Its January. We've all overspent at Christmas yet again even though we swore we wouldn't. We have overindulged a little and are looking at making some healthier changes. How can we save money and eat better at the same time? At The Nourished Tribe we are committed to helping you eat the best you can but what if eating well can actually save you money? Are you in?
We all know that eating food you have cooked or prepared at home is healthier for you. It is also considerably cheaper. The key to this is planning. You’ve probably heard the saying ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. Without a weekly food plan, it will be pure luck if you end up with the right foods in the fridge or cupboard. And, without planning your time, you won’t always make the time to enjoy breakfast or make that lunch.
EXERCISE 1: HOW MUCH ARE YOU REALLY (OVER)SPENDING?
Be honest with yourself about your spending and shopping habits. That starts with looking into how much you spend each week on take-out coffee, snacks or meals. Make a note every time you buy something (not the main food shop) to eat out of the house. Do this for a week, then multiply by 4 to give you an approximate monthly total.
Log into your banking app (or go online) and make a note of how much you spent over the last month on food.
Add the two figures together. This gives you your total for how much you are spending on food each month. I suspect you will be shocked. Most people are.
Commit to saving a certain amount each week or month. Decide what that is. Commit to it and write it down. What will you do with that extra money? Where can you economise?
EXERCISE 2: PLAN YOUR PLANNING
Become a planning ninja. The thing about planning is that you need to actually planto plan. It’s easy to get derailed by events, situations, relationships and tasks that insert themselves into our already busy lives.
Choose a time when you know you will be free every week to plan your meals – breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Ideally plan midweek for the following week. Put a reminder alarm on your phone. If this planning job doesn’t get done, you will have no choice but to shop on a day-to-day basis, which is much more expensive.
EXERCISE 3: AUDIT WHAT YOU HAVE
Turn these meal plans into a shopping list.
Also create a master list of what you already have in your freezer, fridge and cupboards.
Cross anything you already have off your shopping list.
EXERCISE 4: SHOP YOUR PLAN
As an experiment, spend at least one week onlyallowing yourself to buy what is on your shopping list. No extras! The planning and shopping discipline may take a little time to get used to, but it is worth persevering.
Off-list shopping and impulse buys are the biggest enemy for anyone wanting to keep to a budget. Do not go to the supermarket hungry. You are more likely to shop off-list when you do.
EXERCISE 5: GET CREATIVE
A huge amount of food is thrown away, because we’re not sure what to do with leftovers. Make a commitment to using yours and prepare to save money. There is a bank of resources online to help you find easy recipe suggestions for pretty much anything you may have lurking in the fridge.
This will feel uncomfortable at first. You will be making some meals you have definitely not tried before! Have a look on the 'Love Food Hate Waste website for some great inspiration.