With the cost of living rising and food prices ever on the increase, the average family’s monthly grocery bill has soared during the past year and, as we spend a large majority of our money on food, it is worth having some tips on how we can cut the cost of our weekly shopping bills. Try to follow these few simple rules before you head off to the shops and save yourself a small fortune at the tills.
Do a weekly menu before you even think about shopping, then make a list of all the ingredients you will need for the recipes. This will help you cut down on buying unnecessary products that add extra expense to your bill and prevent you from impulse buying. Have a look in your cupboards and fridge beforehand and see what you can use up from last week to make sure you are not throwing out unused food. Do you already have any tins or jars that are nearing their use-by date that you could incorporate into a meal? Have you got any fruit or vegetables that can be thrown into a stew or main meal? Cross them off the list of you have already put them on.
Look out for special offers but make sure they are genuine offers. Also check that they are for items you regularly use. If they are for perishable items make sure they are freezable or that you will use them before they are out of date. Also, take advantage of buy in bulk offers if you’ve got the space to store it all. Prices for things like rice and toilet rolls are considerably cheaper when bought in bulk so split the cost with a friend and divide in half or store yourself.
Late at night to get the best reduced items. Products like bread and meat are often reduced to 10p a loaf and £1 for a joint of meat, especially at the weekend with a long night of no trading until Monday. Perishable items will usually be reduced a few hours before the store closes but this time can vary from store to store, so find out your local supermarket’s time for putting the reduced price items out. Always bargain at the fresh meat, fish or deli counter at closing time as they will want to get rid of perishables late in the day.
Remember that the more effort and preparation that has gone into the food the more expensive it will be so buy vegetables raw and meat non diced. Do not be tempted to take short cuts by buying batons of carrots or mashed potatoes, you will be paying well over the odds for the luxury and probably twice the price. Buy seasonal fruit and veggies as they will typically be cheaper than out of season produce that has had to be flown in and try buying local food as well as the less distance it has travelled to get to the supermarket the less it will cost you.
Finally, don’t ever do your food shopping when you are hungry, give yourself plenty of time to find the bargains, watch out for certain items on offer, for example mince, where you can buy double and make enough spaghetti bolognese to freeze some for later, and, think about cooking vegetarian versions of your favourite meals as meat and fish is expensive.