Shopping for food at the supermarket has been taking up a bigger percentage of wages since the recession hit in 2008, and poor weather in the UK has pushed prices of bread and grains up to almost unmanageable levels. Although our supermarkets are stocked full of products, it can feel like a food desert to those with little money to spend each week.
Although there are always plenty of sales and deal items, saving money at the supermarket isn’t as easy as simply picking up things on ‘buy one get one free’. Often, the supermarkets will cleverly word their promotions or hike up the prices elsewhere to make up for these so-called ‘bargains’, so you may not be saving anything at all.
Planning your meals is one of the best ways to avoid waste and ensure that you’re only buying what you need. All too often we get to a shop and pick up things ‘because they’re on offer’ or because we want to try them. Making a list can help you to avoid these impulse buys – if it isn’t on the list, then DON’T buy it.
Sit down with your partner or family and work out exactly what you want to eat for the rest of the week. Understanding which ingredients you’ll need, as well as how much, will help you to keep your shopping costs down and will mean you think about what you’re putting into your trolley.
Don’t Shop Empty
Never shop on an empty stomach. This is a recipe for disaster and will end up with you buying far more than you need. When we’re hungry, everything looks tasty, so make sure you give yourself a good meal before you get to the supermarket.
Cook From Scratch
Buying ready meals and pre chopped vegetables is a recipe for food cost disaster. Not only are foods like this much more expensive than the raw or whole ingredients, but they’re also less healthy for you too, with plenty of preservatives and salt added to the mix. Where possible, cook things from the basic ingredients yourself. This will not only be much, much cheaper, but you’ll be a lot more aware about what you put into your trolley.
Use a Calculator
As you go around the shop, keep tabs on your spends with a calculator. Most mobile phones will have one included, so you shouldn’t have to take a separate one with you. Being able to see exactly how much you’re spending as you go around is a great way to avoid nasty surprises at the till, and if you go over budget, you’ll soon know which foods are the most important to you.
Shopping in local grocers and butchers is a good way to save money, especially if certain produce is in season. Getting to know your local butcher, fishmonger and vegetable salesman on a personal level can mean great deals for you, especially around Christmas. You can even ask local producers for deals on less than perfect veg and scraps of meat which could be used for warming soups and stews.
This article has been written by Coral Pearce-Mariner on behalf of https://nofeeloansuk.co.uk