With food prices for essentials on the rise, many households are struggling with their weekly food shops.
There are a number of steps you can follow that can help you to save money on your food shopping, while making limited compromises on behalf of your household.
This article will outline how you can save money on your next food shop.
Set a Budget
Setting a budget is a great way to make the most of your available funds. It is first important to try to estimate how much you typically spend on food by looking at the last three months. This could include looking at receipts, as well as transactions and bank statements to highlight these.
You must then evaluate whether this amount seems too high, and if so, how much less you would prefer to spend. This will help you to set a budget for your food shopping.
As such, when you next receive your monthly pay, you can set aside this budgeted amount for your food shopping. It is important to make sure this budget is realistic. For instance, certain months with birthdays or celebrations may require you to spend a bit more, so your budget should be flexible and able to be adjusted to allow for this.
Meal planning is not only a great way to help you to save money, but can also be useful to help you to stay on top of your eating habits and eat healthily. For instance, you can make a list of your main meals and work lunches ahead of the coming week. Within this list, write down any ingredients that you will need that you do not currently have in the house and then add these to your shopping list.
It is worth trying to tailor your meal plan according to ingredients that you already have in the kitchen. These items may be able to substitute alternative ingredients that you would have had to otherwise buy.
Batch cooking in meal plans can thus help to prevent you from overcooking or buying any unnecessary ingredients in your next food shop that would have likely gone to waste.
Opt for Own Label Instead of Well-known Brands
Often there is no difference when it comes to the ingredients on a own-brand product vs. a branded one. The only difference is usually the packaging.
As such, it is often worth saving money by switching from branded food products to own-label.
Store Food Carefully
An important way to ensure that no food, and thus money, goes to waste is to ensure that food is stored away carefully in its correct place. For instance, always check use-by dates before choosing a food item, and try and see if there are any items that have a longer shelf life available in the shop. Further, if you cannot finish an ingredient before its use-by date, check that you can freeze it which can then help to prolong its use.
Ensuring that your fridge and freezer are kept at the correct temperatures will also help to make sure that food will not go off earlier than expected.
Join Supermarket Loyalty Schemes
Supermarket loyalty schemes allow supermarkets to understand their customer’s shopping habits and overall trends, and in return, allow customers to collect points and receive exclusive discounts and rewards.
According to Which?, a Sainsbury’s Nectar card will save you 50p with every £100 you spend in their shops. Likewise, Iceland’s loyalty card can help you to save £5 for every £100 you spend in store or online.
While loyalty schemes can certainly be appealing and thus tempt you to spend in certain shops, it is important to always be aware of the shop’s prices as they may be higher than a competitor’s, which may mean that you are not saving any money at all on your food shopping.