HOW TO REDUCE YOUR MONTHLY FOOD SHOP
Just like loans, it pays to compare. You could save a serious amount of money just by shopping at different supermarkets. Check out each of your local supermarkets, compare your shops and find out which is cheapest. Lidl and Aldi are rising in popularity and often have great quality products at rock bottom prices.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET
If you head to the supermarket or start an online shop without knowing your money limit, you could eat up more cash than you would ideally like to spend! If your food shop is breaking the bank, set a lower budget and challenge yourself to only spend this much once you're in the supermarket. You can use our budget planner to see if you are overspending in any other areas too.
DON’T BE FOOLED
Generally, the more money you pay for something, the prettier the packaging becomes. This makes us think it must taste much better than the cheaper options so we buy it! But don’t be fooled, often you can’t tell the difference between branded products and the supermarket’s own. It might only be a few pennies less but once it comes to paying, you will notice a difference!
The average family in the UK throws away £420 a year in food! If we handed you the cheque of the same value, the last thing you would do is throw it in the bin so why do the same with the food you spent your hard earned cash on. We’ve given you a breakdown of when it’s okay to throw away:
- Best before date: This is all about quality and less to do with being a health risk. The food will taste best if eaten before this date but don’t let this put you off. Use taste, smell and sight to find out if the food is okay to eat.
- Use-by date: Don’t risk it! The use-by date is a warning for you to make sure you eat it by then. Throwing away grub you thought had plenty of life in can be a pain but it's not worth the risk. Keep track of the dates on your food and make sure it gets used before the date.
- Display-until and sell-by: Ignore these dates, they’re instructions for the people working in the shop. Find the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date instead.
If you’ve got the room to spare at home (i.e. a second freezer outside, under stairs storage, etc.) then take advantage of big saver deals. If you can get beef mince on a buy one get one free deal, buy in bulk and pop it in the freezer. It’ll save you money and you will probably need to go shopping less.
A LITTLE ROUGH AROUND THE EDGES
During deliveries and shelf-stacking, items can become damaged but still have plenty of life left in them. Although not aesthetically pleasing, prices can be really reduced. Dented tin cans (for beans and peas for example) can be as low as 10p each but the product is just the same!
AVOID THE COST OF CONVENIENCE
It can be easy to grab the microwave ready meals or pre-cut vegetables but it can cost twice as much to buy your food ready-to-go. It takes a little extra time but you could save some serious cash each week by opting for the unprepared options.
Making an extra effort to save money on your food bills can feel like a real chore but it can certainly pay off in the long run. Get organised and it will become second nature for you to start reaching for the own brand or unprepared iterms instead of their much more expensive alternatives.