There is currently a cost of living crisis. Energy prices are spiralling upwards, petrol and diesel are at all-time highs, and the inflation rate is rising fast. All this has a knock-on effect on your weekly shop. We can’t control the price increases, but we can control what goes in our shopping baskets and where we buy things from. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) has risen to 6.2%, but most of us are looking at a much bigger percentage in real terms.
There is no shame in trying to save money, and these ideas will help you reduce your food bill.
- Take a spending snapshot
Take a typical week and calculate what you spend on food and drinks. If you break down your spending you might be able to spot some obvious potential savings. For instance, after you write everything down, you might find that you are spending a disproportionate amount on takeaways and booze. These could be an easy target for a cutback.
- Make a list
Take the time to plan out your meals for the week and stick to that list whilst shopping in the supermarket.
- Cupboard and freezer check
Do a stock check of your cupboards and fridge. Try and use up what is in there. If your freezer is empty, you can fill it with some cooked meals batched into smaller portions.
- Use price comparison websites
An example is trolley.co.uk – the app compares grocery items across different supermarkets. You can save up to 30% on your usual shop.
- Buy in bulk
Think about the food items you use the most and try and order these in bulk. If you order bulk items using a price comparison website, you can really bring down the long-term costs. The bigger the pack, the less it costs you overall.
- Bulk cook
It’s much cheaper to make three meals for your family in one go than it is to cook that same meal three separate times. Get your large package of mince, other meats, vegetables etc, and make one huge pot. Store in your now empty freezer! freezer.
- Apply for a trade account with Costco or Macro
Try to get a trade card or go with a friend who has one. These places are perfect for a big shop.
- Supermarket special offers
Go towards the end of the week or at the end of the day. These are great times to find reduced items. Don’t shop when you’re hungry! If you have the time, you could shop around and buy fresh produce from your preferred supermarket and household cleaning & non-perishable foods from cheaper supermarkets.
- Use supermarket loyalty cards
Many shops offer discounted prices for loyal customers. Schemes such as Tesco Clubcard have existed for years, but now others have copied.
- Use coupons
If you are going to buy something, it’s always worth checking out some of the online coupon finder websites. Shops and supermarkets often post their coupon codes on their social media pages.
- Check your food wastage
It’s easy for items such as bread to go mouldy or waste. You can minimise this by freezing. You can toast bread straight from the freezer.
- Ditch the brands!
Buy unbranded alternatives. Supermarket brands are often made by the same companies that make the famous brand products, so don’t be afraid to experiment with the value versions
- Restrict your takeaways
Give yourself a takeaway treat once in a while, but stick within your budget. If you eat before going to the pub, you are less likely to get the “munchies” after a few beers.
- Get cashback with some purchase methods
Several shops now charge less for certain payment methods such as contactless payments. Some card providers offer cashback on purchases with certain shops (but beware of credit cards that could simply boost your spending).
- Eating out
Sometimes eating in a restaurant or pub can cost less than cooking it at home, particularly if during happy hours. There are also apps where you can get big discounts by booking.
- Eating and drinking around working hours
Many of us have stressful jobs that involve a commute to and from work. We also need to eat at lunch, which can mean expensive cafes, coffee shops or takeaways. Look at some alternatives such as taking some pre-prepared meals and snacks to work. It will be healthier and cheaper. If you can swap your daily doses of Starbucks for a coffee thermos filled at home, you could save huge amounts
Use the new Lidl app for iPhone and Android to explore all their current and upcoming offers Their loyalty scheme is known as Lidl Plus. Food deals, shopping vouchers and rewards are all on the app. Use the card each time you shop to accrue the rewards.
- Avoid corner shops and petrol stations
While shopping local at corner shops does support small businesses, you may also find they’re a lot more expensive. Petrol station shops owned by large supermarkets also tend to be quite a bit more expensive than the larger branches, so avoid buying any of your food from these.
- Food for the kids
If you allow your children to be picky eaters or give them different meals from the adults, it will stretch the budget even further. This is where meal planning comes in. Try to cook just one dinner for your entire family. This can be tricky with fussy eaters, so find creative ways to hide the veg, such as blending sauces so the veggies are hidden. If the grown-ups in your family want something with spice, but the kids aren’t keen, cook a mild version first and then remove a portion for the kids, and then add spice to the pot for the adults.
We hope that the above helps and go towards you reducing your shopping bill. If you are finding it difficult to manage your debts, please contact us today where a member of our team may be able to provide you with some solid advice.