When you look through your monthly budget, there will no doubt be areas where you’d like to cut back a little. For many households, it’s the food budget that stands out as an area where they could cut back, but you may not know where to begin when it comes to money saving. Here are some simple ways you can cut your budget down, without sacrificing quality, and still enjoy healthy meals.
- Switch to own brand items
While you may think that own brand items are inferior, the truth is, most people can’t tell the difference in blind taste tests. In fact, many factories who produce food items will put the same food in different packaging, one branded and one supermarket own brand, so you really are just paying for the name. This is especially true when it comes to basics such as flour, tinned tomatoes or sugar; can you really tell the difference?
- Remember your bags
Bags only cost a few pence at the supermarket, so it’s not a huge deal if you forget them once or twice. However, if you never bring your own bags, the cost soon adds up, and it’s bad for the environment too. Choose something practical and hardwearing like Onya reusable recycled shopping bags and keep them in your car or somewhere close at hand so you don’t forget them.
- Shop after dinner
There are a number of reasons why you should shop for food later in the evening:
- You will have already eaten, so there’s less chance you’ll impulse buy out of hunger
- Shops mark things down at night, so you can buy things like meat or ready meals to freeze, saving you a lot of money
- There are smaller crowds, so you won’t just grab things off the shelves to get out of their quicker, so again, fewer impulse decisions
- In 24-hour supermarkets, this is when the shelves will be getting stocked, so bargains that sell out during the day will be getting replenished
- Sections like the bakery and deli counters are usually closed, so you aren’t as tempted to pick up expensive items that go out of date quickly
Shopping in the evening is simply more relaxing and it’s easier if you can go alone, as you won’t get distracted.
- Avoid pre-packaged foods
Not only are pre-packaged foods full of fat, salt and sugar, they are also terrible for your wallet. In nearly all cases, it’s cheaper to cook from scratch, and it doesn’t take as much time as you think to cook basic things like sauces. Invest in some gadgets like a slow cooker or instant pot to help you avoid pre-packaged foods. If you need some cooking inspiration, there are plenty of recipes online for those who are on a budget.
Cutting your grocery bill isn’t as hard as you may imagine. It usually just means avoiding the many tricks that supermarkets try to use to make you spend more and taking a little more time with meal planning and preparation.