Thinking more carefully about the ways that you approach the purchase of food could end up saving you unexpected amounts of money. Try to take the following eleven tips into consideration if you are trying to spend less this month.
1) Buy in bulk:
You may find that some of your favourite items cost quite a bit less if you opt to buy them in larger quantities. Naturally, this strategy works best when applied to durable (as opposed to perishable) products. Good examples include boxes of tissues, packs of kitchen roll and cans of soup.
2) Look out for coupons:
You can find coupons in certain newspapers and magazines. Particularly useful coupons include ones that offer a ‘buy one and get one free’ deal on a useful product, and those that simply offer you a free item that may currently be on promotion at a local shop.
3) Cook more often:
Cooking meals from scratch could end up costing substantially less than regular restaurant meals. This may be even more likely if you learn to cook some new recipes that mainly involve cheaper ingredients (such as rice and certain fresh vegetables).
4) Stick to your grocery list when you are shopping:
To lower the likelihood of buying delicious but unnecessary items, write a shopping list before you go out and then be strict about adhering to it. This may also discourage you from buying cheap items simply because they’re cheap (as opposed to buying them because you truly need them).
5) Consider less famous brands:
Many shops sometimes stock their own versions of popular goods (such as cereal, soup and pasta sauce). These may be significantly cheaper in some cases, so they are worth trying in case you find them to be equally tasty.
6) Buy meat later in the day:
Some shops that sell meat will reduce the prices in the late afternoon, as the meat starts to approach its ‘sell by’ date. If you buy meat at reduced prices, you may save money by freezing at least some of it for later use.
7) Use leftovers to your advantage:
If you end up cooking more food than you really need for your dinner one evening, do not simply throw away the excess food. If you choose to store it in the fridge for use the next day, you can avoid buying something for lunch (saving the money that you would have spent on that extra meal).
8) Check for online deals:
You will sometimes find printable vouchers and codes that you can use to buy cheaper groceries or a more affordable meal at a restaurant. If you are vigilant about checking a range of websites for these deals, you could save a surprising amount of money on dinner dates and home-cooked meals.
9) Monitor the contents of your fridge:
Doing your best to avoid letting any food go to waste could also end up saving you money. It is a good idea to regularly check your fridge to make sure that you use any items that are just about to pass their ‘use by’ date. However, always avoid eating anything that smells or looks suspicious.
10) Compare prices:
Finally, remember that many shops will print the ‘price per gram’ of their items along with the overall cost. This allows you to check the prices they offer against the prices that are offered by competing stores. If you make this comparison for your most common purchases (as well as the ones that are typically the most expensive), you may end up saving quite a lot of money over the course of the month.
About the writer
Tyler McCarthy is a freelance blogger who writes business and personal finance articles on behalf of Wonga.com.