Trying to eat well on a budget can be tricky, but there are lots of ways it can be done. We’ve come up with some top tips to help make your grocery shopping a more cost effective experience:
Plan your meals – Avoid wasting food by planning your meals ahead of your weekly shop, and include meals that use common ingredients to reduce the need to buy lots of extras. There are plenty of recipes online that are budget friendly; and check out other items on our blog.
Stick to your list – Popping into the shop on your way home might seem like a good idea but try to avoid shopping on a whim as you’re likely to spend more on things you won’t use. Make a list, and then go shopping.
Don’t shop on an empty stomach – This is a must for impulse buyers: plan your shop when you know your purchasing won’t be dictated by hunger pangs!
Freeze it – Cheese, milk, fruit and vegetables; there’s so much food you probably weren’t aware you could freeze! Avoid unnecessary waste by freezing portions – like popping individual chicken breasts in freezer bags so you don’t have to defrost the whole pack. Or putting a loaf of sliced bread in the freezer and taking out slices when you need it.
Be supermarket savvy – There are plenty of deals to be had, but don’t get drawn in by the first one you come across. It pays to do your research – mysupermarket.co.uk is a great way to scan the shop prices from the comfort of your armchair.
Raid the reductions – check out the clearance aisle for anything that is close to its sell by date. Either use it that day or pop it in the freezer for another meal. Make sure you only buy something if you know you can use it, not just because it’s a bargain!
Timing is everything – Head to the supermarket later in the day, ideally about an hour before it closes, when all the items due to go out of date the following day will be heavily reduced. This is a great way to get hold of expensive fresh foods at a smidge of the cost – just freeze them for later.
Don’t be fooled - many supermarket deals aren’t always as good as they seem. Multi-buy deals might sound great, but double check the price of a single item as often the saving isn’t that much.
Check the small print - It’s also worth checking the price per unit as this will tell you how much you are really getting for your money. For example, a pack of margarine costing 89p might have seemed like the cheaper option compared to the one for £1.80 until you discovered the price per 100g is 36p as opposed to 17.8p.
Watch where you’re looking – Supermarkets put a lot of effort into designing their layout so you spend more money. For example, they’ll purposely place the most expensive products at your eye level and the essential items at the back to make you walk through all the other aisles and buy things you never intended – be wise to their tricks!
Going hungry because of debt? Call us today on 0800 328 0006 for free advice. We also run free money management courses to help you make your money go further, visit capmoneycourse.org to find a course near you.