I love food. I mean, I really love food. So, for me, food shopping is one of my joys. Trotting happily around the aisles of a supermarket with a trolley ready for me to ‘Supermarket Sweep’ a whole range of goodies in makes me happy.
But, the side effect of being a Beast Who Loves A Feast is that when I reach the tills and the cashier tells me how much I’ve spent, my heart sinks into my boots as I realise I probably over-bought. Again.
So, when there are so many delicious, tempting products on the shelves, how do you avoid buying too much and start to save money on food shopping?
Check what you have at home
So simple but something I rarely used to do as I was lazy/forgetful/went shopping straight from work. Take a few minutes to look in your fridge/freezer/cupboards and see what you already have and what you’re running out of; that way you can avoid doubling up.
Write a list
Retailers aren’t stupid and they utilise psychology to increase sales by placing products very specifically throughout the store to encourage us to buy more. By writing a list and buying only what is on the list, ignoring the “Buy Me!” deals and strategically placed offers, you will save a considerable amount of money.
Plan your meals
Essentially another list (I bloody love a list, I do) but meal planning is definitely the way forward when it comes to saving money. Before you go shopping see what you already have at home and write down what meals you’re going to have each day for the rest of the week. This enables you to buy only the ingredients needed and avoid wastage of both money and unused food.
Avoid ‘top-up’ shopping
This is where people tend to spend the most money without even realising it. It’s so easy to pop to the shops and end up buying more than you intended, so try and cut this habit out of your routine – this is where meal planning works really well as, in theory, you should have everything you need.
A great way to avoid the psychological tricks those sneaky supermarkets use – if you’re shopping from the comfort of your own home you can’t see their eye-catching, mouth-watering displays and can focus on buying only what you need. Of course, delivery will usually have a cost involved, but for those of us with very little spare time, this is a great time-saver as well as helping to keep a few more of your pennies safely tucked up in your pocket. (Cashback websites like Quidco and Top Cashback sometimes offer incentives for online supermarkets, so it’s worth checking them too!)
Use your freezer
Get into the habit of freezing items if you’re not going to use them straight away. It will keep your food fresh until you want them and actually locks the goodness in to a lot of products, meaning they will last longer. Another top tip is that if you buy any meat or fish in a large batch, divide them up into portion sizes and freeze.
Check the ‘use by’ dates
If you’re buying something that is perishable, when you pick it up off the shelf, check the Use By date on it. I’ve made the mistake many a time of buying something and only realising when I got home that it had just a few days of life left in it.
I’m by no means a saint when it comes to food shopping and I could definitely do with being a bit more strict with myself, so I plan to stick to these rules in the future and see how much money I can save.
If you have any more top tips for cutting back spending on your food shopping, please let us know in the comments below, anything that saves us a little cash has got to be welcome, right?
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