Who else is feeling the pinch this January? It is one of the longest months, right? And we have David’s birthday, so it feels extra-long. When I asked the big kids to make a list of things they needed Kiara wrote down basically an entire new uniform. So, grocery budgeting was essential this month. I also think of feeding my family on the budget we have is one of my super powers. We were discussing our budget with a friend and when we mentioned our monthly grocery amount he thought we were being ridiculous.
January is extra long for many of us though and I have mentioned before we are trying to get our eating as a family more planned and focused. These are a few of my tips that have worked for us.
- Make your own tomato sauce. If you use tomatoes as a base for food, make your own sauce! Pop in to Checkers and buy a few of their bags of tomatoes that are 50% off or reduced. It works out to about R10 a bag. Fry some onions, add some garlic, salt, some herbs (if you have), the chopped-up tomatoes and some water and boil for about 4 hours or pop in your slow cooker. I used 2 bags of tomatoes and I made over 2 liters of the most delicious tomato sauce.
- Make your own stock. I kept all the water I used for our Christmas cooking to make the most delicious stock. It is healthier than store bought cubes and cheaper. Keep all the bones you have and throw it all into the slow cooker with whatever veggies you have like carrots, onions, even pumpkin could work. Just avoid the stronger veggies like broccoli and cauliflower. Let it simmer in your slow cooker for the day and you will have the best home-made stock for next to nothing.
- Buy when stuff is done. This was a lesson I learnt from Se7en. Don’t buy apples because you have 2 more left, wait until they are done and then buy more.
- Meal plan. This is always going to be a budget beater. Plan your meals with what you have in your cupboards and freezer right now BEFORE you go shopping. I did a meal plan and started with what I needed for the month, then took off what I thought we had and when I checked what we had I missed 2 nights worth of meat. Planning is best way to beat the budget so spend a little time on it.
- Use left overs for lunch. The holidays mean that everyone’s eating is a little off kilter and often we end up having a late lunch which means there is left overs from dinner which we use for lunch or breakfast the next day.
- Ditch the take away coffee. This is my downfall. I will get dressed just so I can go to Seattle to get a coffee but each time it is R30 which is the price of half a jar of Nescafe (when on special). If you need coffee on the go, use a travel mug and make it at home. David bought me this stunning Batman travel mug, so I use that now.
- Take outs must wait! There are a lot of take out meals, like pizza, that you can make at home for a fraction of the price! If you don’t want to make the dough you can buy ready made dough from most supermarkets that have a bakery.
- Buy RELEVANT specials. You can’t walk into a shop at the moment that isn’t having a special but don’t be tempted to buy stuff just because it is on special. Make sure you NEED it this month before you buy it. I check the chicken and cheese only now. It is the two things we use the most!
What are some of your budget beating ideas for groceries?
If you enjoyed this post please share with your friends! You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat (harassedmom) and don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly newsletter.