Updated: May 13, 2022
The weekly food shop is a major expense for families. With a little planning, there are ways you can reduce costs. Why not try some of these money-saving tips?
Planing your meals for the week and stick to the list, can help with budgeting and food waste. If you've ever shopped at the end of the day with a screaming child, you know how easy it is to grab things impulsively.
Shop online can make it easier to stick to a budget and you aren't tempted to buy unnecessary items. You can use price comparison websites to check prices at the major supermarkets. It's also worth checking delivery costs, as some delivery times are cheaper than others.
An easy way to save money is to measure portions correctly. Large quantities of rice and pasta often end up in the bin, if you've cooked too much. Make sure you check the guidelines on the packet before you start whipping up a meal!
The highest-cost item in many people's diets is almost certainly meat. Look online for some inspiring vegetarian meals to replace your usual meat-based dishes. Favourite dishes, such as lasagne, taste just as good made with veggie mince or a mixture of vegetables.
Buy fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season. Strawberries are at their cheapest in June and root vegetables are cheaper in winter. Not only is it better for the environment, but shopping seasonally can save you a fortune. If you have one, your local market is also a great place to get bargain fruit and vegetables.
It's generally cheaper to eat homemade rather than prepared foods. Pureeing your own baby food is usually much cheaper than buying jars. And it's healthier, too!
If time is short and you can't always prepare fresh food, keep track of the convenience foods you use often and check out lower-cost alternatives. Supermarket own-brands can be real money-savers. Try different varieties to find the best ones.
When you get back from the supermarket, put the food you won't use straight away in the freezer. That way, it will keep fresh and not go out of date. Get in the habit of checking your fridge regularly so you can use up foods that are nearing their use-by date.Next time you make a stew, cake, or main meal, why not double the batch and freeze half? Not only is it cheaper to buy ingredients in bulk, but you'll save money and time.
Stock your cupboards with non-perishable items. That way you'll always have items to add to your leftovers to create a meal. Tinned beans and tomatoes, dried fruit, nuts, pasta and rice all have a long shelf life.
Many foods are cheaper at cash-and-carry shops or when bought in bulk. But if you're not careful, you can also spend a lot on items you don't need or that will go off before you can eat them. Here are a few tips:
Make a list beforehand of things you use a lot of, such as boxes of fruit juice or baby wipes. These are the perfect items to buy in bulk.
Concentrate on non-perishable items. Toilet paper can be stored in the cupboard under the stairs, but fresh fruit can't.
When you get home, repackage perishables into smaller quantities. Big packages of steaks or chicken breasts, for example, can be divided into daily portions and frozen until you're ready to use them.
Buy big and then split up the food and the costs with friends or family.
It's still possible to enjoy a special meal even if you can't afford to splurge on dinner at a restaurant. Feed your little one early and put them to bed. Lay the table properly, light some candles, choose a special new recipe and serve something delicious. It doesn't have to be expensive. You'll also save money on a babysitter, making your evening economical, as well as romantic.