How to Save Money on Monthly Food Costs

10 AUGUST 2023

In this article we'll go into more detail about a few ways you can stretch your grocery money.

We are all aware of the rising cost of food. And, in our current economic climate, it's sometimes difficult for many people to make ends meet. Below, we'll go into more detail about a few ways you can stretch your money where groceries are concerned.

Make a budget and stick to it

Setting a daily budget when dealing just with food is simple. For instance, you may need to spend R200 per day, including all meals, to feed your family of four. You can then determine your monthly budget from there. For instance, R6000 for a family of four per month.

Your budget should be based on your income, and a decent rule of thumb is that your grocery budget shouldn't be more than 25% of your take-home salary. This percentage will increase the less money you make. A person who earns R10,000 per month should set aside no more than R2,500 for groceries, or R83 per day. Be realistic with your budget. You won't be able to follow it if you make it too small.

Look out for specials and loyalty savings

Coupons are not commonly found in South Africa. If there happens to be coupons available at the store, use them. Plan your meals around supermarket specials, and if there are any goods you frequently purchase that are on sale, stock up a little. Avoid the temptation to purchase products that you wouldn’t ordinarily use just because they are on sale . You are now spending more money on something you wouldn't have purchased at all, which is a false economy.

Reward programs can give noticeable savings. Where it matters the most, loyalty savings cards from various food stores provide some comfort. We have listed a few popular reward programs which are available online via the RCS Shopping Network below:

Each time, make sure to swipe. For a bigger impact, you can allow a full year for the funds to accumulate before using all of your points and cashback to pay for Christmas groceries and presents. Make sure the benefits of these programs outweigh the expense by checking how much they will cost you.

Plan your meals

Meal planning might help you stay within your grocery budget if you find it difficult to come up with meal ideas and end up making too many unexpected, expensive trips to the grocery shop. You can arrange your meals around shopping for products that may be on sale, such as seasonal vegetables or particular kinds of meat, by making a menu and completing one big grocery buy for several days' worth of meals.

Buy cheaper food

This may seem obvious, but cheaper cuts of beef for your stews and burgers will save you some coins. Check that your fruit and vegetables are in season and are not imports. The cost of convenience and pre-made food is very high. There are several levels of convenience; for example, the price of a butternut might be R12. You will receive less butternut if you purchase it already sliced, and it could cost you R25. Then, buying pre-cooked butternut will cost you twice as much and maybe even less in size. Carefully consider what you are capable of doing in terms of food preparation. Make a commitment to spending an additional five minutes preparing your own vegetables.

Packed lunches

It can cost you up to R150 a day to buy a coffee and a sandwich on workdays. That comes to about R3000 in a month and R36 000 in a year. The majority of that can be saved by bringing a sandwich to work and drinking coffee there. Spend your money on a Friday indulgence and bring leftovers the rest of the week.

Avoid shopping hungry

This is frequently recommended since people tend to purchase more food when they are hungry, most notably, snack foods. Additionally, consider leaving your kids at home because they frequently ask for treats, leading to extra purchases for the sake of peace.

Ask yourself, why did you choose the supermarket where you now shop? Is it on your way to work or the closest to your house? If we're being really honest, the majority of us likely go to the stores we do out of pure habit. Although it may be difficult, it could be time to part ways with your local grocery store. You could discover that making regular trips to the nearby store ends up costing more money.

Reduce your monthly food spending, stay within your budget, and you’ll reach your financial objectives quickly by forming a few new habits. That means you'll have more money to put toward debt repayment, future investments, or a few luxuries.