How to save on your grocery bill

Shopping for food can be a really expensive task as we are no longer living in the days when a loaf of bread only cost you R2 and the 2c still has monetary value says Dion Vengatass a chef of the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. But he offers some valuable tips on how to make the right shopping decisions that will save you money on your groceries:
1. Make a shopping list and stick to it, no matter what. Be disciplined with yourself and only buy the food items that you really need and evade from spoiling yourself unnecessarily. A small chocolate here or there won’t really hurt you, provided it’s on special.
2. Always look at the price and not at the glamorous packaging that draws you in. If it looks attractive it’s probably expensive. Carry a pen, shopping list and a calculator with you every time. Don’t feel shy to calculate or compare prices as you shop, after all, you are the one paying for them.
3. Look out for sales, promotions and specials. Buy one get one free deals, marked down prices due to close expiration dates and food tokens can all help you save money. However, make sure that when you buy in bulk that you will make use of them and that it doesn’t end in the rubbish bin.
4. Never buy vegetables from convenience stores (supermarkets), they always have inferior products and are way too expensive. Vegetable markets are the answer. The produce is fresher, they have a wider variety to choose from and most importantly, they are cheaper. By purchasing directly from the supplier you cut out the middle man.
5. Buy from wholesale butchers in bulk and freeze the meat to save money. For example, buy a whole lamb and get it broken down by your butcher into the necessary cuts that you often use at home, portion them into appropriate sizes. Package, label and freeze in an organized format so it’s easy to find what you are looking for.
6. Stay away from the ‘temptation aisle’, we all have our weak spots. It might be the sweet, make-up or the wine aisle – whatever your weakness might be, stay away from that aisle.
7. Try to shop for all your dry store goods once a month and your perishable items weekly. You might often find yourself having to discard half of your perishable items after a week of having it in your fridge. Buy fewer perishable goods less often and save, or buy bulk and lose out. Saying that, obviously it depends on how much you consume in a week.
8. Storage of your goods is really important. After you use the saving tips I gave you, you will now need to make your produce last. Use zip lock bags, sealed containers or even better, a vacuum sealer. These tools extend the average shelf life of your goods and keep them fresher for a longer time.
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