When you’re eating healthily, it can seem like your food shopping bill raises considerably. The truth is, you’re probably just spending more in one go but will likely spend less in the long term.
When you’re not weight loss conscious, you likely spend more on those coffees during the day or the weekly takeaways instead of cooking your own meals.
But that still doesn’t help when you’re shopping on a budget. You want to keep your food shopping costs to a minimum and that means making the food last. Here are some simple tips to help you right now.
Bulk Buy and Freeze Portions
We spend about £20 a month on meat. How do we do that? Well, we bulk buy and then freeze them in the portion sizes.
We opt for the Morrisons three for £10 deals and look at the reduced sections whenever we’re in the store or at Asda or another supermarket. Doing this helps to keep our spending to a minimum just to begin with.
When we get the food home, we freeze everything in portion sizes for the two of us. That means opening the packets and using cling film to wrap them. We’ll even make larger meals than normal and freeze portions for later on in the week or month.
The last time we did a meat shop was two weeks ago and we still have a drawer full of meat to use up. Part of the help comes from not eating meat with every meal, but that still doesn’t account for the four to six weeks that the £20 portion lasts us.
Use Up Your Food First
Try using up all the food in your house before you do a shop. This is great if you’re shopping on a budget because you limit the waste.
If you don’t use up the food, it will likely sit at the back of the fridge and then go mouldy.
Struggling with ways to use it up? Try making a leftover stir fry with anything that is about to go off. You could also make a casserole or stew with your vegetables. Bake your fruit in pies and crumbles—there are plenty of weight loss friendly options to help your shopping on a budget.
Do the same with the freezer section. Just because its frozen doesn’t mean it will last forever. It just means it will last longer than the fresh stuff. Make sure those frozen vegetables and last month’s meatballs are used up before you buy more.
Make a List First
Making a list doesn’t just help your weight loss efforts. It will also help when shopping on a budget.
When we don’t write a list, we pick up things that we didn’t really need. And we forget the things that we do need!
Making a list means that you plan out the meals you’re making for the week and only buy items that are essential for them. You will also avoid the aisles that are the most tempting, which are often money wasters as well as weight gainers.
It will take some time before your shop, so you need to plan. We do ours the night before and through the month write anything down that we need to pick up on a whiteboard in the kitchen.
Do Your Shopping Online
When you’re shopping on a budget, doing it online could be really helpful. First of all, you can check the cupboards, fridge and freezer for food that you really need or don’t need. I did online food shops in the past and would sit in the kitchen and check everything beforehand in case I forgot it on the initial list.
This can also help you save money because you can find the cheapest option easily. When you’re in the store, there is the risk of missing the cheapest option. Usually, companies put them lower down or higher up on the shelves; of course, you’re going to look at eye-level!
You will also skip the sections where the tempting offers are on; offers that usually just get you to spend more money. These are often the unhealthy sections anyway and will just lead to you gaining weight. It’s so much easier to avoid the temptation when you don’t see it!
So, are you ready for your shopping on a budget? It is possible to make your food shopping last. It’s all about pre-planning and organizing your fridge and freezer so everything is ready to go. My biggest tip—and the one I always share when people ask—really is to buy meat in bulk and freeze it into portions to make it last longer.
Copyright Alexandria Ingham, 2014. All rights reserved.