As the cost of living continues to rise, more and more households are feeling the squeeze and are doing everything in their power to save money and bring their outgoings down.
We can all make sacrifices and cut back on luxuries here and there, but what happens when there are no more luxuries to cut back on? We’ve all heard the patronising talk on the news about ‘cancelling subscriptions’ and ‘getting cheaper mobile tariffs’, but in reality, that’s simply not enough.
One of our biggest outgoings is our food shop, and with the average grocery bill now up nearly 20% compared with this time last year, it’s not surprising to find that disposable incomes are declining rapidly.
We all need to eat however, so what do we do when our food is costing us so much? Well, with a little knowhow, we can bring our grocery bill down by as much as 25%, and here’s a look at how.
Set yourself a budget
One of the easiest and most effective ways of bringing your grocery bill down when food shopping is to set yourself a budget.
Before you do your shopping, be it online or at the shop itself, take the time to set yourself a budget.
Work out how much you can realistically afford to spend comfortably, and from there, use this to create your shopping list. If you have a set amount in mind for how much you want to spend you will only buy the essentials and won’t get drawn in by ‘special offers’ or other items that you don’t actually need.
Try online shopping
If you normally do your shopping in person, why not order your food online if you’re looking to bring your grocery bill down?
One of the great things about online shopping is the fact that you can keep tabs on how much you’re spending with each item to add to your basket. This means that when you go to checkout, you don’t get any nasty surprises like you might if you were checking out in a supermarket.
As you can see the price of each item, you can compare different products, and see your total spend as you add each item to your basket.
While you usually have to pay for a delivery slot, supermarkets often have monthly passes which can save you money on multiple orders. Considering the price of fuel and public transport, paying for delivery normally works out much cheaper too.
Store your items correctly
Buying in bulk is a great way to bring your grocery bill down each month, but the problem then, is finding room to store everything.
Pick up some cheap food storage jars or Tupperware and decant your items into them once you buy them. Bulk bags of rice and pasta for example, can be decanted and stored in airtight containers for months on end.
By organising how you store your items, and where, you can keep your cupboards neat and tidy while also reducing food waste.
Tupperware is also useful for batch cooking as you can cook your meals in advance and freeze them for months on end. Having meals ready to eat means you need to buy less food in the future.
Sign up for a loyalty scheme
Another fantastic way of bringing your grocery bill down each time you do a food shop is to sign up for a loyalty scheme.
Supermarkets provide loyalty cards which can help you to save a considerable amount of money when food shopping. Loyalty card holders can usually purchase certain items at a discounted price, or, accumulate points which they can redeem in the form of in-store vouchers.
If you have a favourite supermarket for doing your shopping with, signing up for a loyalty card really is a no-brainer, especially if you want to bring your grocery bill down each month.
Plan your meals
If you can find the time to get yourself a little more organised when planning your meals, you’ll save a considerable amount on ingredients when food shopping.
Meal planning for the week is useful because by knowing what you intend on cooking and eating, you know which ingredients to buy. This means that you only buy the absolute essentials, instead of buying items that you don’t actually need.
Embrace the cold with frozen produce
Anybody looking for an effective way of saving up to 25% on their grocery bill when they go food shopping needs to remember that frozen produce is the way forward.
Frozen food is considerably cheaper to buy than fresh, which is ironic because technically it is fresher, as it is frozen right away.
Frozen produce such as vegetables, meat, fish, and seafood tastes just as great as fresh, yet it costs considerably less. You also don’t need to worry about it turning bad or going out of date as it is naturally preserved in the freezer, where it will last for months!
Frozen produce is not only a good way of saving money while food shopping, it’s also great for cutting back on food waste.
Grow your own produce
People assume that you need a huge garden or an allotment plot to grow your own produce when in reality, you need a bit of soil or compost and very little space at all.
Fresh herbs for example, can be expensive from the supermarket and don’t last long, so why not grow your own? All you need is a small herb planter for the windowsill, or a plant pot, and a bit of compost. Simply keep it watered, harvest the leaves you need, and you should have fresh herbs on demand.
To be even thriftier, if you do have any fresh herb plants such as basil or coriander, instead of throwing the plant away when you’ve finished, simply plant it in a little more compost, water it, give it sunlight and warmth and it should begin to regenerate.
You can grow fresh vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes, in pots, or even bags. Over time, this will save you a lot of money. The produce will also likely taste nicer if it’s homegrown as well.