I heard a shocking statistic the other day; 1 in 5 people can no longer do their grocery shop without getting further into debt. This article in the Guardian outlines the struggle that many families are facing, and it’s not just the unemployed. Food prices are rising while wages are falling or remaining stagnant.
One of my focuses this year has been to find ways to cut the monthly outgoings whilst maintaining the same standard of living. Food is one of our main pleasures, we don’t really drink or go on outrageous nights out but we do enjoy home comforts and really good food. I love cooking and I’m not a fan of compromising on quality. I wrote about some of my money saving grocery tips here. I’ve written a few more below.
1. Shop alone or from home
It’s all about impulse buys. You see something you fancy and you buy it even though you don’t need it. You go shopping with three other people and you do that x 3. The more often you enter a shop the more opportunity for impulse buying. Shopping alone is a good start, shopping from home is even better as you don’t have the sight and smell temptation that you get in store.
2. Focus on unit price
Supermarkets are designed for maximum profit, as are the deals they offer eg. multibuy, bogof etc. The only way to work out the best deal is to focus on the unit price. This is easy online from home as you can quickly scan multiple options and weigh up unit prices. If I have no preference on quality on certain items then I will look at the unit price. If I see a good deal and am considering stocking up I’ll work out the unit price first to make sure it really is a good deal.
3. Get paid to shop
If you have favourite shops make sure that you are maximising your benefits. I do a lot of shopping at Sainsbury’s and my Utility Warehouse cashback card gives me 3% back, if I add that to my Nectar card benefits it means I’m getting the best possible value for that particular shop.
4. Online discount stores
I stumbled across Approved Food when I clicked through via someone else’s link. I’m often called the food snob in my family so I was a bit hesitant but I decided to give them a go and have been really impressed. I predominantly stock up on dried goods and household stuff. Some stuff is short date or passed the best before date, however everything is perfectly edible and some would argue that it’s unethical to allow perfectly good food to go to waste. It’s your call on how far down that path you are willing to go.
5. Stock up on meat
Meat is the most expensive part of our food shop and so I look for larger joints that are on sale where the unit price (per kg) is at its lowest. I’ve only just started doing this and I’m hampered a bit by a small freezer but it is a very economical way of doing it.
6. Cook to create leftovers
It started out with just being creative with unplanned leftovers. We started enjoying the leftover meals so much that I now cook more veg, potatoes and meat than I need for a dish specifically so I have lots of ingredients for leftovers. If you’re looking for inspiration in this department I think Nigel Slater is the king of cooking with leftovers. The picture above is of my latest leftovers, goats cheese champ, I’m addicted!