I often see people saying they can’t afford to eat healthily or do Slimming World because it is more expensive. I think in some ways it can be.
There are many ways you can reduce your supermarket bill and when you take into account how expensive ready meals and fast food that makes a difference too.
Here are my top tips for saving money when you do the shopping because it can be done I promise.
Money saving tips
Use your cards!
Always use your reward cards but be sure to check that the offers for extra points when buying things don’t tempt you to spend more than you would have done.
If even including the extra points it is more expensive do you really want it? Sometimes the extra points are a great way of treating yourself to something like waffle mix you might not have normally bought.
Often the extra points are actually really when converted only equivalent to pennies anyway, but 300 points always sound better doesn’t it?
Buy “World Foods”
Some items can be cheaper in the “world foods” section of the supermarket. This is common with tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and other beans etc, lentils, and many rice and pasta staples.
They are usually more unknown brands but at a fraction of the price definitely worth a try. Check out dry mushrooms and similar too.
Best before vs Use by
The best before date is a guide, not health advice. Meat has a use-by date because after this date (unless frozen) it can cause health concerns.
Fruit however has a best-before date and many fruit and vegetables are perfectly OK to eat after the date but they won’t necessarily be at their best.
Watch the eggs
Boxes of eggs have two dates, a sell-by date and a use-by date. You can often buy them cheaply on the sell-by date because the shops can not sell them after that.
The use-by date is usually a week after the sell-by date so if you use eggs regularly this saves money.
Don’t be loyal
If you have the time shop at different supermarkets depending on what you need. Prices can usually be checked online and buying items when they are on offer can make a difference.
I use an app called My Supermarket often which enables me to put a product in the search and it tells me the price each supermarket is selling at.
Cheaper stores like Aldi and Lidl can often be good too but watch out they are not always cheaper for everything!
Check pack sizes
This may seem obvious but a few times I have noticed that the larger packs labelled family packs are not always the better value.
Most Supermarkets display on the shelf label the price per kg. A quick look to compare these can show you which size pack is better value. Of course, only buy as much as you need though or you are wasting money.
Loose fruit and vegetables can sometimes work out cheaper than pre-packed too so worth checking.
Buy reduced fruit and vegetables
The reductions can be great buys, especially when buying whole fruit and vegetables that often last for a few days after the best-before date. Cut fruit and vegetables do not last as well.
Usually, you can see how good fruit or vegetables are just by looking at them. If you buy lots that need using up this recipe is a great way to use some.
Buy reduced meat, fish and dairy
Most of these products do need to be eaten by the use-by date to prevent health risks. These items can usually be frozen though so always worth buying if you see them cheap and putting them in the freezer for when you next need them.
Even cheese and yoghurt can usually be frozen. It can be worth portioning cheese up though so each time you only defrost what you need!
Ham is cheap and a great way to get protein into your diet if you have leftovers then this is a great recipe.
Buy what is in season
If you know what is on offer at one of your regular supermarkets it is always worth basing meals around that.
Before I plan a week’s food I often look online to see what the supermarkets have on offer as this can make such a difference. Some vegetables and fruit have huge variations in their prices throughout the year.
If it isn’t in season, do you really need it or could you swap it for something that is in season?
While I appreciate this isn’t a supermarket money-saving tip I feel it’s important to point it out. Local shops can be cheaper than the supermarkets and their prices often vary more week by week. Obviously, it is also nice to support small businesses too.
Swap for supermarket brands
The more expensive brands do not always taste better. Try the cheaper brands and you may realise you can save money without compromising on taste.
Passata and tinned tomatoes for example often taste very similar, especially when used in a recipe. There may be areas you just can’t compromise but there are bound to be areas that you can.
Wasted food is wasted money! Meal plan and then write a list before you set foot out of the door if you can. Otherwise, before you know it you have 6 bags of potatoes!
Buy frozen instead of fresh when you can, it is often just as good quality! Often it depends on what you are using it for but with a bit of experimenting and you can save money in the long term. It also helps to prevent food waste!
If you are grilling chicken will it matter if it was frozen or fresh chicken?
Ok, so this isn’t always that easy but keep an eye out for coupons for free products or discounts. Many supermarkets have their own free magazine available near the checkouts.
Sometimes these have vouchers so worth a look. Checking online too can sometimes find a good coupon or two, in newspapers etc or even on the back of products.
Don’t buy items just because of the voucher though unless it is definitely worth it though or you could end up spending more.
Get sent free goodies
If you email companies sometimes they will send you a sample of their products. Alternatively, some brands like to receive positive feedback and respond with freebies.
It is never guaranteed but always worth a try if you have time spare. Check their websites too as there are often sections where you can try a product for free.
Buy less of the expensive stuff
Instead of making a Bolognese with all mince use half and half of mince and beans or lentils, it can save a lot of money in the long run.
There are lots of meals you can bulk out with cheaper ingredients that make them just as flavoursome.
Buy herbs cheaply online and you will never have to buy those tiny jars for £1 again!
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