There are so many expenses at this time of year it can be hard to see a way out of the bills.
If you overspent during Christmas and New Year, chances are you’re still trying to play catch up and get your budget on track. The good news is, it is possible to get your budget back on track without resorting to drastic lifestyle changes. Here are my tips to be more frugal and with these few clever changes the family won’t even notice the difference.
We can waste a lot of money on food if we’re not careful. Think about the amount of times you’ve thrown out limp veggies or found out-of-date ingredients in your pantry or fridge. That’s money wasted right there.
Another way we waste money is in the supermarket. If you fall for their flashy signs and start putting things you don’t need in the trolley, chances are you’ll spend more than you planned and it’s often on food that doesn’t fit into your healthy lifestyle plan.
There’s an old saying – ‘take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.’ Saving a few dollars here and there soon adds up at the end of the month.
So, here’s some tips to save you money on food and help get your budget on track:
- Get it in order. Give your pantry a quick tidy up, throw out any foods that are out of date and put everything in some sort of logical order. For example, put all the flours and things for baking on one shelf, put cans and sauces on another shelf and so on. Then do the same with the fridge and freezer.
- Know what you have. It might seem simple but do you really know what’s in your pantry, fridge and freezer right now? Chances are you don’t. Forgetting about staples, write a list of what you have on hand. I keep a list pinned to my freezer of what’s in each drawer so I don’t double up when I’m shopping and I know what meals I have on hand for nights when I don’t feel like cooking.
- Work out a menu. I bet if you look at your list of ingredients you could make a few meals using what you have or perhaps only need to buy one or two other ingredients. So straight away you’re saving money by making meals using ingredients you already have on hand. Also check your junk mail to see what’s on special this week before you write your menu. Here’s some tips for budget meals.
- Write your shopping list. I’m sure you’ve heard this before – write a list and only buy what’s on that list. Don’t be tempted to add other things to the trolley when you’re in the supermarket. If your budget is really tight make sure you work out which foods are a priority and which foods you can leave off the list. For example, do you really need juice when you could drink water, could you buy a cheaper brand of some products?
- Don’t throw it out. Freeze any leftover portions of meals; make sure you write the recipe name and date frozen on the lid. Check your fruit regularly and if it starts to get overripe, freeze it. Frozen bananas are great for my Banana Cake in book 1. Have a look at your veggies and add any that have wilted to a casserole or use them to make a delicious veggie soup.
Follow these few simple steps and I’m sure you’ll have your budget on track in no time. You might need to forego the more expensive cuts of meat for a few weeks but it will be worth it when your see your next bank statement.