Meal Plan and Shop with a List
On Saturdays, I make a meal plan for the whole week and a shopping list based on this list. I always do my shop based on this list and I almost always pay less than €100 for my week’s groceries. I no longer get tempted into buying “sale” items unless it is something I can freeze or something that I can immediately substitute on my meal plan and shopping list. Almost always, if I don’t have a special place for it on my meal plan, it goes uneaten. And even though I may have saved €1.49 on a bag of avocados, it is €1.49 that goes wasted when no one eats it.
Shop at Lidl and Aldi.
It is no joke. Stuff really is loads cheaper at Lidl and Aldi compared to Supervalu and Tesco for most things. For all my staples, I go to Lidl and/or Aldi first to buy things. Then, if there is a specialty item that they don’t carry, I will go to Supervalu or Tesco to buy those items. If I go to Supervalu or Tesco first, I also think that if I buy something there, the price is comparable and it will save me a second trip. But this ALWAYS leads me to spend more overall on my budget. For example, a bag of new potatoes at Lidl is 1Euro. This feeds my whole family for one meal plus leftovers. The exact same bag at Tesco is €3. A pre-made pastry crust is €1.29 at Aldi and €3.99 at Tesco.
Buy in Season and on Sale
This seems obvious, but it really makes a huge difference. I usually buy one or two bags of small apples to pack for my kids lunches. If I check the sales at Lidl and Aldi, they often sell a fruit and a veg each week for a super value at 49cents or less. Their regular price is €1.99. That’s a 75% savings! So, you could spend €1 on two bags or €4.
Avoids Processed/Pre-made foods
Again, obviously, the premade stuff is much more expensive. You pay for the convenience, but I like knowing the ingredients that go into my meals and what I am feeding the family. So, with a little bit of planning, you can avoid a lot of those additives and get huge savings by avoiding those foods.
Do Sign up For Club Memberships
Supervalu, Tesco, and Dunnes all have Club Memberships which basically means they will give you a card to scan when you make purchases and then send you vouchers (coupons) for a percentage of the amounts you spend. You can also collect stamps to buy special items at discount which can also be a very good discount (Pyrex, cast iron pots, etc.).
Following my shopping list really saves me the most money. Often the more expensive stores lure you in with coupons or vouchers (like spend €50 for €5 off). But sometimes, it is really hard to spend that amount and I will find myself searching and spending money on things I don’t really need to get the discount.