The way we shop for food and products for our homes is a great place to start when looking to trim some fat from your monthly spending.
We can be careless when it comes to food—and wasteful in particular.
With a little bit of thought, you could potentially halve your grocery bills every month.
Here are five ways you can cut back on your food shop bill.
Write a detailed list and plan ahead
This sounds obvious but there is making a list and there is making a list. First of all, think about exactly what you will eat this week for every meal. Then break down each meal by ingredient. Try to think of meals that will use leftovers or where ingredients will stretch beyond just one.
For example, if you buy a pack of eggs, have an omelette for dinner one night, then an egg sandwich for lunch on another day, and eggs for breakfast at some point.
You should also always thoroughly check your cupboards when writing your shopping list to see what you can use for meals that you already have in stock and to ensure you don't double up on any items.
Careful planning and writing a detailed shopping list will help you cut down on unnecessary purchases and food waste, saving you money.
Buy loose and only what you need
Now you know what you need, don't buy beyond that. Why buy a bunch of bananas when you only need one or two? It may be true that the per-banana price is cheaper on a bunch, but if you're not going to use them all, what's the point? Better to buy fewer bananas and spend less in total.
Buy loose fruit and veg and get your meat from the butcher rather than pre-packaged products to cut down costs and food wastage. What's more, stick resolutely to you list. Be disciplined—and that means no impulse buying.
Batch cook your meals and bulk buy
Having said that, there's no harm in bulk buying if you will use all of the product, because it is cheaper than frequent smaller purchases. It makes sense to bulk buy toilet rolls, for example, because you will need a constant supply of them.
Batch cooking meals is another great way to save money and get the most out of bulk buying. Freeze any portions you aren't eating right away and use them later on in the week or month for quick and easy meals. Money saved, no food wasted.
Cut down on your meat consumption
There are lots of good reasons to cut down your meat consumption, such as the health benefits and the harm intensive farming does to the climate. That meat is expensive relative to the alternatives is also a great reason.
If you can cut meat down in your diet, or even out, you'll save a lot of money on your food shop.
Use vegetarian or vegan alternatives to meat, or find delicious veggie recipes online. Try meat-free days.
If you do use meat in a meal, why not cut the amount down and bulk it out with something else? For example, you could blend quorn mince with beef mince in a lasagne, or use pulses such as lentils.
Stop letting brands fool you
It's not always the case that branded means best. In fact, a lot of the supermarket own brands use the same suppliers for their products as the big name brands.
Don't be fooled by the brands. Look for cheaper alternatives that offer the same product.
If your budget is tight, there's no good reason for sticking to the brands. Ditch them.