Last year we spent an average of 10% of our income on grocery shopping, according to the Office of National Statistics, equalling over £3000 per household. Supermarket saving sites promise to cut this figure by a third, suggesting that we could all be saving a considerable amount of money on food each week. Here are six ways to cut your grocery bill down, so you can start planning what to do with the savings.
With a big supermarket around every corner, offering every type of fruit and vegetable imaginable, it is easy to forget what produce is in season. However, seasonal eating is one of the best ways to save money as anything that is in season is usually much cheaper. The added benefit to this is that if it is locally in season the flavours will be much stronger, as it hasn’t had to travel hundreds of miles to get to you, so you won’t have to use as many ingredients to put together a tasty meal. Eat Seasonably has put together this colourful seasonal calendar so you can easily see when produce is at its best.
Weekly, fortnightly or monthly shopping
When people start discussing their food shopping habits, the most common tactic is the weekly shop. You plan out your food for the week and go and buy it all in one go. While this is an effective technique, it doesn’t work for everyone. If you do not have a car or are trying to limit your use of it, shopping every week might not be an option. Bulk shopping once a month can be a great money saving technique, allowing you to save more money on long-lasting items. Alternatively, doing a big food shop every two weeks might fit in better with your lifestyle, allowing you to budget for the expensive items, such as meat, but giving you the flexibility of choosing what to eat day by day. For either of these options you do need to have storage and freezer space, but they can help you find a balance between saving money and keeping your meals more flexible.
Supermarket saving sites
Shopping online can be a great money saving tactic. You aren’t influenced by all the other people running around shopping, you can do it at a time that suits you, when you aren’t hungry, and take your time deciding what you really need and want. Supermarket saving sites offer the added benefit of showing you the cheapest supermarkets for everything you are buying. Over time you may realise that one store is consistently cheapest for the type of food you are looking for, but these saving sites will also notify you of any flash sales and offers that you hadn’t realised were happening. There is still a chance that you will be influenced by the deals on offer and buy things you aren’t actually looking for, but it is less tempting when you aren’t rushing around the actual shop. MoneySavingExpert.com has put together a useful list of Supermarket Shopping Tips to get you started.
Embrace bad habits
We all have bad habits when it comes to shopping and eating and you can actually save money if you embrace some of these habits. Pay attention to when you are most likely to order take-out, or nip to the shop for snacks. If it happens at the same time every week then trying to avoid this habit will only work for a short time and eventually you will end up doing it anyway. Plan for these times by buying food and snacks that will satisfy you without costing as much. For example, if you always buy take-out on a Friday night, treat yourself to a high quality steak instead. If you always end up going to the shops for chocolate and crisps on a Saturday, buy these in advance when you can make the most of the offers in the big supermarkets. If the items are already in your home and you have allowed yourself to have them, the need to eat them is reduced, resulting in you eating and spending less.
Grow your own
By far one of the cheapest ways to save money on food is to grow your own. The cost is minimal, depending on what you are growing and you get real satisfaction from knowing you are eating your own produce. You don’t need an enormous allotment to grow your own fruit and veg. You can grow a surprising amount in a small space and with little know-how. Grow bags are an effective way of making the most of a small about of space and can be placed in yards and on balconies, or any sunny spot outside.
Take a drive
If you take a drive in the countryside anywhere in the UK you are likely to pass many signs offering fruit, vegetables and even eggs and meat for a very low price. Typically it is done using the honour system and you are trusted to leave the suggested amount of money in a box or letterbox and help yourself to the produce. Usually it is the produce of farmers and people with allotments who have an excess and charge very little for high quality food. Alternatively, while out on your drive in the country you are likely to pass a farm shop, offering an abundance of locally made food, in season and for reasonable prices. This is a great way to support your local businesses and get to grips with seasonal eating. If you want to make the most of these countryside drives, why not take out a logbook loan with a reputable company such as Car Cash Point and get cash swiftly and securely.