Feeding a family can be incredibly expensive, and so taking back control of your weekly shop bill is something that just about all of us would benefit from. Maybe you’re on a budget and want to ensure you can make ends meet, or perhaps you’re just fed up of half your wages ending up in your stomach- or worse, the bin! Here’s how you can enjoy eating while spending less and reducing waste.
Create a menu plan
First things first, deciding what you’re going to be eating is extremely helpful. Get yourself a chalkboard and hang it in your kitchen, then you can create a ‘menu plan’ and hang it up so that everyone can see. Scour sites like Pinterest and recipe blogs for ideas, and consider cooking and prep times. If you have a particularly busy day during the week for example, go with a simple and easy to make dinner that evening. Or you could throw ingredients into the slow cooker that morning and by the time you get in from work it’s all cooked and ready to go. With a menu plan you know exactly what you need, you’re not buying too many ingredients which end up spoiled and thrown away.
Be aware of marketing
What does your local supermarket and a slot machine company have in common? They both know the way people’s minds work- they design layouts that appeal to people, and make them spend the most money possible. Whenever you step foot in your supermarket, wherever you look things will be cleverly placed to encourage you to spend more, from where the aisles are positioned within the store to most expensive items being displayed at eye level. We all love a good deal and discount, but these kinds of advertising will actually make you spend more money rather than save! An item might genuinely be at a fantastic reduced price, but if you’ve only bought it because it was on sale and wouldn’t have previously then you’ve spent money, not saved. Create a shopping list based on your menu plan, and stick to it. Be aware that offers at the ends of aisles are particularly good at grabbing attention, and although they seem tempting, discounts and offers aren’t always as attractive as they can seem.
Avoid big brands
So many of us are loyal to the big brands, it’s how they’re able to charge what they do. Research has shown over and over that in lots of cases, the ingredients are almost identical to cheaper alternatives and many are even made in the same factory. Of course, sometimes you will pay more for better quality but don’t just overlook cheaper products because you’re assuming they’ll be bad. Do some taste tests, consider swapping out at least some big brands in your weekly shop with less expensive varieties, you’ll save money and chances are you’ll barely notice a difference.