Guest post by Jennie
Being a food fanatic in the Big Smoke isn’t always easy, with the cost of living consistently rising and food prices increasing. But there are ways that you can indulge your taste buds without skimping on quality or your favourite recipes; all you need to do is apply a little bit of thought when completing your shopping.
You’ve most likely read our guide on how to save money when eating out as that’s the first thing any Londoner should learn when living frugally. But, what about just your everyday meals and grub too?
By following our tried and tested saving tips for foodies, you’ll quickly go from fighting over the last microwave meal with your mates to eating like a royal at the finest steak restaurant in London. Now, wouldn’t that be something!
Here’s our top 8 savings tips for food lovers just like you:
- Plan your meals
- Avoid wasting food
- Make the most of your freezer
- Buy supermarket brands only
- Buy food in season
- Shop at markets later in the day
- Grow your own vegetables
- Change your diet.
1. Plan your meals
A weekly meal plan is one of the best ways to save money, as it ensures you are only buying what you need, while still having enough food to see yourself through the entire seven days with nutritious meals.
You can get inventive with your meals while still keeping the price low. Ordering lunch or buying a ready meal can be tempting, but you will save much more by purchasing fresh ingredients from affordable supermarkets.
2. Avoid Wasting Food
Avoiding food waste goes hand in hand with planning your meals. When you have a precise plan of action regarding the food in your cupboards, you lower the chance of wasting food (and by extension wasting money).
For example, if you know you will be cooking a meal on Thursday that requires specific ingredients, there would be no point in buying a quantity that is too large or goes out of date before this day. Sticking to a plan ensures you only have what you need, preventing you from purchasing excess amounts.
3. Make The Most Of Your Freezer
The beauty of having a freezer to store food is that you don’t need to be conscious of use by dates, as freezers will help your food last much longer. You can also purchase larger quantities of food to be stored in your freezer, making it a cost-effective way of food storage.
Buying large quantities of everyday staples that you can store in the freezer whilst they are reduced ensures you always have necessary items in stock whilst being cost-effective.
4. Buy Supermarket Brands Only
It is no surprise that buying from supermarket brands will save you more money than buying branded alternatives. For example, Heinz baked beans cost around 75p more than Tesco’s own brand despite the taste and nutritional value being almost identical.
Making small swaps where possible will significantly help you save a large sum of money when considering how many swaps you could make on essential items such as tinned tomatoes and pulses. Opting for supermarket brands is an effortless way to save money!
5. Buy Food In Season
Nothing is worse than buying fresh ingredients that go out of date within the space of a day. Unfortunately, when food is out of season, this cannot be helped, and it can be a challenging time in the UK when imported goods aren’t in season.
For example, in the UK, strawberries are great to buy in the summer because they are ripe and ready to eat. However, it can be more challenging in the winter to find strawberries and fresh fruit that will last a few days without going off due to being out of season. Instead, we recommend purchasing in-season alternatives that you can rely on.
6. Visit the market later in the day
Many people favour going to markets to buy fresh fruit and vegetables instead of buying them from the supermarket. Buying fresh produce from a market has many benefits, from being better quality to being much cheaper.
If you go to the market later in the day, those running the stands often lower their prices to ensure their products get sold before the market is finished. Therefore, you can find some big bargains that are worth your while!
7. Grow your own vegetables
Growing your own vegetables is an obvious way to save money, ensuring you can skip the costs of vegetables at the shop. It is super cheap to buy seeds and start an allotment or vegetable patch, so you can be sure that this interest won’t add financial strain or be an issue.
You won’t only benefit yourself when growing your vegetables but the environment, too, ensuring you take significant steps in multiple areas of your life.
8. Change your diet
Of course, you can still indulge and enjoy a range of food groups when living on a budget. However, if you purchase a weekly takeaway or buy pricey fast food items, chances are that your health and finances could benefit from cutting these items from your diet.
Instead of buying takeaways often, stick to special occasions or a monthly treat. This is an easy way to save money whilst looking after your health. You can also create fake takeaway meals to satisfy your cravings for lower prices!
If you incorporate a few of the above steps into your everyday life, you will positively change how you view food and money. You can be a foodie and indulge in your favourite items whilst saving your pennies, with supermarket’s own branded products and meal plans being some of the easiest and most efficient ways to achieve this.
We recommend focusing on one step first and slowly incorporating more significant elements, such as growing your own vegetables and changing your diet over time to ensure this lifestyle change is attainable.