On average the average UK family wastes between a third to a half of all the food it purchases.
Plan Your Meals
When it comes to food shopping at the market, supermarket or local shops, don’t take it for granted it’s easy to know where to find the best prices. Just as assuming that a discount brand is always going to be cheaper than a known brand, it’s not always so straightforward.
So the more you plan the more you can make savings, and potentially the more balanced and healthier your meals can be.
Planning saves you money in several ways, by minimising or eliminating food waste and maximising the use of leftovers to become part of future meals.
One approach people take is to use online recipes which state how much the meal costs, this can be misleading though. From what we have seen many of these only manage to achieve their total cost by purchasing their ingredients from various different supermarkets, which is fine if they are all close by and you have the time to go to different ones.
One potential way of making this process easier is by using http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/ which allows the searching of ingredients and offers from several supermarkets. It is restricted though, as local shops and markets are inherently not included.
One way of making it easier to meal plans and get prices is to use a single supermarket, Tesco enables people to create a plan for a week of meals, as do Asda. There are also a range of apps for smartphones that do a similar job.
Some of the apps urge you to check your fridge and cabinets to see what you already have. There are usually a lot of foods hidden in the back that can be used.
Only plan to purchase what you know you’re going to use, so that you don’t end up throwing away a lot of what you buy.
Stick to Your Shopping List
Once you’ve planned your meals and made your grocery list—stick to it. It’s too easy to get sidetracked in shops, which can lead to unintended, expensive purchases.
As a general rule, try to shop the perimeter of the supermarket first. This will make you more likely to fill your basket with whole foods.
The middle of the store often contains the most processed and unhealthy foods. If you find yourself in these aisles, look to the top or bottom of the shelves rather than straight ahead. The most expensive items are usually placed at eye level.
Know what Best Before and Use by dates really mean
A Best Before date is about food quality a Use By Date is about food safety, given it’s stored correctly. Many people throw away food that’s perfectly fine to consume as they don’t understand the differences between these two dates. For detailed information go to:
Cook at Home
Cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out.
Make it a habit to cook at home, rather than eating out at the last minute.
You can feed an entire family of 6 for the same price as buying food for one or two people at a restaurant.
By cooking yourself, you also gain the benefit of knowing exactly what is in your food.
Cook Large Portions and Use Your Leftovers
Cooking large meals can save you both time and money.
Leftovers can be used for lunches, in other recipes or frozen in single-portion sizes to be enjoyed later on.
Leftovers usually make very good stews, stir-fries, salads and burritos. Freezers are particularly good for utilising freezers, go to https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/article/be-freezer-hero
Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry
If you go to the shops hungry, you are more likely to stray from your shopping list and buy something on impulse.
When you’re hungry, you often crave foods that aren’t good for you or your budget.
Try to grab a piece of fruit, or other healthy snack before you go to the store.
Buy Whole Foods
Some foods are much cheaper in less processed form.
For example, a block of cheese is cheaper than shredded cheese.
Whole grains, like oats, are also cheaper per serving than most processed cereals.
The less processed foods are also often sold in larger quantities, and yield more servings per package, this is especially true for pulses like lentils.
Buy Generic Brands
Most stores offer generic brands for staple products.
All food manufacturers have to follow standards to provide safe food. The generic brands may be the same quality as other national brands, just less expensive.
However, read the ingredient lists to make sure that you’re not getting a product of lower quality than you’re used to.
Stop Buying Junk Food
Cut out as much of the junk food from your diet as possible.
You would be surprised to see how much you may be paying for pop, crisps, biscuits, pre-packaged meals and processed foods.
Despite the fact that they offer very little nutrition and are packed with unhealthy ingredients, they are also very expensive.
<p”>By skipping the processed and unhealthy foods, you can spend more of your budget on higher quality, healthier foods.
Replace Meat With Other Proteins
Eating less meat may be a good way to save money.
Try having one or two days per week where you use other protein sources, such as beans, seeds, eggs or canned fish.
These are all very inexpensive, nutritious and easy to prepare. Most of them also have a long shelf life and are therefore less likely to spoil quickly.
Shop for Produce That Is in Season
Local produce that is in season is generally cheaper. It is also usually at its peak in both nutrients and flavour.
Produce that is not in season has often been transported halfway around the world to get to your store, which is not good for either the environment or your budget.
Also, buy produce by the bag if you can. That is usually a lot cheaper than buying by the piece.
If you buy more than you need, you can freeze the rest or incorporate it into next week’s meal plans.
Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits, berries and vegetables are usually in season only a few months per year, and are sometimes rather expensive.
Quick-frozen produce is usually just as nutritious. It is cheaper, available all year and is usually sold in large bags.
Frozen produce is great to use when cooking, making smoothies, or as toppings for oatmeal or yogurt.
Furthermore, you gain the advantage of being able to take out only what you’re about to use. The rest will be kept safe from spoiling in the freezer.
Reducing produce waste is a great way to save money.
Buy in Bulk
Buying some foods in bulk quantities can save you a lot of money.
Grains, such as brown rice, millet, barley and oats, are all available in bulk.
They also keep for a long time, if you store them in airtight containers. This is also true for beans, lentils, some nuts and dried fruit.
These are all staple foods that are relatively inexpensive and can be used in a variety of healthy meals.
Grow Your Own Produce
If you can, it is a great idea to grow your own produce.
Having a continuous supply at home, or allotment plot saves you money at the shop.
Home-grown produce often tastes a lot better than the shop-bought varieties. You can also guarantee that it is picked at the peak of ripeness.
Pack Your Lunch
Eating out is very expensive, especially if done regularly.
Packing your lunch, snacks, drinks and other meals is less expensive and much healthier than eating out.
If you have adapted to cooking large meals at home, you’ll always have a steady lunch to bring with you without any additional effort or cost.
It does require some planning, but it should save you a lot of money at the end of the month.