Food; can’t live without it, but increasingly living with it is costing a fortune. Like certain other little essentials of everyday life, food is one cost we can’t avoid. It’s also one that can be relatively simple to cut back on, without actually resorting to a hunger strike. Here are a few tips to make that weekly food budget go just a little bit further.
Basic Shopping Tricks
- Always shop with a list; this is probably the oldest and best way to save money, as long as you stick to it. It’s not difficult to plan a shop in advance and list everything that you need. You can even type up a regular list and simply print it off to take with you. Sticking to the list can be harder said than done, but try to be firm with yourself. Impulse purchases can make up a lot of the hidden cost of the weekly shop and by using a list it’s a little easier to resist.
- Shop alone! Children and other accompaniments to shopping are generally a bad idea. Obviously for busy parents, who have to shop around working day and childcare arrangements, this is not always possible, however, many hands do not, in the case, make light work. Usually they make unexpected additions to the trolley when you’re not looking. Even other adults in the form of spouses or partners can be guilty of this kind of behaviour. They are best left at home or in the park with the kids.
- The next tip is not for everyone, and can depend on the amount of time you have and your life style. However, buying fresh groceries from small shops or markets will nearly always save you a fortune. I’ve been using this method for years and recently, on one distressingly necessary trip to a supermarket nearly passed out at the cost of some food. I realise that supermarkets have to source their veg from at least the other side of the planet, but still! Most small independent traders, particularly market stalls, are excellent when it comes to value, although you’ll have to shop a little more often for fresh stuff. If you live in a city and there’s a regular market, fruit and veg is at the lowest price just before closing; often it’s free.
- Supermarkets are not all evil and are actually a good place to stock up on essentials. Two for one discounts don’t, however, save money if you don’t actually need two. However, for dried goods and frozen goods, which can be stored long term, it can make sense to make the most of the discounts and offers available. Do your homework first and check out price comparison sites, source any discount voucher codes you can and shop strictly to the list! For a monthly big shop, a supermarket can prove to be a good source for savings.
- Approach the supermarket with care and on a full stomach. This is a good idea for grocery shopping of any kind. Every survey going tells us that we’ll spend more the moment we get a whiff of those tempting freshly baked loaves, exotic salads and roasting chickens. In general, supermarkets are not designed for our convenience, but to make us part with the maximum amount of cash possible. They’re laid out to make sure you have to do a full circuit and pass every tempting offer possible. This can be a trial for even the most hardened shopper, but if you’re sensible and stick to that list, you might just make it round with the minimum level of impulse purchase possible.
Taking advantage of discount codes is a good, but not the only, way to cut back on grocery bills. From old fashioned tricks, like making a list, to modern fangled money saving voucher codes and offers, cutting the cost of living is mostly common sense.