Ever been to the supermarket for your weekly shop, picked up the basic necessities (bread, milk, chocolate!), and repressed a shriek of purest horror at the checkout? It’s happened to all of us. The cost of living just keeps on rising, and food is one expense you cannot do without.
But if you’re savvy enough, there are ways to lower the cost of your food bill. And you don’t have to resort to cutting down on the food you love. Here are the top ways to reduce the cost, from the practical to the quirky.
A good place to start is to compare prices through supermarket websites. This is so you can find out who is offering the better deal. Farmfoods, Iceland, Lidl and Aldi are said to be the most affordable brands and could save you a bundle.
Avoid the Hype
Try to avoid special offers. BOGOF may seem enticing, but these offers are only there to get you to spend more. The shop benefits from such promotions, not the customer. Be smart. Do you really need twenty yogurts with tomorrow’s expiration date? Unlikely! Go for the store brands (yes, Smart Price) rather than the flashy names to pinch those pennies!
Sometimes the products have slightly damaged packaging, other times the expiration date is nigh approaching, but you can find good deals on the dodgy looking reduced shelf! It’s there to clear stock but you can occasionally find some decent meals there – especially great for students!
You’ll be surprised how well this simple idea works – especially if you’re on a diet. It’s all psychology – if you invest in smaller plates now, you’ll subconsciously serve up less food onto them, saving you money over time.
Tupperware is Your Friend
If you can’t help but make massive portions when cooking meals like pasta, put the leftovers in Tupperware and stick them in the fridge or freezer. Then you can reuse and not waste anything, saving you money. Some meals you can eat cold, or others you can reheat in the microwave – just be sure it’s piping hot.
Cook What You Need
If you’re not a fan of leftovers or are guilty of banishing large chunks of extra food into the bin, this site could be for you. Love Food, Hate Waste has a calculator that can help you measure out the amount you need to cook, depending on how many people you’re catering for. Simple but effective!
The Candis Calculator
A genius way to save money on the food you love can be found by using the Candis Calculator. This site takes the number of people per household, and the amount you spend on basic foodstuffs, and calculates what you could be doing to lower the cost, from freezing farmers’ market veg so it won’t go bad to making your own ‘butter’ from margarine.
The basic key to saving money is to ensure you buy and use up everything by its expiration date. Keep a well-stocked cupboard full of canned goods – they stay fresh for a long time and can be used to improve meals made from leftovers. If you’ve got an odd assortment of food items left at the end of the week, don’t be afraid to experiment and see what new dish you can come up with that uses all of them!
Also, planning meals for each day ensures you never buy more than you need. Before you hit the supermarket, list the meals you’ll make this week and what ingredients you need to make them. When you get home with your shopping, check the dates and freeze things that will expire before the day you plan to use them. This means you won’t be tempted by impulse purchases that never get eaten and nothing goes to waste – very sensible!
Get creative, get smart, and get saving! You’ll be cutting down your food bill in no time. Let us know if you have any top food-saving tips in the comments below.