If you have to feed a family, then there’s a good chance you’re no stranger to the high cost of food. Even a small household can pay a fortune for meals if couples aren’t careful. To keep grocery costs down, follow this guideline. Although these steps will require a little skill, effort and extra time, they’ll help you save a bundle to use for other things - a last-minute summer holiday, perhaps?

Plan ahead

If at all possible, plan your meals for the week in advance, and do one large grocery shop instead of daily stops at the store. Having the food in your fridge for designated dishes will help you resist the temptation to skip healthy, home-cooked meals and get takeaway instead.

When planning your meals for the week, look for a few shared ingredients to trim costs, rather than getting an entirely unique set of ingredients for each dish. For example, if you need a bit of fresh ginger for a Thai stir fry, consider using the rest in a dessert. Don’t let anything go to waste.

Make use of the market

Stop by your local market for local fruit, veg and meats. Not only are these items likely to be fresher than what you’d find at the supermarket, they’ll be cheaper, too. Buying locally sourced items means you won’t have to pay for high transport costs, unlike when you purchase groceries shipped in from remote rural areas of the UK or Europe.

Buy in bulk

When it comes to nonperishable items, it just makes sense to buy in bulk. Larger sizes have a lower price per unit, and for items you know you’ll eventually use, like pasta, canned goods, cereal, beans, nuts and dried fruit, this is the most economical option. Avoid single serving packets, prepared and prepackaged foods, as these are generally marked up because of their convenience. Take the extra time to buy in bulk and portion things out at home - it’s worth the extra effort!

Limit processed and cured meat

Not only will you save money by avoiding processed meat, you’ll also protect your heart health and possibly trim your waistline to boot.

Become a better cook

Cooking is much cheaper than buying prepared foods and takeaway, so work on improving your skills to minimise the cost of food. Even if you are a terrible cook, it’s an essential skill well worth perfecting. Chances are you’ll find the process very fulfilling.

Stockpile sale items

Keep an eye out for sales on products you regularly use, like shampoo, shower gel and toothpaste, as well as popular non-perishables. Whenever they go on sale, stockpile them for future use. You’ll thank yourself later.

Switch to basics

Be honest with yourself - do you really need premium beans, rice, yoghurt, et cetera? Where possible, switch to basic store brands. The difference in quality is negligible in most cases. Although it might not seem like you’re saving much per item, you will definitely notice the difference in overall food costs.

© Axonn 2015