When it comes to daily life, there is no getting away from it – we need to eat! But what we eat and how much it costs, does have an impact on our life. Sadly, processed foods can be cheaper for us, but can have an effect on our overall health. But eating our weight in superfoods isn’t going to be good for us financially either. So where is the balance when it comes to eating well but not having to spend too much money? It can take some planning, but there are several ways that you can eat well and pay less. Here are some top tips for you to try next time you’re heading to the supermarket.
Write a Shopping List
Do you find that you’re just popping into the supermarket in the slot of time that you have free? You start with the basics, like bread and milk, but then what? You start to spot offers and products that you probably don’t really need. You will spend a lot more money on your groceries when you’re not sure what to buy. When you get it home, it might not make a meal, and then it means another trip to the shops and spending more money too. So take some time for meal preparation and writing out a shopping list. When you know what you want to buy, it is much more cost effective and saves you a lot of time too.
Check Your Cupboards
This can often be my downfall – not checking what I need. Or not buying what I do actually need! All because I didn’t check the cupboards. It can save you money to use up what you already have in. If you’ve got plenty of noodles or rice, then you only need to buy fresh meat and vegetables – or even invest in cook from frozen – for a quick stir fry or ramen. If you’ve got enough dried pasta in, then you need to just get ingredients for a sauce. Work the meals for the week around the things that you already have in your home. Plus, if you can batch cook and make several meals worth of food out of the same thing, then that it always a good idea. You could batch cook and freeze foods, or batch cook and then just eat the rest over the next few days. That saves a whole heap of money, though! So it is really worth looking at.
Offers Can Be Deceiving
In the supermarket, there might be some offers on that just sound great. But you need to take your time to see if it is really worth it. Offers do tend to only be on branded goods. So take, for example, a brand of condiments is on offer. A buy one get one free offer might sound amazing at face value. But when you get further down the aisle, a different brand or even the supermarket’s own brand is cheaper for two bottles in the first place. So don’t be succored in, just because they are left on the end plinth at the supermarket. Online shopping is quite a good way of sticking to your list and not getting pulled in by so many offers (if at all).
Frozen Food Is Your Friend
Frozen food doesn’t have the best reputation. Of course, things like chicken nuggets from the freezer don’t exactly scream healthy, but there are many freezer foods that are good for you and will cost you less. Frozen fruit and vegetables are often healthier for you. This is because they are picked right in their prime and immediately frozen. Fresh fruit and vegetables are often picked too early as they have to factor in the length of time for them to travel to the shops and still be good to eat. (Tesco have not long released frozen watermelon balls – perfect for a cheeky homemade slushie) So they often aren’t picked at their ripest and juiciest. So don’t forget about filling your freezer with frozen foods. Stir fry vegetables are another example. They are quick and easy to use and will cost less. Plus, the added bonus of no waste, as you can put the rest back in the freezer. No-brainer!
Where you can, bulk buying foods is a great way to save money. If you have a lot of basic ingredients in the house, and you only need to supplement with things like fresh bread or some vegetables, then it really does go a long way. Stock up on things that you can use to make meals from scratch. Things like chopped tomatoes, dried herbs, beans, pulses, and condiments. Who needs a store bought pasta sauce when you’ve got passata and balsamic vinegar? This all makes your weekly shop cheaper, and meals healthier food for you that isn’t processed or laden with added sugar.
Bulk buying your superfoods is also a good way to go. Things like coconut oil, nuts, dates, and cacao powder can cost a lot of money, especially if they are bought in the small packs that the supermarkets sell. So although they are good for you, it will end up costing you a lot of money. Instead, buy them in bulk. If you don’t have access to a large wholesale store, then buying online is a good way to go. It can save on postage when you do it this way too. Then you’ll have a large supply in, and they will last quite a while too.
Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry
The final point might seem quite comical, but the struggle is real! If you are hungry when you do your food shopping, everything you see will look good, and you’ll find more things in your trolley than you planned (and they are more than likely going to be the most unhealthy foods for you too, as that is what we do tend to crave). So the best thing to do is to not go at a time when you’re hungry. Go after you have eaten, like after your evening meal, for example. You should take your food shopping list along with you as well, to make sure that you stick to what you need, not what you feel like.