As we go into the new financial year, you might want be looking for a way to spring-clean your finances.
And when it comes to saving money, a lot of little things add up, especially when it comes from regular expenses like food and grocery bills.
Speaking exclusively to Yahoo Finance, Aldi’s shopping expert Nicole Higgins shared her top tips for saving money on your weekly grocery shop:
1. Meal Prep
While this one might make you pull a face, meal prepping is “unquestionably” a way to save both money and time, Higgins said.
“Freeze single-sized portions for on the go breakfasts and quick lunches to avoid buying a meal on the run,” she said.
Buying in bulk pays off, too. “A whole chicken is usually around $3.49/kg, and when you compare that to the price of pre-cut chicken you are looking at a substantial saving.”
You can also get more meals and recipes out of a whole chicken, she added, from roasts to soups and pies.
You also don’t have to get fancy; just stick with your favourites, like soups, stews, or pasta sauces.
2. Shop seasonal fruits and veggies
Buying seasonal produce saves you money and provides you fresher produce, too, and helps you get creative with your cooking.
Higgins advised looking out for ‘Aldi super savers’, which can often be overlooked for the famed Special Buys.
“Each week meat, fruit and vegetables at ALDI have their moment in the spotlight and become just a little more affordable,” the shopping expert said. “Buy up and get chopping, baking, and freezing to make the most of these price reductions.”
3. Meatless Monday
Going meatless for one day a week can help you save money on protein, which tends to make up a good chunk of a grocery shop.
“There are many ways to get an affordable protein kick without the big spend that might come along with a meat purchase. Beans, lentils, and eggs should be top of the list for your affordable start to the week,” she said.
“No matter your moral or sustainable views cutting meat once a week will mean you are trimming your grocery bill, improving your health and reducing your environmental impact.”
4. Create a monthly budget
Do you know how much you’re spending on groceries? If you’re serious about cutting down on costs, tracking your outgoing expenses is budgeting 101.
And while it sounds counter-intuitive, don’t be swayed by discounts.
“Go against the grain and resist the temptation of price drops on grocery items. You are more likely to throw that shopping list out the window and bump up your spend if you get tempted by a sale here and a discount there,” Higgins said.
And if you’re all over your ingoing and outgoing expenses, you’ll have room to be able to spoil yourself. “Schedule time to review and check in on your finances throughout the year.”
5. Store and save
Being smart about storing your fresh produce will help you reduce waste – and save money.
“There are many ways to extend the life of your fresh fruits and vegetables. If bananas are going slightly brown, or you are not getting through your celery and carrots quick enough, get chopping, pop them in a container and throw in the freezer as smoothie starters and a pre-chopped soup base,” said Higgins.
Glass containers are also a smart long-term investment.
“Rather than falling victim to the old out of sight out of mind principle, glass containers will remind you what you have in the fridge and pantry so you know when produce is reaching the end of its life. This way you can prioritise that produce for your next cook or pop them in the freezer before they reach the point of no return.”
The principle is simple: if you can see what you have at home, you’re less likely to buy the same items the next time you go shopping.