Shopping hacks to keep costs down
Are you looking for shopping hacks to keep costs down? Many households are feeling the pinch as prices continue to rise. Are you fretting about how much your food bills are eating into your salary? Or searching for ways to alleviate those weekly food costs? We’ve pulled together a few tips so you can slash your spending for good.
Plan your shop
Saving money on your shopping is all about planning. Sit down and figure out exactly what you’re going to cook for the next week so you can plan out the ingredients you’ll need.
Devise a weekly menu or meal plan then write a shopping list based around it. The hard part? You’ve got to stick to it. Don’t be enticed to impulse-buy so you end up with a cupboard-load of unwanted groceries.
Choose frozen over fresh
You could save your pennies by buying more frozen products. Not only are frozen foods cheaper but they also save you money by cutting down the amount of food you throw in the bin. Fresh food isn’t always stored correctly or used in time meaning lots of unconsumed food is thrown away every year. Reducing this amount would be beneficial for the environment as well as your wallet.
When you cook frozen food, you only need to take out the amount you’re going to use. Therefore, there will be less left over at the end of the meal. Rather than cooking extra vegetables purely because they need using up, you can cook a small amount and still have more than enough left in the freezer for the next meal.
What’s more, frozen foods last a whole lot longer, so there isn’t as much of a rush to use up the food before it goes out of date. You can buy frozen vegetables, pizza, chicken, sausages, fruit and – everyone’s favourite – frozen chips. McCain Frozen Foods are great and only the yummiest British potatoes make their products, which include chips, fries, roast potatoes, jackets and wedges. Better yet, they’re reasonably priced, too.
Understand best-before and use-by dates
Do you know the difference between best-before and use-by dates? Just because a product has reached its best-before date, it doesn’t mean you have to bin it. Best-before dates are about quality. If a food item is marginally over its best-before date but still smells and looks fine, it may still be okay to eat even though it’s not as fresh as it was before.
On the other hand, use-by dates are about food safety. Goods can be consumed until the use-by date but not after. Once an item goes beyond its use-by date, it could be contaminated – even if it looks fine.
Bin the big brands
Why plump for the leading names when supermarket own-brands are just as good? Often, a supermarket’s own label product uses the same ingredients as their big-brand counterparts. They taste just as delicious but come without the hefty price tag.
Beware of supermarket gimmicks
Supermarkets are notorious for luring you into buying more than you actually need. So, watch out for sneaky ploys, like the aroma of freshly-baked bread, complicated shop layout, cunning product placement and calming music.
Be sure to check any exclusive offers and deals as they may make you buy more than you can eat, meaning you spend more and throw more away.
Cook in bulk
Now is as better time as any to start batch-cooking. This means cooking large amounts of food in one go. The hard work will pay off as it should save you time and money, since you’re using less energy in the preparation. As soon as it’s cooked, tip the food into meal-sized containers to cool, then pop them in the freezer.
Swap and save
Food swapping is a great way to squeeze your costs. By adjusting the food in your shopping basket, you can drastically slash your food bill. For example, swap meats for pulses. The latter is a lot less expensive than meat and provides low-fat fibre and protein. Not sure about skipping meat altogether? Just use half as much and bolster your meal with pulses such as lentils. Freeze the rest of the meat for another day.
You could also think about swapping white for wholegrain. Similar in price, wholegrain goods work out much cheaper in the long run, as they’ll keep you fuller for longer meaning you won’t be as likely to purchase costly snacks to eat in-between meals.
From meal-planning to stocking up on frozen goods, we hope the useful tips above will help you in your quest to save some cash when it comes to your food shopping
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