I have found that shopping for a few days at a time is more economical than doing a big shop. The reason is that you use what you buy and throw fewer things away. A lot depends on whether you are free to shop whenever or whether you have to organise it around work.
I have known a few friends who have withdrawn enough cash for the week from the bank and then used only that. They have been quite successful in reducing bills and minimising impulse buys.
As for Christmas, it's not about buying everything in sight.
If you are paying off debt, go for the highest interest rate debt first.
We've started meal planning and before I did my monthly shop I went through the freezer to see what we had and then wrote down thirty meal and ordered what extra stuff we needed, if that makes sense. So far (one week in) I've only had to buy bread and milk as extras. We bought frozen veg etc.
A few years ago, we had to pull our horns in for a while.
We made a list and stuck to it. When we didn't stick to the list, we put those items on the belt first and asked the cashier to do those first and subtotal them. It was generally about an extra £15 a week. That was a very good way of concentrating the mind.
I recently started menu planning and that has helped reduce waste, I will get veg weekly and freeze meat etc so that nothing goes out of date. I have to be stricter and stick to my plan. I see lots of pasta and pesto meals coming up .
I find if I shop as I go along I buy too much and lots of non food items too especially with the kids. I never know how much it will be when I go to the till. I audited my spending and some weeks there were three visits to the supermarket in one week all over £40 pounds.
I like the idea of a quota and once its gone its gone. Did shop online today and spent £75 before discounts come off, thats most stuff including laundry stuff and loo roll etc. Don't know if I will go for the once its gone its gone idea when it comes to loo roll though
Well I am cutting down on booze, not needed and I was drinking way too much, limitingit to a little tipple at the weekend I think. Damm I never bought any in my online shop, it will have to come out of my weekly money.
My top tip (and I should follow my own advice and do this again) is to keep a diary of everything that you buy. When I was trying to sort out a budget many years ago, I found that we were spending almost £200 a month () on "money taken from cash point, who knows where it's going". That's how we found out about the bought lunches, DH's coffee habit, my magazines... you get the idea.
I did the diary thing for a few weeks to get a clearer idea of what I was spending, I too found I was drawing money and had no idea where it went. I am going to start this again. I have a accounts sheet made up on excell copied from a small business account book format. Now I have a good idea about my bills I think I will redo the sheet to concentrate on other spending to show where it all goes.