Making the leap to University means many students leaving home and leaving the comfort of home-made meals and food shopping done by our lovely parents. Whilst I chose to stay at home during my studies, here’s my top tips (with a little help from my dad) on how to save money on your food shop.
- Make a weekly meal plan
We usually plan our meals from Monday to Friday as these are the days when everyone in the house is busy with work/university. Changes can be made fairly easily to our lists as we try and stick to “base” ingredients such as mince allowing a variety of meals. I find this really effective as it allows us to ensure we use up everything in our stocks.
- Always take a shopping list
Before going food shopping, check the cupboards, fridge and freezer to effectively plan what you actually need to buy and make note of this. My dad never enters a supermarket to do the big food shop without a list in hand and will try and stick to this unless he sees the odd bargain reduction.
- Don’t shop hungry
Yes, I know it sounds like a bit of an odd one. However, entering a shop full of every possible food you could crave whilst hungry is a recipe for disaster which will probably overrule both of the above tips.
- Know your store reduction times
As I have a job in a supermarket part time, I’ve actively done and watched the reductions occur in store and you really can get some fantastic items with nearly 85% off. Many of these items, bread for example, can be bought and frozen as it is simply reduced due to its “display until” or “best before” date and NOT the “use by” date. Food can still be frozen to extend the “use by date” however which this article explains.
- Ignore the branding
Skip the branded products and try and lower cost own brand alternatives. I guarantee if the labels were covered on a branded tin of beans and a supermarket own brand, it would be almost impossible to tell the difference.
- Stick with basic ingredients
Instead of buying pre-made meals, buy the ingredients and make them yourself. This is something that we never used to do in our household but slowly but surely we’ve began making meals from scratch and have noticed this has saved us money. My dad often makes a larger batch at the weekend and then freezes the meals for throughout the week. If you’re struggling for some inspiration, my friend Josephine runs a fantastic food blog which is sure to get your creative juices flowing.
7. Start a spice collection
Start buying a few pots of spices from your local supermarket which can be added to basic meals to completely change the taste. Steer clear of the packet spices and buy the tubs instead as this is cheaper in the long run and they last for ages if stored correctly. Our favourites are mixed herbs, chilli flakes and paprika.
How do you save money on your weekly shop?