Sticking to a shopping budget can be a daunting prospect, especially when you’ve got mouths to feed and are short on time to get up and down the aisles. You may well think there’s no way that you could change your food shop to make a difference to the amount of money left in your pocket, However, your food is one of the areas in which it’s likely you can make some changes, helping you to spend less and still maintain a healthy diet. We’re here to show you what you can do to save pounds, not just pennies.
Meat is expensive, so if you find you buy it often, you can easily save quite a bit of money by substituting it for more vegetables, grains or other protein sources like lentils or chickpeas instead. Being vegetarian is kinder to animals and the planet as well as your purse, but even if you don’t think you can turn veggie full time, just cutting back on meat will make a massive difference. It will also encourage you to cook more and discover new recipes. Why not jump on the Meat Free Mondays trend?
Always prepare for shopping
If you find you often enter the supermarket uncertain of what you’re planning on buying and start to put things in your trolley with no real idea of when you will eat them or what you will do with them, then this could be costing you unnecessarily. Planning your weekly, or even fortnightly, meals and taking a list with you when you shop will help you to keep what you buy under control, thus keeping you to your budget. When you have a plan and a list, you’re less likely to pick up unnecessary items on a whim or get home with loads of food but nothing you can make a sensible meal out of. It will also reduce waste as all you’ll only be buying what you know you need and will eat.
Over time we become loyal to certain shops or brands. It’s understandable – we become used to what we know and so go back to the same places time and again. But, shopping out of habit or convenience can also be damaging for our bank balances if we’re not exploring whether there are cheaper options available. Try a more ‘back to basics’ supermarket than your usual go-to to make sure you’re not paying over the odds for any of your staple items. Also, try buying the budget versions of certain shopping list regulars. Canned and tinned foods are items you can easily swap to start saving money, especially considering a supermarket’s own brand can cost up to a pound cheaper than some branded alternatives while being essentially the same on the inside.
Be seasonal savvy
Different fruits and vegetables grow at different points throughout the year, which is why if you’re trying to buy melon in the winter you’ll pay a much higher price than you did in the summer! A quick google search will tell you what’s in season, and you’ll find it’s much cheaper when it doesn’t have to be imported to keep the shelves lined. Reading seasonal recipes on blogs and news sites will point you in the right direction for recipe inspiration.
Read more: Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget
Cut out the extras
Now it’s time to start thinking about whether you really need what you just put on your shopping list. For example, if you’re really concerned about the status of your tap water then buying a water filter is a much more cost-efficient solution than buying bottled water. Fizzy drinks, sweets, or that luxury brand of toilet paper are all not as necessary as you’re convincing yourself they are, either. You could use this opportunity to start living a healthier life, which will help you to keep your shopping bill lower than it ever has been before. Swap your usual snacks for fruit, or lower the amount you would usually spend on treats and indulgences.
What do you think of our shopping budget tips and what do you do to keep costs down? Let us know in the comments section.