Save Money on Food: Think Smart and Plan Ahead

When the time comes to move out of home, most of us have budgeted and are prepared for the shock to the system that is rent.

What’s often overlooked is just how much you’ll spend on food and how much goes to waste because of poor planning.

Here’s how to get it right in the kitchen.

Plan meals

One of the most common mistakes is going shopping without a list or with no idea as to what you’re going to eat in the coming week or two.

Before hitting the shops, have a few recipes and ingredients in mind and stick to them. Whether it’s working late one night or unexpected beers and burgers at the local, things come up and plans for a home-cooked meal are often left out to dry.

That’s OK. It’s easy to turn a dinner into the next day’s lunch. And if most planned meals come off, there won’t be too much leftover at the end of the week.

Communal cooking

As long as you live with other people, it makes sense to eat a meal together when you can.

This doesn’t mean you need to be joined at the hip with your roomies, but lock in a night when you’re all home to cook and eat dinner together. Cooking one meal is a lot more efficient than cooking four separate ones.

If you usually cook and shop separately, that’s fine, but try and join forces every now and then to make sure everything in the pantry gets eaten.

Shop right

There’s no point doing groceries on a Thursday night if you’ve got dinner plans all weekend.

So shop for fresh stuff when you’re going to be home to eat it. Most supermarkets will offer discounts on items at the end of the day, so swing by after work if you can.

Don’t forget to check the expiry date on items too. A carton of milk a few rows back in the fridge will have a longer expiry date on it, so dig around.

Share a shelf

Instead of having old mayonnaise or borderline eggs sitting in the fridge, allocate a share shelf in the fridge and pantry.

Here housemates can put things they’re probably not going to eat before expiry so others can cook them up.

Like at any good hostel kitchen, it’ll de-clutter storage spaces and ensure almost everything gets eaten.