When it comes to reducing our personal debts, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there that relates to the practicalities of being in debt in the twenty-first century! While it may be easy for others to say, reduce your spending, when it comes to implementing such a concept into our everyday lives, it isn’t always that simple.
With many of us already living on the breadline as it is, there is often the response of where the heck can we even begin to start making reductions on our already strained finances? Though I don’t claim to have the answers, having struggled through many a time myself and still working through my own credit card balances, I have found a couple of tips that seem to help me with one of the most significant bills we all have to face – that of the inevitable food bill!
Rethink the Way You Attempt Your Food Shopping
I start with this first as we all need to eat to survive. Therefore, we must spend money on food. However, because I have become acutely aware of my mounting credit card bills over the past year, I have also begun to rethink where most of my money is spent – and funnily enough, food is almost top of the list!
I believe that when you struggle with debt, you take the view that because you can’t go out and about and entertain as often as others can, you can at least treat yourself to some decent food, a bottle of wine or several deserts instead. How many times do you hear yourself saying the same thing, week in week out? Yet, if you step back and look at your shopping bill, is it becoming slightly unmanageable even by your standards?
Use Up the Food You Already Have Before Buying More
Do you check all your cupboards, fridge and freezer before doing your main food shop? Many of us make that mistake of heading out to the stores and not remembering what we already have in the cupboards at home, therefore buying it once again to be on the safe side! I realized I was doing this exact same thing when I checked in my storage cupboards one day and found I had enough washing up liquid to get me through the year ahead! A great solution is to make a list of all items you already have each time before you head out or shop online, so you don’t repeat buy, thus saving more money on each shop.
Shop by Using a Shopping List and a Meal Planner Combined
You can draw up your very own weekly/monthly meal planner and work from this when writing up your shopping list. Not only does it save you time, but it can also save you a lot more money as it means you just buy what is on the list – therefore what is needed!
I used to wander into a shop from work, hungry and tired and end up with anything but a decent meal for each day of the week in my trolley. When I began assessing how many times I had to hit the shops to top up my cupboards, alongside the increasing price of doing so, I soon changed the way I approached my shopping!
Writing up a list may initially seem a tedious process, but you can use it to your advantage by ensuring you get the correct type of meals and not buy whatever takes your mood at the time. More so, if you have a larger family to feed, a meal planner can take the pressure off the actual shop with everyone knowing exactly what needs to be placed in the trolley.
Reassess Your Choice of Brands
Perhaps more surprising is the price we pay for our love of brands. I admit that I was once a brand snob, refusing even to taste any other brand of coffee than my tried and trusted name which I had consumed by the bucket load for many years. Yet, for the sake of trying something different and challenging our taste buds, we can be paying through the nose for individual everyday items of food that could be bought for almost half of the price and still taste as good.
This isn’t about dulling our taste buds, it is merely about realizing that these days, store brands are just as good as the brand name products, with many of them often giving the bigger guys a good run for their money. Don’t be afraid to try a cheaper brand out and never feel ashamed when you place a lesser brand name in your trolley. With the possibility to shave off around 50% of your shopping bill with lesser-known brand names, you will be the one having the last laugh here!