If you’re trying to cut back on your spending then perhaps one of the most important things to bear in mind is your food budget; while you may not need to go out every week, you do have to eat. This is where a lot of people slip up when planning their expenses, not thinking ahead and picking up what they fancy as they go along (first off: never go shopping hungry). However, fret not: there are a number of easy things you can do the save money on your weekly food shop.
- Make meal plans and stick to them
When you go shopping, it’s always tempting to impulse buy. However, if you plan out exactly what you want to eat for the week, put it all on a shopping list then stick by it while you’re in store, you’re far less likely to splurge it all away. The trick is to feel a certain degree of satisfaction in going: “Is it on the list? No? Never mind, then.”
- Get a loyalty card and collect coupons
These days most big supermarkets have loyalty cards, which are almost always free. As well as earning you points (and thus often money off) when you shop, loyalty cards also tend to net you a number of coupons and vouchers. While you can, of course, still get these as a regular customer, customers with loyalty cards tend to get better deals (and also those tailored to the particular items you buy). Planning your meals around what coupons you happen to have is also an excellent way to keep costs down.
- Stock up on cheap carbs
Getting your carbohydrates from such staples as rice and pasta is great as you can buy such foodstuffs in bulk for very little (check out the price of those huge sacks of rice and you’ll see what I mean). These can be made into a wide variety of incredibly cheap but tasty meals, depending on what you buy to go with them.
- Save – and reuse – your leftovers
If you’re tightening your belt then you definitely shouldn’t be throwing away food. Leftovers can be saved and reheated for future meals, or else taken to work in lieu of other, more expensive lunch options. On the subject of packed lunches, these save a lot of money; meal deals aside, a lot of store bought sandwiches, salads and similar are incredibly expensive, making it much more cost effective to provide your own.
Daniel Cole, a dedicated scrimper and saver, is writing for Vanquis Bank, credit repair experts.