Now is as good a time as any to try and trim your food bill. You might have to due to rising costs or perhaps you’re saving for a holiday or special event and need to shave off some of your unnecessarily expenses. Food is definitely a necessary expense but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look to make your “food dollar” go farther.
You can of course try and make the most out of coupons and special offers but let’s be honest here in the UK we haven’t really got a handle on that like our US cousins, plus your average supermarket will only let you use a limited number of coupons so no getting £100 of shopping here for a fiver.
But there are small ways where you can change your shopping habits and save pennies, and if you’re a childcare bill like we have then every penny counts!
1. Eat out of your cupboards for a week..,.
Take stock of what you have and plan all your meals for the next week. Odds on you have already have what you need to cover most meals, you might just need to do a top up shop for fresh milk and bread.
2. Always shop with a list…
Don’t go food shopping without one… EVER!
3. Plan your meals in advance…
If you’re stuck for a time and have to think about what to get it will be far too easy to dip into your pocket for a takeaway or stop on the way home from work for something else.
4. Share your meal plans with your partner…
This is important – write them down on a planner or a note somewhere so everyone knows what’s going to be eaten on what days. It means that if you share cooking responsibilities you are all on the same page, and you avoid the “oh I don’t want that, I had that at lunch time” conversation.
5. Don’t buy prebagged fruit or veg
Rule of thumb – if it’s prepacked it will be more expensive than buying loose.
6. Compare price per 100g or kg
Sometimes it can seem like you’re getting a bargain because the price overall is cheaper, but if it’s a product you use regularly you might find that spending more for a bigger packet/bottle/jar is better value.
7. If you can’t be trusted in a shop, order online
All the big supermarkets deliver and most have some sort of trial offer on delivery fees. Tesco offers the most flexibility in my experience and you only have to spend £40 to get your delivery for free if you’ve bought a pass (around £6 a month). Paying for delivery pass might seem like an expense, but if you are someone who tends to buy things “off list” when they’re in the shop you might save money.
8. Go big
When it comes to meat, it’s usually cheaper to buy a joint than individual chops or cuts. Chicken, pork and lamb are good examples of this, but you will need to shop around.
9. Buy frozen
I’m a big fan of frozen veg as it means I don’t waste them. They’ve been frozen on the day of picking so hold their nutrients, rather than something sat in the shop and then your fridge for days on end.
10. Look out for yellow labels
Our ASDA always has a good selection of “oops” discounted products on a Sunday morning. You can also find them later in the evening, particularly on a Saturday. It’s worth picking up some of these items as you can save a lot of money eg. Buy meat, cook and freeze it. I once had a friend who went shopping to her supermarket every day and only lived off the discounted shelf while she was trying to pay off credit cards – basically she would eat whatever was there.
There’s so many more tips but these are some quick tips you can implement now and don’t need you to change your shopping habits too much.