Whether you dread or enjoy your weekly grocery shop, the chances are you could be spending less money. Aside from rent or a mortgage payment, your food shop will usually be the next biggest monthly expense with the average family in the UK spending between £50-70 each week in the supermarket. Here are some tips to keep your food bill a little more frugal.
Preparing for your shop
Meal planning can be a bit of an art form – and there is a knack to it – but if you can get yourself into the routine, it could save you cash. Take an hour before your shopping trip to plan which evening meal that you will make each day for the next seven days and the ingredients you will need. Try and make sure that there are some crossover with the meat, vegetables & herbs that you need so that you can use up all of the produce you buy. Using this technique should stop you browsing the aisles, looking for something for dinner and keep you focused.
Another way to cut down the spend on your supermarket visit is by adopting a trend made popular in the U.S. – Couponing. You might have seen the TV show ‘Extreme Couponing’ that sparked everyone’s interest. People scour through newspapers & magazines to find vouchers and then laboriously cut each one out. A lot of vouchers these days are digital so you don’t need to spend hours tracking them down, sites like Hotukdeals or Latestdeals are a great places to find them. You can also use apps (http://greenjinn.com/or sites offering grocery cashback). mySupermarket will help you distinguish in which supermarket your weekly shop will be the cheapest.
Change your shopping habits
When you shop every week, sometimes twice, it’s easy to get stuck into the same routine. You might dread the time of the week when you need to visit the supermarket, but with online shopping you don’t have to. Studies show that now 1 in 10 Britons now get their groceries online. Shopping from the comfort of your home isn’t just convenient – it could be cheaper too. Taking the time to compare products before adding them to your baskets and easily sorting items by the price will give you a chance to get the most for your money. It also removes the temptation to add chocolate or snacks into your basket.
If you often buy ready made meals then cooking from scratch will usually be more economical. For example, a big bag of potatoes costs around £2 and could make mash, chips and roast potatoes to go with 3 different meals. If fresh food is getting close to its ‘Use by’ date, you can chop it up and freeze it for a month to use later on. This saves waste and money – a win/win!
Chances are, your favourite branded treats can be found at a lower price in supermarket own brand ranges. A lot of basic ranges taste just as good for a fraction of the price, and quite often, the bigger companies who make the more expensive products will create the basic ranges for supermarkets too. While you’re shopping, an easy way to save money is by seeing what else is on the shelf and picking the lower priced version.