Food is one of our biggest everyday expenses. The cost of foods vary all of the time, depending on crop growth and import charges, so you can easily find that even with careful planning, your food shopping total suddenly shoots up without warning. The average monthly food bill comes to around lb350, with some families so spending over lb200 a week, on what they deem essential food supplies.
With so many of us struggling for money, especially at this time of year, food is one of the first places you can look at cutting back to save some money. One thing that concerns many families when it comes to food budgeting is whether or not they will still be able to provide their children with a healthy diet, as it’s often healthier meals that are the most expensive. However, this isn’t something you need to worry about. It’s perfectly possible to feed your family a healthy and balanced diet while making cutbacks and sometimes saving huge amounts of money.
Meal Plan and Shopping Lists
We spend huge amounts of money on food, and unfortunately, a large portion of it is often wasted. Shopping without a plan means you buy lots of random ingredients, with no clear intention of doing anything with them. Sit down before you shop and make a meal plan for the week. Break each day down into meals and write a shopping list of the ingredients you need. First checking your stores, so you don’t buy anything that you don’t need. You can still add snacks and treats without planning, but don’t get carried away.
Eat Less Meat
Meat is one of the most expensive foods we buy. To save money, shop for cheaper cuts and frozen joints. But, you could also make a massive saving by cutting down how much meat you eat. Try some vegetarian meals, packed with vegetables. Or combine the two. Bulk meals like cottage pie out with a cup of lentils, so you only need half.
Grow Your Own
Growing your own food using a greenhouse is an incredibly good idea when it comes to saving money. Even if you’ve only got a small space, you could grow fruits in hanging baskets and get a window box for fresh herbs.
Shop the Reduced Section
Most supermarkets have a reduced section where they sell food that’s nearing its sell-by date at a cut price. Find out when your local store fills there’s and plan your shop around it. Don’t worry about having to eat things straight away; most purchases will last if you freeze them as soon as you get home.
When it comes to saving money on food, your freezer is your very best friend. As well as freezing your bargains, you can cook in bulk and freeze the extra for another day, but large joints of meat and freeze half and turn your leftovers into soups and stews, frozen for another time.
Just by making a few small changes to how you shop and cook, you can save a fortune over the year.