10 Simple Ways to Cut the Cost of Your Grocery Shopping
The cost of groceries has risen sharply in recent years, with many families struggling to afford food and other essential items. Finding ways to save money on food and other groceries can make a big difference to household finances, enabling you to budget more effectively.
Fortunately, you don’t have to make big changes in order to feel the benefits of cheaper groceries. Here are 10 simple ways to cut the cost of your grocery shopping.
Make a List
Making a list of items you need to buy helps to prevent impulse purchases, which account for a significant percentage of the average household’s annual expenses. There are many free mobile phone apps available to help prepare and organize shopping lists, which you can then share with family members and synchronize across different devices.
Buy Loose Fruit and Vegetables
Pre-packed fruit and vegetables are more expensive than loose items, as manufacturers charge extra for cleaning, sorting, ripening and packaging their products. Save money by choosing loose fruit and vegetables and buying only as much as you need, as this also reduces wastage. Pre-packed products often lead to waste, as customers buy more than they really need and food tends to spoil before they can be used.
Choose Cheaper Cuts
Chicken legs, thighs, and wings are usually much cheaper than breast meat, while beef skirt, shin, and brisket offer cut-price options for beef dishes. While cheaper cuts of meat may require a little extra preparation or cooking time, the financial savings can quickly mount up. Experiment with different types of meat, offal, and fish to find the right cuts to suit your budget.
Switch to Frozen
Frozen vegetables and fruit are cheaper and often contain more nutrients than their fresh counterparts, as they are usually frozen soon after picking, helping to preserve their vitamin and mineral content.
Frozen meat and fish are also packed with nutrients and often just as tasty as fresh products. In addition, frozen foods can be stored for several months, reducing wastage and enabling you to keep a wide variety of products ready to use.
Cook in Batches
Cooking casseroles, stews, soups, and other dishes in large batches can save money and even help to conserve energy by reducing cooking time. Take advantage of discounts on large cuts of meat by cooking large dishes that will make several meals. You can then split the food into individual containers and freeze for later use. Microwave or gently heat the frozen dishes for an instant meal.
Beware of Promotions
Store promotions can offer significant discounts on some products, but not all promotions provide the best value. It’s important to compare promotional items with regular products to ensure you are getting the best deal.
Check the weight, as well as the price, of discounted items, as some stores and manufacturers reduce the weight of products before a promotion. In addition, you can use shopping comparison websites to see if other stores offer a better deal.
Raid the Reduced Produce
Most stores reduce items with a short shelf life, as they want to ensure a quick sale. Some stores reduce all eligible items at the same time of day, usually in the morning or late afternoon. Finding out when your local store reduces their produce can bring huge savings, as you will be able to pick up bargains with large discounts. Products with a short shelf life will need to be eaten or frozen straight away.
Make Meat Go Further
Meat is one of the most expensive food products, even when choosing cheaper cuts. However, bulking out your meat dishes with other ingredients can slash the cost of your grocery bill. Mushrooms, textured vegetable protein, breadcrumbs, beans, pulses, and vegetables can all help to bulk out dishes and reduce the amount of meat needed.
A little simple planning can help you stretch out meals for several days, such as this one chicken = 5 Meals.
There are thousands of websites dedicated to providing recipes for frugal shoppers, with plenty of advice available on cheap substitutions for expensive ingredients. Student forums can also prove extremely useful, as they are often full of ideas for low-cost meals. Research alternatives to popular recipes and look for healthy options to suit your family’s budget.
Shopping online enables you to search for the best offers and discounts on your groceries, while also reducing the risk of impulse purchases. Shopping online is also ideal for working families, as you can buy your groceries at any time of the day or night. In addition, you may be able to reduce the cost of your shopping by using third-party websites that offer vouchers, discount codes, cashback or loyalty points.
The rising price of food and other essential items has had a huge impact on many families, but there are ways to reduce these costs. Making just a few simple changes can make a significant difference to the cost of your grocery shopping, enabling you to budget more effectively.