You’re at the local supermarket often enough that the cashiers know your name, but your fridge and kitchen cupboards are often bare. Why? Because hungry teenagers are apt to eat you out of house and home. As a parent, you’re happy to see them eat with such healthy appetites—it means they’re giving their growing bodies the fuel they need. But as the person running the household finances, their hollow legs are hard to budget for. If you’re wondering how you can feed your kids and balance your chequebook, scroll down. Here are four quick tips to keep your grocery bills low.
1. Make a detailed budget
An accurate financial plan that details your monthly comings and goings will help you recognize how much you can afford to spend at the grocery store. Tally your fixed expenses, like rent and insurance, auto, and personal loan payments. Compare this total to your income. The remaining sum will be what you have to spend on all other purchases, including groceries. Some experts suggest you should be spending anywhere between 10 and 20 percent of your gross annual income on groceries.
2. Use a list and meal plan
When you enter a grocery store without a detailed plan of attack, you’re likely to overspend. You’ll go up and down every aisle to see if you need anything from their shelves, and you’ll probably pick up a few items you don’t need. These unnecessary items can add up! Spend some time making a meal plan for the week, so you know exactly what you need to get at the grocery store. Don’t stray from this list.
3. Shop strategically
There’s a way to shop smart at the supermarket. When you’re planning on making a stew, don’t go for the choicest cut of meat; an inexpensive skirt steak will suffice. Try to buy produce when it’s in season. In season crops are plentiful, so their prices are lower. When out of season, you can find cheaper alternatives by using canned or frozen veggies and fruit.
4. Plan for mistakes
It’s hard to ignore store-wide sales that promise tons of savings. You can find a lot of things at discounted prices when groceries stores host these kinds of sales, but it does encourage you to buy things you wouldn’t normally put into your cart. If you end up going over budget, your enthusiasm behind the buggy could leave you unprepared for other financial responsibilities. When you find yourself short on these necessities, don’t worry—go online to check in with a lender like GoDay. They offer quick personal loans that work like payday loans but with none of the typical complexities that can delay or confuse the borrowing experience. Speedy and convenient, they’re perfect for minor cash flow problems.
5. Reduce food waste
Canadians waste $14.6 billion of food every year, accounting for 47 percent of the country’s total food waste. We’ve all bought something with the intention of using it, only to find it growing something fuzzy at the back of the fridge. If you end up throwing out a lot of food each week, think about how you can cut down on the food your family wastes. Sticking to the meal plan suggested above can help. Finding inventive ways to use leftovers is another way you can limit your food waste. Resisting deals on things you don’t need is another.
Feeding one hungry teenager is expensive. Keeping multiple teenagers full and healthy is an impressive test for any household budget. If you’re feeling the strain of their voracious appetites, use these tips to help keep your grocery bills low.