Cooking is a huge part of my life. I do it not only for myself and my partner every day but for my own enjoyment.
Therefore, I spend a lot of time doing the food shop. I can’t even imagine the number of hours I have spent in stores and online, stocking up on my weekly essentials. However, my perspective towards food and what we consume has definitely shifted since the UK entered a tough economic period. Suddenly, I felt obliged to make every toilet roll last, and every clove of garlic count.
After a conversation with my colleagues, I was told that my weekly food bill was extremely low. Most of us live with our partners and have no children yet. So, my colleagues said they spent £100, £80 and even more every week, which surprised me. I’ve managed to cut mine down to a comfortable £50. This feeds myself and my partner, 7 nights a week, and 5 work lunches a week. I shared my tips with them, and now I am sharing my tips with you.
Here are the 6 ways that allowed me to cut my food bill back to £50 a week.
1. Meal Plan
Before you click off because you’ve read this on every other article, hear me out. Making a weekly meal plan and shopping in line with that plan, is probably the most important part of making your shopping more affordable.
When you plan each meal out in accordance with your schedule, you’re only shopping for those ingredients, and therefore, won’t feel the need to go out and ‘buy something for dinner’ every night after work.
You get exactly what you need, for each night and meal planning takes the stress out of not knowing what to eat on a Tuesday evening.
I sit down before doing my weekly food shopping and do a little table on my iPhone notes that just says:
This saves me money and stress, shaving pounds off my bill.
2. Switch to Online Shopping
This one is a game changer.
As an Asda shopper, I loved going into store and seeing all my options. However, it also left the door open for some serious impulse buying. I’d see things on the end of aisles, with big red labels marked SALE, and think ‘oooo that’ll be nice’. Ultimately, I didn’t need any of those items.
When I switched to online deliveries, I found it much easier to not get distracted by flashy promotions and discounts. Rather, I was a lot more inclined to just get what I need in my basket and check out. Using the search bar only leads me to the items I NEEDED, not the ones I might have WANTED.
Not to mention that this is a widely convenient option. For just a £2-£4 delivery charge, I can get it to my house at a time that suits me.
3. Store your Food with More Thought
Now, your freezer will be your best friend when it comes to saving money and reducing your food waste.
Got a spare portion of lasagne after dinner? Freeze it. Reduced loaf of bread on sale, buy and freeze it.
Freezing items is a great way to naturally preserve them, and plays a huge part in reducing the food you waste.
4. Cook Fresh, More
You wouldn’t believe the savings you make when you start making things from scratch. Simple things such as pasta sauce, pizza dough and even full meals become a lot cheaper when you start making them yourself.
A big one is cooked meat. Before, I would buy pre-packed, cooked chicken, costing around £3 per pack. However, now I buy cheap cuts of chicken, bake them myself, and season them up. Making the chicken myself is cheaper but also gives me more for my money. The packs of cooked chicken are too small to sustain a family, even two people.
5. Look High and Low, and Scroll Further!
Supermarkets are run by very clever people, who know how to get you to spend more and more.
This is why they place the more expensive, branded products at eye level so that they’re the more visible ones. For example, Napolina canned tomatoes are usually central in the shelf, whereas the value tin (that’ll do the same thing), is placed further down and somewhat hidden.
When you go shopping, be sure to scan those bottom shelves for all the best prices, or if you’re online, make sure you scroll further to find the bargains.
6. Make the Most of Reward Schemes
Now this one came about for me when Asda started their ‘pounds not points’ initiative. This is where you actually earn money back when you shop. There are no £1 = 100 points, it’s just ‘You’ve added £2.89 to your Cashpot’.
This then can be converted into vouchers, that will get you money off your shop. When I found this scheme, I thought there has to be a catch or a but. However, I was wrong. It truly just is collecting money off your shop. No catch.
So sign up for all the loyalty schemes of your supermarkets. It’s free, easy and may just shave a lot of money off your grocery bill.