10 Easy Ways to Cut the Cost of Your Weekly Shop
Wandering around the supermarket, throwing everything that takes your fancy into the basket, is all fun and games until you get it to the till. Whether it happens to you every week or only when you're tired and hungry, we've all experienced the weekly food shop that cost twice as much as expected, and still didn't translate into a balanced meal.
If this is a regular occurrence in your house, or you just need to cut back on your spending, there's no need to panic. There are plenty of little changes you can make to easily cut the cost of your weekly food shop and our guide shows you how.
1. Plan It Out
Your first weapon against blowing the budget on your weekly food shop is proper planning. Start off by checking the cupboards for things you already have in stock and work out what extra ingredients you need to make meals out of them. Then you can write a list of all the things you need to buy, which will not only make sure that you are prepared for the week ahead, but also stop you buying things you won't use. This little change will make a big difference both to the cost of your food shop and the amount of food you waste each week.
2. Shop Around
Supermarkets are big business because they are so convenient, but you can often get a better deal on food if you're willing to shop around. Whether you pop to the local fishmongers to buy just as much cod as you need for your curry or buy your non-branded basics from a cheaper supermarket, shopping around can often result in spending less. Plus, you might find that you get better quality or more authentic products, such as spices from the Asian supermarket.
3. Switch Down a Brand
Switching down a brand is a great way to easily save a bit of money on your weekly shop. Often there is no noticeable difference between branded and non-branded when it comes to things like tinned tomatoes or bananas. Many products are even made in the same factories, just with slightly different ingredients and different packaging. If you can't tell the difference between branded and basics rice, then there's little point in spending the extra money for the branded version.
4. Shop the Whole Store
Sometimes products can be in two different locations and you're missing out on the cheaper option if you just stick to your usual aisles. World food aisles, for example, often have things like spices and speciality goods at much cheaper prices than elsewhere in the shop. Similarly, instead of buying snack-sized portions of dried fruit or nuts, you can buy a larger bag at a more economical price in the bakery section and divide them up. It takes a little bit more effort, but it's a great way to cut the cost of the little luxuries.
5. Don't Go Hungry
The best time to go and do your weekly food shop is after a filling meal. That extra-large bag of crisps is never going to look more tempting than when your tummy is rumbling up and down the aisles. Having a full stomach will make it easier to stick to your shopping list and not get tempted into buying those olives you've been sampling at the deli counter.
6. Do the Maths
It can be easy to be tempted by a good deal, but you need to make sure you've done the maths before you load up on an exciting multibuy. A quick calculation will soon tell you whether two-for-two-pounds is really better than 99p each, so you can make sure you're actually saving money. Even when something is a great deal, if it is likely to go off before you get chance to use it, you could end up wasting money.
7. Time It Right
Supermarkets make reductions on products that are nearing their use by dates at the same times each day. If you time your shop right, you can get first choice of a whole host of products at a cut price. This is perfect for making last-minute meals a little cheaper, or even for finding things that can be popped in the freezer. Just make sure you're going to be able to use what you buy, or they can end up adding to the cost of your food shop by being wasted.
8. Size Matters
Make sure that you compare amounts when it comes to choosing between two versions of the same product. It can seem like one shampoo is cheaper than another, but when you look a little closer, the bottles aren't the same size and you can end up paying more for less. Many supermarket shelf labels have a cost per 100g value on them, which can help you decide which product is cheaper more easily.
9. Quality vs Quantity
In some areas, you might find that you actually save more money by going for a higher quality rather than a cheaper option. If you buy a mature cheddar cheese, you often don't need to use as much of it to get a strong flavour as you would with a milder, cheaper option. Working out where to save and where to spend is key when it comes to reducing the cost of your weekly shop.
10. Make It Last
When it comes to saving money on food, your hard work doesn't end once you've left the supermarket. UK households waste a collective £12billion worth of food every year, it's clear that one way we can save money on our food shop is to make it last. Check that your fridge is cold enough and consider investing in a vacuum sealing system to extend the shelf life of your food.
If you want to keep down the cost of your weekly food shop and make your food last longer once you get it home, why not check out FoodSaver's full range of vacuum sealing solutions?