The credit crunch certainly hasn't affected the amount we all like to eat. Children still expect their tea time treats and husbands like their dinners on the table – but with food bills rising by as much as 10% or more in recent months, how do we make that pound stretch as far as it used to?
The supermarkets are still making huge profits simply because food shopping is a necessity and other options are few and far between. But with just a little bit of forethought and shopping nous, it is possible to cut that shopping bill by as much as 30% or more.
Always work from recipes when deciding what to make for meals. Recipes will usually tell you exactly how much to buy for each person. You will only pay for what you eat and leftovers will be a thing of the past. Plus, ready made meals are always more expensive and less nutritious.
Make a list
Using the recipes as a starting point and scanning your cupboards before you go to the supermarket will save you hundreds of pounds over the course of the year. Having a list and sticking to it will stop those impulse buys and little extras which all add up.
Simply dropping by one brand can save a whopping 30% on your total bill. This means dropping from finest to standard, or from standard to economy. Many times the quality it just as good and with a little experimentation you will soon find which products taste just as nice. There will always be areas where the family refuse to accept the new brand. But when it comes to tinned foods, toilet paper or cleaning products; the cheaper option won't even be noticed.
Pick your times
If you shop at the end of the day you are more likely to find bargains. Find out from staff members the times when foods begin to be reduced and take advantage. Don't worry about the quality – bear in mind that if you had been there 10 minutes earlier you might have paid the full price. Buy foods which are close to their sell by dates and freeze them. If you find something which has a short shelf life and hasn't yet been reduced, find someone to do it for you.
Check your dates
If you have to buy foods which need a long shelf life, then don't be afraid to search in the back of the fridge or shelf for the longest possible date. What use is buying food which may well have to be thrown away before you get a chance to use it?
If you do have some leftovers at the end of the week, never throw them away. Old vegetables make great soups, throw some ham slices on a pizza or make dry bread into croutons or breadcrumbs. At the very least use your leftovers for your pets or in the compost.
Just using these few ideas could help you to save money in the supermarket, leaving a little bit extra to spend on the more important things in life. Like yourself!