Grocery shopping can literally eat a big hole in your finances.
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your weekly shop:
Plan your meals (including your lunches!)
Before setting out for your grocery shop, plan your meals for the week. Don’t forget to include lunches too, as it’s these little incidentals that add to your weekly spend.
Think about ways to use up leftovers and those extra ingredients so you’re left with no food waste at the end of the week. For some recipe ideas using leftover food, visit lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipes
Take a shopping list and stick to it!
Learn the layout of your local supermarket, and write the list in order of the aisles, this will not only speed up your shopping time but you can avoid going up and down unnecessary aisles tempting you with other goods.
Never go food shopping on an empty stomach
Golden rule of food shopping! May sound obvious but you want to be ruled by your head and not by your stomach. This will avoid those tempting treats from ending up in your basket.
The psychology behind the packaging
Don’t be fooled by the packaging. The basic range has been designed to look inferior alongside the more premium or branded ranges. Before judging a brand by its packaging, which is what the supermarkets want, give the cheaper ranges a go. They quite often use the same ingredients just packaged to look less attractive. If you don’t like it you can always swap back.
Likewise consider using store brands for domestic cleaning products and toiletries especially for things like bleach, washing powders, toothpaste etc.
Is it fresh?
It’s always worth checking the shelf life on your fresh produce as you don’t want to buy something that’s going to go off before you plan to use it. Supermarkets tend to put the older stuff in front, try taking from behind for the newer stock.
It’s also important to remember the difference between “Use By” dates and “Best Before” dates.
Use by dates will be used on food that goes off quickly such as fresh meats, fish and ready-prepared salads. It’s important you go by this date as after this date you could be putting your health at risk.
However Best before dates are about quality, not safety and appear on a wide range of frozen, dried, tinned and other foods. Although it might not be at its optimum, it will not be harmful to your health.
For more information on food labeling terms, visit the NHS Food Labelling Guide
Yellow sticker foods
This can be a good way to get cheap meat or fish and if you can’t use it that day freeze it. Items get reduced several times throughout the day and while each supermarket varies, you usually find the best deals later on in the day.
This isn’t exclusive to fresh produce, you will find a reduced section for dry store goods too.
Be wary of deals
Only buy into deals like bogof and buy 2 get 1 free if you’re going to use them or the items have a long shelf life and will last.
Compare the price label
Price marking of goods means you are able to compare price per unit against different sizes and similar products. You may think it’s cheaper to buy larger but it doesn’t always work out like this. Supermarkets pricing labels show the actual selling price and the price per unit of weight, so you can always check what size or brand is the better deal.
It’s only a pound…
We love a pound store but it’s not always the cheapest option. Make sure you only go in for what you need as they rely on you spending more as it’s “only a pound”. Be careful of some items, if it seems really cheap for what it is you may be disappointed by the quality and end up being a waste of money.
With our busy lives it’s often easier to buy all our groceries under one roof. However, if you do have the time, it is certainly worth investing in your local town and market. Compare your vegetable prices with the local greengrocer and try your butcher for deals on packs of meat. This is a great way to support local businesses and farmers too.
Consider a meat free day
Heard of Meat Free Monday’s? The idea behind this campaign is for health and environmental benefits. However, another benefit is that vegetarian meals can be very cheap to make. To learn more about meat free Mondays visit Meat Free Mondays.
No spend days
Could you do the no spend day challenge. It sounds easy doesn’t it? But how often do you pop out for a coffee, sandwich or even a newspaper. These items soon add up.
And finally, if you can, leave the kids at home!
For more shopping tips, read Money saving experts supermarket tips.
Skint Dad also has a dedicated Facebook Community page sharing tips and tricks to cut costs. To join, click here