In the first part of our series on saving money in relation to food shopping and groceries, we start by looking at ways to save money before a food shop. We look at how you can prepare before you reach the supermarket so that you make your pennies go as far as possible.
Be prepared! Check your cupboards, fridge and freezer. See what food you already have in the house. Helps stop buying buying another tin of tuna if you already have four! I have done this many times, buying items i simply did not need. We ave all done it i imagine – suddenly discovering you have four tins of mustard at home for no particular reason. Make a list of meals you intend to buy ingredients for, and see what you already have. And when planning to use what you already have, use the stuff that will expire the earliest.
Many a time I have bought the correct food for the subsequent five days, then realised I would be away a day or eating out one night. So plan ahead, and be sure you know just how many meals need to be prepared and eaten at home that week. That way you buy just what you need, and nothing more. Plan for timings too. Do not decide to cook a complicated set of meals if you are having a super busy week at work.
It’s good to learn from why you have wasted money in the past. Why you ended up throwing food away, why you spent more than expected, and learn from it. Learn that sometimes you simply do not have the energy to cook, and plan accordingly. Have an emergency recipe left, be it as simple as beans on toast, or throwing a chicken in the oven. I have 2 chicken kievs ready for such an occasion. Better to eat them than order a takeaway. If you always end up binning salad bags or your kids always refuse certain foods – buy less, or don’t buy them at all.
Do you notice that you always turn to certain items in your food supply, whilst other stuff gathers dust? If so, then perhaps you need to alter how and what you buy. Next google recipes, for anything you really want to use up, so you can buy any extra ingredients needed. Try not to shop unless you need to, thus using what you have. Just because you’ve run out of something doesn’t mean you have to rush straight to the shops to replace it. No potatoes? Try rice or pasta instead. Run out of cereal or milk? Offer toast or eggs for breakfast. Always make a shopping list before you set off.
Elsewhere, walk to the shops so you are disciplined about just buying what you need, take any vouchers you may have with you to save money, take your own bags, pay in cash to add discipline further, and try and time your shop. go when there are offers on or a reduced aisle, and try not to go when you are famished!