Line up the bills, and after your mortgage, the family food shop is probably one of your biggest outlays. But don’t panic, there are plenty of ways to cut down your family weekly shop, while still enjoying the food you love.
Here’s what we do as a family, and have saved over £60 a week!
Yep, you’ve heard this before but it really does work. It may sound like a chore, especially if you work full time, but I find by just writing a simple meal plan and a list, really does save me getting excited around the supermarket.
Planning your meals aren’t as tedious as it sounds either. I get the whole family involved and ask them what they want to eat this week. (Normally involves some sort of pizza and pasta dish!)
Once the week is planned, I checked the cupboards and see what we need. No point buying items we aren’t going to use that week. I’m not saying that having a few cupboard staples will hurt, it doesn’t, and it is nice to have something to fullback on if you suddenly have extras for dinner and need to bulk up a meal!
To be honest, I don’t stick to it rigorously. If the kids don’t want curry but want pizza (of course) then I’ll swap them round. Rather that, then throwing it all away.
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Online or offline?
This is up to you.
I shop offline. We do 98% of our shopping in Aldi each week, and the remainder wherever we can get the last few pieces the cheapest. Ok, so this does involve some legwork, but popping in and out of a few of the bigger supermarkets, at the right time of day, could save you a lot of cash!
If you can be flexible when out and about, and just pick up items when you see them cheap, you could really gain financially.
Deals and Coupons
I love a good bargain, as long as the price is right. Don’t be fooled with the buy one get one free offers, as they aren’t always as good as they seem.
Coupons are well worth keeping an eye out for, though. I feel bad, when the person behind me has to wait for them all to go through, but care less when I see my bill drop considerably.
Plus, I’m a big believer in store reward cards. We collect them whenever we fuel up or shop, and get a nice surprise when December comes, as they soon add up, and help toward Christmas.
If you can wait till later in the day to shop, then you’ll be quid’s in. After about 7 pm, there is more chance of finding bargains. Okay, so they might be near their sell by date, who cares? Your freezer won’t!
My only tip: don’t go spending money and food you won’t eat. If your kids hate salmon or it’s going to sit in the freezer for the next six months and take up room, then there really is no point. Walk away.
I’m the first to hold my hands up and say that unit prices confuse me. Before I started looking into it, I also thought that loose fruit and vegetables were always cheaper, and they can be, but not often.
Supermarkets change their pricing daily, so it’s best to check whether buying in a pack or loose would be cheaper, depending on if you are going to use them all of course!
If you told me five years ago that I’d be shopping in Aldi, and wouldn’t care what wine I drank, or chocolate I ate, I would have laughed in your face! That’s right, I was a food snob!
I generally thought that brands offered the best quality, regardless of cost.
It wasn’t in till we started saving for our wedding that we started to switch brands. We’d try the very basic of something, for example, chicken, and if we didn’t like it, go up to the next stage in till we liked it.
And do you know what? I think there was only ONE thing I refused to change!
I couldn’t care less for brands now. Quality and cost are key. By eating unknown brands, that taste the same as our past loved ones, we have saved hundreds off our food bill. Just by down branding! It’s crazy! (And the kids haven’t even noticed! Win!)
Cook from Scratch
Another controversial one, but it really has saved us tons! Now, I’m not a good cook, just ask my husband, but by using a few step by step guides online, I’m slowly holding my own.
No more jar sauces, Aunt Bessie Yorkshires or carton smoothies.
It does take a bit of extra time, which is a pain when I’m by myself with the kids, but a simple homemade pizza costs me pence compared to a large delivered one.
Spag Bols, Currys, Roasts and Pasta Bakes are all homemade, and can be frozen or used the next day if I make too much! I hate cooking in a rush, so some days just use leftovers. I’m all about easy living me!
So by using these tips, I’ve worked out that I’ve saved around 50% off my weekly shopping bill, and still eat as good, if not better than I did before.
I may look like a knob walking around with my calculator (my phone) costing everything up, and get a few huffs in the queue when I hand over my wedge of coupons. Fine, but handing over less cold hard cash every week really does show that these small steps really do work!