The big food shop is probably one of the most expensive outgoings for you and your family. But there’s no reason it should deal such a blow to your finances – just a few simple changes could save you the pennies which turn quickly into hundreds of pounds.
In fact, it’s not so much overspending at the supermarkets that is the problem. It’s the sheer wastage of food. Each year, around 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced is wasted, including 45% of all fruit and vegetables and 20% of dairy products. While this of course has wider global implications, for the average family it equates to around £60 of food wastage a month. Doing your part to cut down food wastage will help the environment and save you money, so it’s a win-win.
It’s not difficult to reduce food wastage. Planning your meals, bulk cooking and freezing portions, cutting down on the amount of takeaways you buy and using up leftovers are all great ways to ensure you make the most of what’s in your cupboard.
Saving money on your supermarket bill will help you feel more in control of your finances, as well as freeing up some extra spending money to put towards holidays and all important treats.
So, just how can you cut the costs of your supermarket bill?
Before you go shopping, take stock of what you have left over in your fridge and cupboards to ensure that you don’t double up on food you already have. Also, make a note of what hasn’t been eaten. If there’s a bag of apples from two weeks ago rotting in the bottom of the fridge, it’s safe to say apples aren’t a favourite in your household. Don’t buy more!
Try Own-Brand Products
Wherever you do your weekly shop, you will probably find the own-brand products aren’t as easy to find as Heinz. But it’s definitely worth looking. In the majority of cases, there’s absolutely no noticeable difference in quality or taste, but if you have your favourites and don’t want to change, you could also save money by shopping for own-brand toiletries and essentials like washing up liquid and dishwasher tablets.
When it comes to buying basic food products, you will have to be smart. Basic ranges often have higher sugar and fat content to bulk them up and make them taste something like their branded competitors. Saving money is nice, but not at the expense of less healthy food. Disposable items, like tissues and kitchen paper, are often no different to the expensive options, so you can save money there instead.
You have to get the timing right, but buying reduced produce is a great way to save a sizeable chunk on your supermarket bill. There’s nothing wrong with this food – it just happens to be close to its ‘sell by date’. Take notice of the ‘use by’ date instead.
Finally, take notice of the oldest trick in the book: Don’t shop when you’re hungry! You’ll end up spending a fortune on impulse buys.