The price of food products in the supermarkets has been increasing recently and therefore many of us are looking for ways to save money in this department without sacrificing eating well. Whilst there are some fairly drastic steps that can be taken to reduce food bills such as eating less and not buying some essential items such as cheese or otherwise, there are a range of easier and equally cost-effective ways in which money can be saved on household food bills.
Planning Your Weekly Shop
Before going to the supermarket or going on your computer or tablet to do your regular online shop, check your cupboards, fridge and freezer so you don’t buy something you don’t need and end up overbuying. Surprisingly, a large number of people find themselves buying duplicate items they forgot they had, leading to unnecessary costs. It is therefore a good idea to write up a detailed shopping list along with a weekly menu plan. This way it is made clear exactly what you need, how much of it you should buy, when it is needed for and therefore when you will likely need to replenish the said item or ingredient.
This way you can see what you already have to make the recipes and what you need. Also, be sure to take into account left overs and how you will be using them. Shopping on an empty stomach can also be a major down fall for of us. Before shopping, have a light snack so you do not fall into the trap of impulse purchases, which most supermarkets and shops push at customers to increase their sales; causing many people to go off track from their shopping list and buying items you ultimately don’t need.
It may come as a surprise, but eating healthier can actually end up saving you quite a lot of money. Studies have shown that families who went on a diet to lose weight not only lost the weight but also slashed money off their food budget. The money was saved because of the reduced food portion sizes and from ultimately not buying food which was high in calories. Calorific food tends to cost more and therefore increase the total of your overall food shop. This is because the ‘extra’ food, like crisps, fizzy drinks or cakes, that add calories but little-to-no nutritional value.
Furthermore, many items we buy are actually unnecessary and not good for us at the same time [convenience foods]. By cutting these items out, money can be easily saved.
Taking Advantage of Sales Vouchers
If you do any of your food shopping online, look out for flash sales. When you go to check out, just before it takes you there the site may display a ‘flash sales’ section or something else similar reflecting last-minute promotions and sales offers. You may see nothing you want and in that case, do not buy something just because it is cheap. However, some sites don’t display all of their flash sale products. To see what else they have to offer, you can go back add something random into your basket (which you can just delete after) and proceed to check out again and there should be a completely new list of products offered in the flash sale. This often happens as the website will assess your browsing habits and will monitor the items you buy in relation to what they are pushing via any promotions.
Bring Your Own Bags
This is a relatively simply one. When you go to the supermarket, take plastic bags that you have got from previous shops or buy a bag for life or two. As you are probably aware, plastic bags now come with a charge of 5p, or 10p for larger ones. While 5p here and there may not seem like a lot of money, “count the pennies and the pounds will grow” is an important mantra to follow when cutting down on what you are spending on a weekly or monthly basis. If you think about how much money you have probably spent on plastic bags alone in a year, it could be quite a hefty amount of money when all added up.
This is more of a long-term saving scheme, as you will not see a noticeable different in the price of your weekly shop, but over time it will make the world of difference. For example, if every week you purchase a number of items, with four carrier bags at 5p each, over the course of the year; 52 weeks, you will have spent an additional and potentially unnecessary £10.40 on plastic bags alone.
Buying and Cooking in Bulk
As long as they are used, buying products in bulk are a great way to save money. Frozen, canned or dried so that your products keep and can be used at your convenience are some of the best types of products to buy on this basis. Cooking in bulk not only saves you money, but also saves time. You can prepare food in bulk and freeze it in separate portions which are perfect for your family, so you do not have to defrost the whole thing, leading to otherwise unnecessary waste of food and money.