Grocery shopping… a necessary evil but one that I secretly enjoy. I love finding good deals and new launches on the shelves, the only part that I don’t like is seeing the costs add up once I get to the till.
I can definitely go over the top when it comes to my weekly shop, loading the cart with all sorts of treats and luxuries and once in a while I definitely do – Dan and I work hard for our money and so there’s no guilt in enjoying it, even if it is with grocery shopping treats.
More often than not though I stick to our budget and really try to get as much bang for my buck as I can. We budget on R1800 per week for our groceries – this includes all of our food (breakfast, lunch and dinner for all 4 of us), dog food, cleaning products and toiletries. Some weeks I’m under budget and some weeks I’m over budget, but at the end of the month it all balances out. Keep in mind that we no longer need to buy nappies or formula which is a massive saving.
So many of you have sent me messages over the last few months asking how I grocery shop, how I stick to my budget and if I have any advice. I’m so glad that I’m finally getting around to sharing how I go about my weekly shop and really hope that you find some of my tips and tricks helpful.
Let’s dive in!
Plan, plan, plan
Honestly this is the most important step when it comes to my weekly grocery shop and there are a few aspects to it
– Have a budget and make sure it’s realistic. This might take you a few weeks to get a handle on while you figure out what a realistic and sustainable grocery shopping bill is for your family. Also keep in mind that this figure is one that might need to be readjusted every now and then; food prices rise (and rise, and rise, and rise) and you may need to start buying additional items (eg new baby in the house or a new pet).
– Go through your fridge and grocery cupboard and see what you have in there, this could include things like tinned food, pasta sauces, frozen meat, veggies, etc.
– Now that you know what you already have, write down your weekly meal plan and incorporate as many of these things as possible. Each thing you have in your cupboard/fridge that you use is one less thing that you need to spend money on. I plan all of our dinners and then a few lunches as a few of our dinners give us left overs for lunch. Breakfasts are pretty standard in our home as are snacks so I buy the same things for those meals every week.
– With your meal plans done, you can now write a list of what you need. I like to do this in my kitchen so that I can check the fridge and freezer as I go along.
– Now plan where to shop. I know a lot of people like to drive around to many different shops but to be honest, I just find it easier to stick to my two chosen shops which are next to one another. So what I tend to do in this part of the planning process is to check what specials the two shops are currently running via their apps. I check both the Checkers60 app and the Woolies app, often the specials at Woolies beat the prices at Checkers, especially cleaning stuff so it’s well worth checking these and then making notes on your list.
– The third app I use is Snap n Save. It’s been going for a good while now and while it’s a bit of admin to use, when you cash out and get some extra moola into your bank account, it’s so worth it. Snap n save loads various deals to it’s app. You then book the deals that you’re going to use and you’ll get a percentage of that back into your virtual wallet. The free app explains everything in details and it’s pretty user friendly plus it has specials at so many different stores, I’m confident that you’ll find it useful. The only thing you need to watch out for is that you don’t book offers that you wouldn’t normally purchase, then you’re just spending additional money instead of saving which kind of defeats the point.
– The last “planning” thing that I do is make sure there are bags in my boot, every time I have to spend extra money on bags because I forgot mine at home again, I could kick myself. Oh and don’t forget your loyalty cards!
This is probably the easiest part if you’ve done your planning. Grab yourself a takeaway coffee (it makes grocery shopping so much more fun), whip out your list and cruise the aisles ticking off things as you go along.
If you see a good deal (I always look out for long life milk, dishwasher tablets and washing powder ones), do the math and see if it’s really worth it for you. One of the biggest lessons I had to learn (and am still learning) is that you don’t have to take advantage of every special that there is, it’s better to be a mindful shopper than a frivolous one.
The planning process may seem daunting but once you get into the swing of things it makes life so much easier and goes really quickly… plus it helps out your budget in the long run, hooray!
I really hope that these tips help you, even if it’s just a little bit, and please let me know in the comments if you have any tips that you’ve found super helpful!