to save money on groceries
1. Look beyond eye level
Supermarkets are very careful when planning how and where they place their stock. Promotional items are generally at eye level and accompanied by large price tags. Other items, the ones with a lower mark-up are below or above these items and have plain packaging. Make sure you buy what you want to buy, not what they want you to buy.
2. Look at the ‘price per unit’
The introduction of unit prices has made it easier than ever to compare the price of items and help you save money on groceries. Unit prices (price per 100g, 1k, etc.) are the way to go when scanning labels. Packaging can be deceiving, the only way to calculate the bang you get for your buck is by the unit price.
3. Use what you already have
Instead of running the kids to the store for a forgotten item just before dinnertime, choose to cook with existing ingredients. There are lots of sites which make shopping around your pantry super easy. Try Supercook and Myfridgefood. Simply type in your ingredients and recipes will be generated to suit you. Easy.
4. Do it online
Making the swap to online supermarket shopping is a surefire way to save money on your groceries. You are able to monitor your trolley total and make changes to ensure it comes in at (or under) budget. Plus, you can view all the specials all in one space and know you won’t miss any. But best of all, it saves the money and time spent actually driving to and from the supermarket and lugging your groceries around.
Interested in moving to online? Read these articles:
Frugal grocery shopping Australia (cont.)
5. Stick to home brands
Home brands are nearly always cheaper. Never mind that the packing isn’t as pretty. Many home brand items are exactly the same quality as their more luxurious-looking cousins. And once it’s out of the packaging you wouldn’t know the difference. Keep one eye on it though, as when named-brand products are on special they could be the cheaper option.
6. Buy in bulk to save money on groceries
Buying products in bulk is a great way to save money on groceries. But don’t get carried away. For starters, don’t buy massive amounts of perishable items unless you’re absolutely sure you’ll use them. And consider storage space. Stop and think whether having to store $30 of bulk toilet paper is really worth the $2 saving.
7. Check your dockets
If time allows (and sometimes it doesn’t) check your dockets after leaving the supermarket. Specials are sometimes not applied, and cashiers may mix up your regular bananas for the ladyfingers. Even simple mistakes like double scanning can really add up when you’re trying to save money on groceries.
8. Don’t forget your list
If you want to save money on groceries, shopping lists are the way to go. They save time, impulse buying and frustrating trips back to the shops for forgotten items. Streamline your grocery shopping by writing your list in aisle order or by grouping items. The more regimented you are, the less likely you are to dawdle by the deli and end up with those delicious-yet-pricey marinated olives you had no intention of buying.
How to save money at the supermarket (cont.)
9. Think specials and seasons
What’s cheap one week, may not be the next. Make sure your eyes are honing in on the specials labels and don’t be too fussy about brands. There’s always something on offer, whether it’s toilet cleaner, tinned tomatoes or tuna. It’s the same with fresh produce. If it’s in season it should be cheaper.
10. Visit a farmer’s market (at the right time)
If growing your own produce isn’t an option (and let’s be realistic here), you could save money by checking out your local farmers market. Most towns will have a market at least once a month. Time it right, so you get there just as they’re packing-up. Stall-holders don’t like to take produce home so make sure you’re on the receiving end of their heavily reduced items.