I recently shared a photo on my Instagram story of my fridge after a food shopping trip and was approached by a lovely follower asking if I could write up a post about effective food shopping. I have to say it was lovely to receive a post request and such a great one too, so thank you Rebecca over at aspirebelievemama (check out her blog).
So here are my tips for getting the weekly food shop done on a budget:
1. Make a meal plan for the week ahead
This is something I’ve always done. I have a notepad specifically for my shopping lists and the first thing I do is write out the days the week and what we’re having for dinner that evening. Just like this:
2. Write a list and stick to it
Again, something I have always done. It only takes 10 minutes as well. So, underneath my meal plan I start making a list of everything I need for those meals. For example:
On the back of my meal list I then make a list for the usual’s like: bread, milk, cereal, fruit, butter etc.
Writing a shopping list and sticking to it not only reduces food waste but keeps the cost down by only buying what you need. If it’s not on the list, don’t buy it even though it can be very tempting to be swayed to stray from the list sometimes (I’ve done it!).
Also make sure when writing your list that you check your cupboards, fridge and freezer in case you already have something you need. There’s no point in buying something if you’ve already got it in the back of the cupboard.
That is your shopping list complete. Take it with you to the supermarket with a pen and tick off the items as you put them in the trolley/basket. It’s that easy!
Here are some tips of mine for when you’re in the supermarket:
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry. We’ve all done it and we’ve ended up chucking in loads of junk food because we’re hungry and that’s what we fancy. Before you know it you’ve spent £20 on crisps, chocolate, sweets, cookies and cake that you’re going to go home and eat in an hour. Shopping when hungry means you are more than likely to stray from your list.
- Don’t be persuaded by special offers. Unless what you need is on offer of course, bonus! I love it when what I need is on offer.
- Buy in bulk. Sometimes it works out cheaper to buy in bulk, ok so you have to pay more in the beginning but if it means there’s enough to last you a few weeks then it will more than likely save you a few pounds in long run. The few pounds here and there adds up. Meat is one of the most expensive things on your shopping list so if you can buy in bulk then do it.
- Stay away from ready meals and jars. Not only is it obviously healthier for you to cook and make your own sauces, it can actually be cheaper too. Buying a tin of chopped tomatoes, herbs and stocks etc, can work out cheaper and will last you longer. You also get more which means there are leftovers to freeze for next week!
- Use scan and shop. If your supermarket offers the scan and shop, do it. It means you can keep an eye on how much you’re spending and know the total before you even get to the till. It will save you time also, no packing at the end of it.
- Shop around. If you have the time and patience, shop around. You’ll be surprised at the difference and the extra savings, no matter how small, will all add up.
- Buy toiletries separate from the food shopping. I think toiletries from the supermarket are ridiculously overpriced, especially deodorant. If you go to somewhere like B&M or Savers most toiletries are half the price of the supermarket.
- Try the shops own brand. There is absolutely nothing wrong in trying the shops own brand over branded food, especially things like dry rice and pasta. You’re going to cook it and add it with a sauce anyway, it all cooks and tastes the same in the end. Sometimes I find the shops own brand actually tastes nicer.
Those are all my tips for keeping the cost of your weekly food bills down. It works for me but what works for one doesn’t work for another. If you have any tips that I don’t already do then please share, I’d love to hear!