I love food. I just love it. But because I love it so much I get asked how I afford to cook such delicious meals like the rosemary steaks I made, or my very rich Hummingbird Cake, on a shoestring budget (because let’s be honest that’s all I have left once I’ve paid my rent.) But, as people like Jack Monroe have proven time and time again, you don’t have to spend a lot to cook a delicious, and more importantly healthy, meal.
But we all know that supermarkets are a trap. Everything is laid out a certain way to get us to spend more, so here are my Top 5 Tips to save money when you go food shopping – to make sure you’re not stuck buying all the expensive shit.
Never food shop hungry
This is the cardinal rule of food shopping – its so obvious it’s silly, but a lot of people don’t even think about. When you’re hungry and you’re in the supermarket you tend to pick out quick, snack-y food that is high in sugar and bad for you. Don’t believe me? There was even a study about it.
Plan your meals in advance
Wonder how your mum (or dad, this is 2015 after all.) manages to cook for the entire family without breaking the bank? Planning. Similarly to my first point, if you don’t know what you’re looking for in the supermarket, you’ll pick up any old thing that catches your eye.
But if you plan your meals, you’re onto a winner. Especially if you reuse ingredients for most days in the week and ensure that there is little to no food waste.
Look in the cupboards first
This kind of carries on from the last point, but look in your cupboards before you set off to the shops. There’s no point leaving that tin of beans or jar of paste in the back of your cupboard for 10 years. Look at ways you can use it up, otherwise it’s wasted money.
Take a set amount of money with you.
Personally, I think this is the best way to save money. So many people I know, especially those around my age, aren’t really aware of how much they’re spending when they shop – they just hand over that magic plastic card and tend not to think about the figure. I know I did. Sometimes I didn’t even listen to how much the bill was, I just paid and left without thinking about it.
But now money is tighter, I stick to an iron clad budget. This ensures I don’t spend more than I want to and that I’m more aware of how much items cost me. This means I’m constantly totting up how much I’ve spent and what my current total is. This adds an extra layer of difficulty, as I tend to get embarrassed if I get to the checkout and I haven’t got enough to cover it, so I usually spend 20% less than I take, just in case I get my maths wrong.
You don’t always need a basket
This was a classic tip I picked up at University. When I went shopping, I would never pick up a basket or a trolley. This developed from the fact that I didn’t have a car and had to walk uphill from the local Aldi to my house, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t have more than I could carry. But then it started to serve a dual purpose, as I spent a lot less too. If it was a choice between that box of snacks or a pack of pasta, I would obviously pick the pasta and leave the sugary snacks in the shop.
Are there any tips or tricks you can think of? Have I missed anything glaringly obvious? Let me know below.