Save Money on Your Food Bill
With food prices going up and other demands on our wallets, many people are feeling the financial pinch at the moment. But there are a few simple techniques which can help to bring your weekly food bill down.
Make A Meal Plan
First of all, make a meal plan. Sit down and plan what you will eat for a whole week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Work out what ingredients and foods you will need to prepare these meals.
Next, go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards, assess what you already have and make a list of what you need to buy. This should reduce wastage and thrown away food.
Drop A Brand
At the supermarket look for the cheapest products on your list. Try dropping a brand. If you normally buy an expensive brand, try the supermarket’s own brand. If you normally buy the supermarket’s own brand, try value.
Many people turn their noses up at value products, assuming that they will be nutritionally deficient. But comparing the ingredients on a pack of value food and its brand name equivalent can give surprising results: the ingredients can sometimes be similar or even identical. Always check the packaging on branded and value products, it’s important not to add high levels of sugar or salt to your diet. Sometimes the value versions can even have lower levels of salt and sugar than their expensive counterparts.
So it’s always worth checking out. Value food may taste better than you think. If you never try it, you’ll never know.
Do The Maths
Take a calculator with you and check out whether those special offers and BOGOG’s are really saving you money. Sometimes a discounted brand product can still be more expensive than its value equivalent.
Going to the supermarket at the end of the day can be beneficial as many fresh foods are discounted at this time of day.
Fruit and vegetables can be cheaper at your local market or a farmers market than at the supermarket, so if you can get to a market reasonably conveniently, then this would be worth checking out.
Buy fruit and vegetable which are in season, as these will be cheaper. Root vegetables are generally good value, especially potatoes which will make many nutritious, tasty meals.
Tinned and frozen vegetables are still nutritious, will probably be cheaper and may cut down on wastage, as fresh produce can go off quickly.
Learn How To Cook
You don’t have to be a cordon bleu chef, but learning a few simple cooking skills could save you a lot of money.
For instance an omelette is relatively easy to cook, eggs are reasonably good value and it makes an excellent meal.
Raw ingredients are cheap compared with ready prepared meals. For example, by cooking shepherds pie yourself instead of buying a ready made frozen version, you will save a lot of money and I guarantee it will taste a lot better.
Similarly, don’t buy ready-grated packets of cheese, grate it yourself. Don’t buy washed salad in packets, buy a lettuce and wash it yourself.
A whole chicken is cheaper than buying chicken breasts on their own and if like my family, some prefer breast meat and others legs and wings, then a whole chicken can make a meal for the whole family. If there are any leftovers don’t throw them away, put them in the fridge when cool and you can make delicious chicken sandwiches. You could even boil up the carcass to make soup if you want to be really thrifty.
For some really easy recipes and tips visit the website behind Jamie Oliver’s campaign aimed at getting the nation cooking.
Try a Discount Supermarket
It may be worth checking out a discount supermarket. Lidl and Aldi have become much more popular since the recession started, so it may be worth your while to check them out and see how shopping there can save you money.
However remember this: if you have to drive miles to reach a discount supermarket, your spend on petrol may outweigh your savings on food. It pays to do the maths!
By following these tips, I know you can save money on your food bill. Some basic cooking skills, some meal planning and some careful shopping around are tactics which anyone can use, and you may even find that you enjoy cooking and hunting down bargains!