The average household spends around £57 a week on food and non-alcoholic drinks (a whopping £228 a month!) and food prices in the UK continue to rise. We have therefore dedicated this weeks blog to bringing you smart shopping tips to help you make savvy savings and cut down your monthly shopping bill.
Plan, plan, plan
Try planning your meals on a weekly basis. If you buy food and ingredients each day you’ll end up spending more, particularly as there can be so much temptations when shopping! If you write a list of ingredients it will help you to buy the things you need.
Look for cheap recipes
Cheap doesn’t have to mean less tasty. There are several websites that provide you with cheap eats and great leftover ingredient recipes. Check out:
Cook from scratch
Cooking at home is often much cheaper compared to buying convince meals and takeaway foods. If you enjoy eating out or having takeaways try to cut back. Check out our fakeaway blog for inspiration.
Avoid shopping when you’re hungry
This might seem a strange tip but research shows we are more impulsive and buy more food when we are hungry. We are also more likely to pick quick convenient options.
Buy foods in their whole form
Instead of buying pre chopped vegetables for example, buy them whole and prepare them yourself at home. Supermarkets charge more for pre prepared foods.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper than fresh. They contain the same nutrients and are picked at their peak. Some frozen fruits and vegetables will come pre prepared and ready to use.
Buy in bulk
Buy store cupboard items, such as pasta, rice, lentils and other long life items, in bulk. This is often the cheapest way to buy them.
Compare the price of supermarket own brands to popular branded products and you’ll see a huge difference in price. The price is cheaper but the taste, quality and nutritional value is usually the same. For example supermarket own brand breakfast wheat biscuits cost £0.75 whereas the leading brand cost £2.99.
Use the stoop- to- rise method
This may sound strange when shopping but look at the bottom and top of shelves for cheaper brands and supermarket own products. Brands pay supermarkets money to be placed at eye level so they catch our attention first.
Sign up for supermarket loyalty schemes
Supermarkets are all in competition and so they have to make sure they are competitively priced and offer their customers good deals. Many supermarkets have loyalty and points schemes and will send you money off vouchers, discount coupons and special offers. Don’t delay, sign up today!
Be cautious of special offers and buy one get one free offers
In February 2013, Which? investigated the price of 700,000 items on sale at the five big supermarkets and found some special offers were more expensive than products not on sale! Always check the original price when there are offers on as sometimes they aren’t as good as they seem.
End of day discounts
Look out for markdowns on perishables at the end of the shopping day as you can bag yourself a great saving! Just make sure you use it before it’s use-by-date and doesn’t go off sooner than expected.
Compare the cost of your trolley
There are a number of apps and websites that allow you to compare food prices across the main supermarkets. Mysupermarket is an example and allows you to choose the supermarket with the best prices.
According to NHS Choices, the average family in the UK throws away around £60 of good food every month. Planning meals and sticking to your shopping list can help reduce waste, but if you notice items are getting close to their use-by date, freeze them!
Take note of what’s in your cupboards
Get to know every ingredient already in your cupboards so you don’t buy duplicates when out shopping.
Have a meat/ fish free day
Try having one meal a week where you choose an alternative protein source, such as beans, lentils, pulses, tofu, soya etc., as these are often much cheaper but contain lots of beneficial nutrients.
Buy cheaper cuts of meat
If you don’t mind spending a little more time cooking, try opting for cheaper cuts of meat, such as braising steak. Cooking these meats slowly will break down the fibre in them making them super tasty at a lower cost.
Freeze left over bread
Bread is one of the most wasted household foods items. Try freezing it, preferably in portions (for convenience) and when it’s at it’s freshest. Make sure you store it in a freezer bag to avoid freezer burn.
Healthy Start Scheme
Find out if you qualify for the Healthy Start Scheme. This is a scheme that entitles some families free vouchers every week to spend on cows milk, fruits, vegetables and vitamin drops for children.