A Kiwi battler’s guide to feeding the whanau for less
My top 10 tips to save money & time when buying food
#1 Get amongst online grocery shopping
If you still haven’t popped your click and collect cherry, TRUST ME, it’s legit amazeballs. Rule of thumb = if it comes in a packet buy it online. I’m talking porridge, dunny paper, crackers, cleaning products etc. Do it while you’re sitting on the couch judging the contestants on Dancing with the Stars. A 10 minute online grocery shop shouldn’t damage your drink cooler chat too much
#2 Buy your meat from a butcher and fruit & veg from a green grocer
Yep your local, somewhat dodgy looking, community butcher and green grocer. They are often cheaper than supermarkets and stock some great local produce (often less polished without all the added sulphites etc used for shelf life longevity). Swing by once a week on your way home. And if you forget..meh..just buy it online.
#3 Don’t be too cool for inhouse supermarket brands
Your friends may judge you on the brand of wine you bring for dinner, but no one cares about the budget canned corn you ripped open for tacos last night. It’s cheaper and most of the time it’s the same stuff just packed under a different label. It all adds up.
#4 Leave the kids at at home and don’t shop hungry
I don’t need to explain why taking your kids to the supermarket is a sucky idea. And if you’re anything like me, a hangry supermarket shop usually ends in the specialty bread isle buying a cheesy garlic pull apart which is all but gone by the time I get home. Just because you could eat the whole shop right now doesn’t mean you should buy the whole shop.
#5 Don’t let your husband do the shop.
He’ll buy meat and chocolate milk for the car ride home.
#6 Learn to appreciate the basics
Don’t underestimate the power of a good old fashioned mince number. Pasta bakes, roasts and curries also go down a treat and can double as tomorrow’s lunch. They are classics for a reason it’s because they are legit good. Growing up, my parents would crank them every week because a) we were poor b) they were cheap, and c) my legs were hollow.
#7 Add other stuff to make your meat meals go further
Meat is often the most expensive item in your trolley (excluding wine and beersies). Try adding lentils and frozen spinach to mince mixtures and add chickpeas and potatoes to your curries. By doing this you end up with a greater variation of nutrients and don’t have to buy half a beast.
#8 Plan a minimum of 3 dinners a week
Don’t get me wrong I love a good freestyle cooking sesh at the best of times. But, planning a few meals a week will prevent you from just grabbing a whole bunch of random stuff and will save time and stress on those crazy days. Write 3 meals down on a piece of paper and stick it on the fridge. That way, when you do your online shop you can look in the fridge and pantry to see what you do have, then just buy what you don’t have. (Also a great way to prevent the “what’s for dinner?” question)
#9 Add carbs and a salad to your dinner plate
I’m talking good carbs, not a side of white bread and butter. (That is basically the recipe for paper mache glue). It will plug you and your kids up and come back to haunt you. Chop up some spuds or kumara and throw them in the oven or flick the rice cooker on before chopping your veg. Wholegrain carbs will not only help fill the gap, but will provide the kiddies with a bunch of good vitamins and fibre to help the poosies.
#10 Grow your own food, but don’t forget to actually eat it
I’m an idiot and planted all of my tomatoes at the same time which meant I went from no tomatoes to ten thousand all at once and couldn’t eat them all. Unlike me, if you are going to have a produce patch make sure you plan it and actually eat what you grow.
Check out the Tui website about what to plant in Autumn to get you sorted for the winter.
Other helpful articles
So there you have it.
Hopefully you can save a bit of coin this week and have a little more left over to spend on other unnecessary stuff.
Here are some other useful blogs written by much smarter people about how to save money on food.
Click on the links