Waste not want not has always been my personal motto. Nothing could be more true when it comes to food. A staggering 88 million tones of food are wasted every year in the EU, and the associated costs are estimated to be 143 billion Euros. That is lot of food and a vast sum of money. The waste comes from homes as well as businesses such as supermarkets. No wonder food is so expensive.
I am sure that businesses are thinking about how they can cut down on food waste, but more importantly, how can we cut down on our food and grocery bills.
Cut Down on Waste
The first thing you want to do is to look at if you can cut down on waste in your own home. It could be a much better idea to buy just what you need. Fresh food goes off quickly, so unless you are planning on eating it right away, it might be a good idea to buy frozen or tinned food instead. Think about what you can do with any leftovers that you have and how you can use the food. Basically, don't throw anything away unless there is something wrong with the food. The left overs from Sundays' beef casserole may taste great over a baked potato.
Look Out for Discounts in Supermarkets
Supermarkets, not only in Spain, but in other parts of the world as well, like to hang on to their customers. Supermarket loyalty does not really pay, and if you are a bit disloyal to your supermarket, you are much more likely to hand up with vouchers. Think about how you are doing your shopping. If you have a 10% discount voucher for the meat counter, you may want to spend it on a stock up shop.
At the moment, this is what I do. I take my 10% discount voucher and buy all of the meat that I need for the month. For some reason, I seem to get the same voucher every month, so I go to the same supermarket. The supermarket that I go to have lots of offers anyway, and combined with these offers, I save a lot of money on meat products. Last month, all my meat products only cost me 30 and lasted all month with a bit of savvy shopping.
Who says that you cannot plan your meals ahead? Some people plan their meals for the entire month. I know roughly what my family likes to eat, so I plan my meals a week ahead. When I go to the supermarket once a week, I only buy what I need and I am rather strict with myself. I don't have to worry about buying meat products as I already have those, so I focus on other products such as vegetables, fish and what else I need for the household. Buying frozen fish might be a good option instead of buying fresh fish. Remember if you get a discount voucher for frozen food products, it will include all frozen food items.
Stick to the Shopping List
I know that it can be tempting to stray outside the shopping list, but you are not doing yourself any favours. One you have decided what you need in the way of food and other items for the home, just buy what you need. A good idea to make this is easier, is to check out what special offers and discounts supermarket have available. These days, thanks to the Internet, you can easily do so online. It only takes a few minutes and you end up with a list for each store. Together with your meal planning, this can save you a lot of money.
Buy Generic Products
Unless you have some fantastic discount vouchers, you will find that it is often cheaper to buy generic products. Most generic products are just as good as many brands and you can save a lot of money. As supermarkets control the cost of their generic products much more efficiently, you may find that you will even pick up some discount here as well. Last month, I paid half price for a supermarket's own generic washing powder when I received a special discount voucher. I had used the product before, and knew it was great. With my discount voucher, I ended up paying €2 for a detergent which promised to do 40 washes.
Saving money on your grocery shopping and food bill is not hard, but you need to apply yourself to it. Don't take it for granted that you are going to save money. If you are serious about making cost cuttings on your food bills, you really do need to get your grey cells going. One more thing, don't give into the temptation of impulse buys.
Don't forget to constantly keep an eye on your outgoings. Thousands of ex-pats around lose a lot of money by transferring currency in the wrong way, or not getting the best deal an ex-pat health insurance. Being an ex-pat in any part of the world is a real mine field, and many assume that ex-pats are all millionaires. Is that true? No, I don't think so.