Does it seem as if food shopping takes up all your money, leaving you little for treats for either you or the children? It doesn’t have to. It’s been estimated that the average family throws away £35 worth of food every month — think of what that could be better spent on.
It isn’t difficult to economise, and it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality, either. Just follow a few simple tips.
Planning & Budgeting
There are various strategies for budgeting, but perhaps the best is to pay for everything by debit card. This has the advantage that, if your shopping comes to £53.78, you don’t take out £60 and fritter the change away. Of course, you’ll need to keep an eye on your spending, perhaps with a spreadsheet.
Always plan ahead, ideally making a meal-plan for the week. That way, you can buy precisely what you need, rather than buying at random. Check what you already have in your cupboards or freezer, and make a list.
Shopping & Storing
Don’t assume you always have to buy the big-name labels. Sometimes it genuinely does make a difference, but often all you’re paying for is the name. At least try out cheaper labels to see if they’re as good.
Also, keep an eye open for price reductions — but don’t use that as an excuse for impulse-buying. And, if at all possible, don’t take the children shopping with you. It’s far easier to stick to your list without them pestering you for this and that.
If you’re not going to use perishable food at once, store it in the freezer to avoid it going off. Also, keep an eye on use-by dates. If something is coming to the end of its life, either use it or freeze it.
Meals are usually cheaper if you cook them yourself, rather than spending over the odds on takeaways or ready meals. And don’t turn up your nose at using leftovers to make a new meal. If you’ve cooked too much chicken, for instance, you can make a risotto or stir-fry, for instance, out of what’s left.
It’s important, though, to watch the quantity you cook, as not everything can be reused, and you don’t want to be throwing away food after the meal. Make a realistic estimate of the portions you’ll need, and cook just that.
Following simple procedures like these can produce a surprising difference to the money you have left over at the end of the month. For more advice on streamlining your budget, you’re very welcome to contact us.