1. Write a shopping list
Draw up a weekly meal plan using up ingredients you already have and make a shopping list of any missing items. Only buy what you need.
2. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
People who shop when hungry are more likely to spend more, especially on less healthy foods, such as high-fat and sugary snacks.
3. Choose where you shop carefully
There is a significant range in the prices supermarkets sell their produce at. Shopping in low budget supermarkets can help you make significant savings. Local convenience stores are often more expensive than supermarkets. Some supermarkets offer a free delivery service when a certain amount of money is spent.
4. Waste nothing
Be strict about buying only what you’ll actually eat. Plan your meals so all the ingredients on your list get used. Freeze any unused food. Food storage bags and boxes will come in handy.
5. Save leftovers for the next day
Cook extra portions for your evening meal so you can have the leftovers for the next day or freeze them for another time.
6. Buy frozen
Frozen fruit and vegetables come pre-chopped and ready to use, are just as good for you and are often cheaper than fresh varieties, plus you don’t waste any. Frozen vegetables are picked at the peak of freshness and then frozen to seal in their nutrients.
7. Try cheaper brands
You could save money by buying cheaper brands, there’s not always much difference between value and premium ranges. Give it a go and let your taste buds be the judge, not the shiny label.
8. Eat more veg
Meat and fish are typically the most expensive food ingredients. Try adding vegetables to meat dishes like casseroles to make your meals go further. Or try a few vegetarian meals during the week to keep costs down.
9. Cook with pulses
Pulses, such as beans, lentils and peas, are some of the cheapest foods on the supermarket shelf.
These pulses are low in calories and fat but packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals, and also count towards your 5 a day. Use them in dishes to replace some of the chicken or meat, such as a chilli con carne with kidney beans or a chicken curry with chickpeas.
10. Freeze leftover bread
Bread is one of the most wasted household foods. Reduce waste by freezing bread, preferably in portions (for convenience) and when it’s at its freshest (for taste). Store bread in an airtight container (such as a freezer bag) to avoid freezer burn.
11. Know your kitchen
Know what’s in your kitchen store cupboard, fridge and freezer. You may find you have got enough ingredients to make a meal. Plan your week’s meals to include ingredients you have already got in and avoid buying items you already have.
12. Look up cheap recipes
Cheap does not have to mean less tasty. There are plenty of websites offering recipes for cheap eats and leftover ingredients. Check out Change4life meal mixers www.mealmixer.change4life.co.uk for some inspiration.
13. Cook from scratch
Save money by cutting back on takeaways. Preparing and cooking your own meals is generally cheaper than buying a takeaway or a ready meal, and because it’s easier to control what goes into your dish, it can be healthier.
14. Compare pre-packed with loose
Fruit and vegetables sometimes cost more pre-packed than loose. Check the price per weight (for example, £/kg). Also, pre-packed is not always the freshest and you may end up with more than you need.
15. Cut down on luxuries
If your regular shopping basket tends to include fizzy drinks, crisps, snack bars, biscuits and cakes, try trimming down on these non-essential items. Many of these are high in sugar, fat and salt.
Think about cheaper and healthier alternatives.
16. Beware of BOGOF offers
Special discounts, such as buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) deals, can offer good value, but be careful. Only buy items you actually need and are likely to keep and use. Tinned or frozen fruit and veg, or rice and pasta, are good examples.
17. Look out for end of the day offers
Most supermarkets discount fresh items towards the end of the day. If you time it right, the “reduced to clear shelves” can save you big money. But make sure the item gets used before the use by date and does not go off sooner than expected.