If you’re struggling to make ends meet, then your grocery bill might not be the first place you look when it comes to making savings – after all, you need to eat! However, if you make a list of all of the food that you throw out in a typical month, you might be surprised at how much you could save just by changing your shopping habits.
Here’s a few tips to help you cut costs without depriving yourself:
1. Meal Planning Doesn’t Have to Be Rigid
When most people hear the phrase “meal planning” they think of strict recipes and restrictive menus, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A simple, flexible meal plan can leave room for choices on a day to day basis, but save you money by ensuring that you have a sane shopping list.
Instead of deciding exactly what you’ll have for each meal, think more loosely. How much cereal do you eat in a week? How many days will you be taking a packed lunch to the office? How much stuff do you currently have in the freezer? Once you have a general idea of your plans and the state of your kitchen, you’ll be able to make a better decision as to whether buying three whole turkeys is a good idea, or whether they’ll go to waste because you forgot your freezer was full.
2. The Recipe Book is Full of Suggestions, Not Laws
When you got that new fitted kitchen you had dreams of whipping up culinary delights on those induction hobs, and impressing your friends with your spiffy zip taps. If you’ve found that things haven’t worked out that way, why not give cooking a second chance. This time, though, try cooking just for fun. Ignore the recipe book and its call for a quarter of a teaspoon of some herb nobody has ever heard of. Use what’s in your kitchen, and cook by taste and smell. You might be impressed by the results; and it will save you from having a spice rack full of ingredients you’ve used once, and never touched again.
3. Learn to Love Your Freezer
You can freeze almost anything: fresh milk (frozen milk cubes are great for cooling your coffee quickly), fresh meat, even home-made chilli. Cook up batches at the start of the week and freeze it to save yourself time and money.
4. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach
Shopping on an empty stomach is a good way to ruin your waistline and your wallet. Eat a meal before you shop and you’ll find that you’re less likely to be tempted by snack foods and special offers.
5. Try different brands
In many (but not all) cases, the only difference between a brand named product and a generic or store brand product is the label. You can save a lot of money if you opt for the store brand version, and won’t sacrifice any quality. Of course, this isn’t always the case. Try different brands occasionally (one or two products a week) until you know which ones you like and which you don’t.
About the author: This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of the Kitchen Appliance Centre who supply great cooking equipment like Zip taps and induction hobs. Please follow this link for more info.