8 ways to cut your grocery spend in half

Lyn Webster has restricted her family grocery budget to just $100 a week, hoping to save enough in a year to invest in a rental property.

After nearly 30 years of shopping, I have discovered that I don't have to give away all my money to the supermarket. Here are some ways of getting around the supermarket and walking out with some cash left in your pocket.

First, remember that the supermarket is not your enemy: it's a convenient, one-stop source of nearly all household needs. However, approach with caution. Going supermarket shopping without thinking is a sure-fire recipe for blowing the grocery budget. Have you ever gone in for just two things and ended up spending $100?

Before instituting my $100-a-week grocery budget, there was no planning, no list, unlimited funds and easy eftpos access to pay for it all. At the end of the spree, I didn't know what I had bought, what I was going to do with it all, how long it would last and, most importantly, how much I had spent. If this sounds like you, don't worry, it's easy to change.

Remember you are up against some evil marketing while grocery shopping. Using catchy tunes, clever layouts and pretty packaging, supermarkets lure you into spending without thinking. Well, I don't do that anymore and I am reaping the rewards. You can, too.

Here are some easy hints:
  1. Work out how much you are currently spending - and be honest. Then set a sensible limit (mine is $100 a week).
  2. Stay out of the supermarket when you can. Investigate the cheaper alternatives - bulk-buy outlets, butchers, fruit and vege shops and stands for seasonal produce. Veges can be grown.
  3. If you have to go to the supermarket, write a list of exactly what you need and stick to it. If your children/partner pressure you into overspending - and kids are experts at getting around their parents - leave them at home.
  4. Take cash and no plastic. If you only have $100 in your pocket, you can't overspend.
  5. Know what things are worth and look for the cheapest acceptable alternative.
  6. Look on the lower shelves. The tempting, expensive, luxury items are at eye-level.
  7. Forget most specials. There are usually generic items always at lower prices than those advertised.
  8. Take your time to think before you shop - you'll be amazed at how much money you can save.
Written by Lyn Webster. First appeared on Stuff.co.nz.