The average UK household spends 16% of their budget on groceries. One of the top food hacks to save money and reduce your grocery costs is to be aware of how and where you shop and make some changes.
Here’s a list of things you can do to save money not only when shopping for groceries, but also when cooking your meals.
Take advantage of loyalty programs
Sign up for any supermarket loyalty card you can get, but use them wisely. Member-only prices are great for things you would buy anyway, but exercise restraint and don’t buy expensive things just because they’re discounted a few pennies.
Use a grocery list
A great food hack to save money is to get into the habit of keeping a list of things you run out of so you can replace them on your next grocery trip. Only buy non-list items if something you usually eat anyway is heavily discounted.
Stock up on pantry staples
Learn how to use a few staples effectively and you could put together many different tasty meals.
The best staples are foods that can be prepared in many different ways. These include beans and peas (canned and frozen or dried), different types of rice, dry pasta, canned or bottled tomatoes and tomato sauce and grains such as quinoa, barley or oats.
If you have plenty of these to hand, you can always put together a quick meal and make anything from tacos to soups to fried rice. Add dried fruits and nuts and you have an easy snacks too.
Stock up your freezer
In addition to stocking up on dry and canned items, you should also have options available for when you don’t feel like cooking. A few frozen pizzas are a great idea and will prevent you from ordering in.
Add frozen veggies and some bags of berries to the freezer for a quick smoothie as well.
Buy in season
Fresh fruit and vegetables are cheaper when they’re in season. For example, summer is the best time for berries if you’re trying to save money.
In winter, buy frozen berries instead of buying fresh, as fresh options are more likely to be imported and much more expensive. The Vegetarian Society publishes a chart to show you what’s in season throughout the year.
Stay away from prepared foods
You’ll always pay more for the convenience. But also, many of these foods are easy to make at home anyway. You can put a curry together in minutes and buying one pre-made or frozen will cost you at least double.
Some things, like prepackaged salad mixes, make little sense too, as preparing your own is cheaper and doesn’t take much time.
Cook and freeze
Another great thing to have in the freezer is some ready-to-eat meals. While cooking in bulk might be the most practical way to do this, it’s also time-consuming.
To make it simpler, just cook one or two extra portions every time you make a meal and freeze the excess. Almost anything freezes well, but soups, stews, and curries are especially great for a quick meal.
If you’re looking for more ways to make your money work for you, why not sign up for MyWalletHero’s email newsletter? You’ll receive our team’s top money-saving tips, lifestyle hacks and handy personal finance ‘must-knows’ – delivered straight to your inbox…
Just enter your email address below to sign up now:
Some offers on MyWalletHero are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.