Food shopping is a cost that every single household faces, whether you’re a single person, a family of four or a newly married couple. Food budgets can vary massively from household to household, but there is one problem that all households are facing, and that’s the rising cost of food. Food is a basic human need, so there is always going to be a demand for food, but balancing the books may be proving more difficult of late.
What else is frustrating, as a consumer, is that prices are staying the same, but the product itself is small, therefore you are getting less for the same price as before. The products that seems to affect more often than not are grain products, chocolate and crisps. Loaves of bread, especially if you buy a seeded or wholegrain variety have gone up in price.
But, there are certain things you can do to help your grocery budget and try to avoid the weekly food shop going up drastically in price. Little things add up over the weeks, to help you keep your overall budget still in tact.
1. Avoid processed and packaged food.
When you buy ready made meals, or over processed and packaged foods, you are paying for the convenience of having someone else do the work for you. You have no control over what goes into your meals and most of the time, these are high in fat and sugar. If you avoid packaged foods, this will keep your overall spends down. Instead of buying chocolate, make a loaf cake instead. It’s still sweet, but you know exactly what’s going into it and can ration portion sizes!
2. Eat more fresh food.
A lot of people assume that eating healthy, fresh food will make overall food bills more expensive, but it does depend on what fresh food you are choosing to have on your plate. Vegetables like onions, carrots, broccoli and potatoes are generally cheaper options. Things like spinach, avocado and asparagus tend to be more expensive. The same goes with fruit; apples, pears and bananas are cheaper than peaches, raspberries and pomegranates. Eating fresh food doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive, but it does take a bit more planning.
3. Eat food that is in season.
My friend Eleanor over at Creative Living has some wonderful posts on seasonal living, but if you eat foods that are in season right now, they will have travelled less and are abundant, so the costs for them are lower. Things like rhubarb, peas, broad beans and strawberries are coming into season now, so these will be cheaper than other fruit and vegetables that aren’t in season. One of my favourite things to do with rhubarb is to put it in a crumble and serve it with plenty of custard. Cheap and tasty!
4. Limit your shopping to once a week.
The more often you go to the grocery store or supermarket, the more you are inevitably going to spend. Just popping in for some milk can soon turn into a shop costing over £10, just because there are “deals”, “offers” and other temptations there for you to buy. If you limit your food shop to once a week, armed with a list, then you are much less likely to succumb to those tempting offers, especially the ones near the checkout.
5. Don’t ever go without a plan.
This is one of the vital components to keeping food costs down; you need to plan your shop beforehand so you know exactly what to buy. Unless you are a finely tuned machine when it comes to your grocery shop, there are always going to be things you forget, or buy that you definitely don’t need. Having a plan and a list ensures you get exactly what you need and (hopefully) don’t stray too far from the list.
Food prices are going to continue to rise as the cost of fuel, climate change and the general population grows, so it is so important to try and get the best from your food budget. Rising food costs are going to be a challenge to many households, but I hope this post helps in keeping those costs down.
Do you have any tips to keep food costs down?