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Saturday, 15 July 2017

MONEY MANAGEMENT: 23 WAYS TO SAVE 40% OR MORE ON FOOD – PART 1

  
In my community, there is this saying by the elders, “Hunger is the only problem of man.” This means no matter what or how you eat this minute, 6 to 12 hours from now you’ll feel hungry. But you can buy cloths today without buying more in the next 6 months and you will not go naked. Build a house today, move in and you may not talk about paying rent in the next 10-20 years.

Are you pleased with the amount spent on food in your home? What strategies are you using to save money on food?  What strategies are you using to further save money on food?

Since eating food is compulsory for man, buying it can be a huge strain on a family’s budget; you need to find smart ways to saving money off your food budget.  However, there are many ways to save money and shrink your food budget with a little work & creativity and still maintain the same quality and quantity.
The following tips and strategies can help you slash your food costs without reducing the quality and quantity of food consumed by your household. 
1. PLAN AHEAD: Saving money on food does not begin at the shop/market, it starts from home.  Taking your time to plan for food shopping can really pay off.
2. TAKE INVENTORY: Take inventory of what you have at home, so you don’t overbuy. Check your kitchen to know the quantity of leftovers before making a list for your food shopping. 
3. KNOW MARKET PRICES: Also, have an idea of the current market price, so as to avoid the mistake of buying at a higher price or overshooting your budget. You can do it online, call or send someone, stop bye at some shops during some outings, and the like.
4. HAVE A LIST AND STICK TO IT: This helps you avoid impulse buying or falling for the displays around the market/ shop. Your list should be made based on your needs and weekly menu plan.
 5. CREATE A MENU: To be the spontaneous type when it comes to food can have an adverse effect on your pocket. This is because you will end up spending a huge chunk of your income on food.   Making a menu helps you get the right ingredients at the right time to prepare your meal.
Creating a menu and list for purchase of necessary items will enable you get everything you need at once.  This will keep you from leaving out necessary items, thus, save your time, energy and money.
6. HAVE SOMETHING LIGHT: Avoid going shopping on empty stomach. You can have at least some snacks before you go shopping. Going on empty stomach will make you spend more than necessary in trying to quench your hunger.
7. LEAVE THE KIDS AT HOME: We all know what the kids are up to. Leaving the kids at home can be challenging for some mothers or parents, but you just have to do it in this instance to save you some costs.
Kids have a way of putting you on your toes and you’ll find yourself rushing, quickly grabbing what you need to take your time to compare unit prices and get the best deals.
Also, they have the tendency of making you spend more by buying what they want, which in most cases, is outside your list.
8. TIME YOUR TRIP WISELY: Avoid going for shopping at rush hours, as this could lead to buying your food items in a rush and spending more time that will lead to your buying food outside to satisfy any hunger that may arise
9. LOOK OUT FOR DISCOUNTS OR SALES SEASONS: Go online to look out for stores within your reach doing sales. Take note of stores doing sales and take advantage of them.
10. PURCHASE IN-SEASON PRODUCE: Plan a good portion of your menu around food stuff in season; they are usually cheaper. For instance, during yam, plantain fruits and Vegetable seasons, to keep cost down, plan more of your menu around these foods for your household.
11. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF COUPONS: Though the use of coupon is not common in most African countries, they may not be available in the country or region where you live. All the same, whether or not you love using coupon, they are of immense value to any shopper; they save you some little, little money. The savings might look small per coupon, but can be much when added up.  
Caution: While using coupon, be cautious; as much as it can make you save money, it can also make you spend more than necessary. Impulse buying is one major thing to avoid while using coupons.
12. SHOP PERIODICALLY: Frequent shopping can make you succumb to impulse buying. You can schedule your shopping for once or twice in a month and not more than 2 shops.  Shopping in more than 2 shops has the tendency of making you succumb to impulse buying.
I have a friend that goes shopping for food items each time her neighbor goes shopping. “I may see some cheap items”, she says. This is a bad management style, as it will sort of make you buy more than necessary.
13. CHOOSE A BUDGET-FRIENDLY STORE: Mere walking into a store and looking at the price tag, you’ll know if the store is for someone with your kind of budget or not. There are stores for the super-rich, rich, middle class and the poor. Locate the store that suits your budget.
 If your goal is to reduce cost, focus more on stores/markets that will save you money, considering their lower prices. Stores like Shoprite, Justrite, Best choice amongst others, have good products at lower prices when compared to most of their competitors.
Also, you can make do with the local market for food stuff, where bulk purchases are cheaper. 


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