Help and advice

How to food shop on a budget

Since there's so little we can do about a lot of the money we have to spend, for instance our rent and mortgage is typically fixed and we can't do much about rising energy bills, food is one of the areas where we have some control over our outgoings.

Most of us will have already downgraded our regular supermarket in a bid to save money on the basics, but for those of us who are still struggling, there is still hope.

The rise of food bloggers such as Jack Monroe, who now writes for the Guardian and features in a Sainsbury's advert, shows the level of demand there is out there for budget tips and advice.

So what are the best ways to do food shopping on a tight budget?

Plan ahead

By far the best way to get the most out of your money when food shopping is to have a clear plan of what you need to buy.

Never hit the shops without checking your fridge, freezer and cupboards to see what you have in already, you'll be surprised just how often you buy things you already have.

By working out what you already have at home, you can start to think about the meals you'll be able to make. Then all you need to buy from the shops are the added instructions to cook up a storm in your kitchen.

We're all guilty of grabbing something on the way home from work or picking the kids up from school, a meal we know we can whip up quickly when we get in, but this can be an expensive way to food shop.

While it might sound boring, you can save a small fortune simply by planning the majority of your main meals in advance, so you only buy what you need.

And when you're heading to the shops, make sure you don't go on an empty stomach as this is when you're most vulnerable to picking up luxury items and snack foods you don't really need.

Be smart with leftovers

You might think buying individual chicken breasts is a clever move as this is the only specific part of the bird you want for your meal, but they are actually expensive purchased on their own.

You can often find you can purchase a good quality whole chicken for the cost of four breasts, and you're getting a lot more for your money.

Think about all the different meals you can cook with a whole chicken, rather than only having the breasts to work with. You'll have lots of chicken stock left over as well, while you're likely to have plenty of meat you can use for sandwiches as well.

While splashing out on a whole chicken can be eye-wateringly expensive, if you make sure you use as much of it as possible, you'll be getting great value out of your purchase.

Similarly, if you have leftover vegetables when you're heading out to do your next big shop, whip them up into a quick soup or a stew and freeze it, that way you'll have a few meals to hand if you're too tired or busy to cook from scratch one night.

You should be aiming to throw away as little food as possible and you'll soon get into the habit of checking your fridge and freezer contents meticulously to see what you need to use and when.

A few fairly easy changes can soon make a big difference to what you spend on food shopping.


© Axonn 2015