We all love to save money where we can and your weekly food shop is a great place to start.
It can be cheaper than you think to feed your family; with a bit of thought and planning you’ll soon be counting your extra pennies.
Here’s 10 ways that you can shave some money off your weekly food shop.
Plan your meals
As with most things in life, planning is key. At the weekend when you have a few minutes of spare time, sit down with your partner and plan your meals for the week ahead. Buy a little notepad or a chalkboard to stick to the fridge door. It won’t take you long and you’ll be surprised how much pressure it can take off you throughout the week. Tailor your shopping list around the meals you’re going to make so you don’t end up buying things that you don’t need and it goes to waste.
Being more prepared will also help you to eat healthier because your meals are already planned. You won’t end up having to nip to the chippy because you’ve been too rushed to think about what to make for dinner.
Check what you already have
How many times have you started unpacking your shop, pulling out a multi-pack of tinned tuna, only to realise that you’ve already got eight tins in the cupboard? Before you make your shopping list have a quick look in your cupboards so you don’t waste money on things that you already have – there’s no need to be a hoarder.
Make a list
As much as we all like to believe that we’ve got photographic memories and won’t forget anything important, chances are that you probably will. We all know how frustrating it can be when you have forgotten to pick up something important, like your favourite chocolate bar. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write everything down. Take them both with you to the supermarket so you can cross items off as you go round. It could save a lot of frustration later on.
Buy in bulk
It might cost a bit more on your initial shop, but buying items like pasta, rice and porridge in bulk can help cut the costs in the long run. Buying your meat in bulk is a great way to make some fantastic savings and is something that’s become a lot more accessible to everyone through specialist companies.
We have recently started working with a new partner, Musclefood, and have a great new deal for NHS staff. You can get a 71-piece lean meat selection, delivered straight to your door, for just £50 (normally £75.20).
This isn’t just for gym-goers; more and more parents are realising that it’s a great way to buy healthy, high-quality, lean meat in bulk. It’s cheaper than in supermarkets and you all you need is some freezer bags to split the meat up when it arrives, then you can freeze them into meal-sized portions.
Watch our video below which shows exactly what you get in the box. Find out more information about our Musclefood NHS discount here.
Don’t take your kids with you
As much as you love them, your little angels tend to cost you more money when you go food shopping. Chocolate biscuits, sweets and toys can somehow magically appear in your trolley without you noticing until it’s too late. If you can, leave them at home with your partner. It won’t take you as long by yourself either.
Get cashback on your shop
Did you know, because you work in the NHS, you can claim up to 3% cashback on your weekly food shop? You can use our Cashback Card at Asda, Waitrose and M&S; all you need to do is top up the card with however much you’re going to spend and pay with it just like a normal card. It’s really easy to use and you can save a fortune in the long run.
Check expiry dates
This is probably the main reason that we regularly end up shovelling food out of the fridge straight into the bin. Make sure that you check the dates on the food when you pick it up, particularly things like meat which tend to have variable expiry dates on the shelf. Don’t overdo it buying vegetables as they don’t tend to last long – this again comes down to your planning so that you don’t buy things you don’t need. If certain items only have a short lifespan you can always pop them in the freezer to use at a later date.
Choose cheaper brands
You don’t always have to buy the more expensive brands to get good quality food. Opinions in general tend to have changed in recent years with the rise in popularity of supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl. Of course, there will be certain products that you prefer and some that won’t be as good quality, but in general there doesn’t tend to be much of a difference. Check the prices and weigh up whether it’s worth it before you pop it in your trolley.
Take your own bags
This is an obvious one but we bet there’s still plenty of you that forget to take your own bags when you go shopping. Stick them back in your boot once you’ve finished unpacking so you don’t forget them next time. Penny’s make pounds after all.
Don’t be tempted with add-ons
You’ve done the hard parts: the planning, the list, you’ve ordered your meat in bulk, the kids are at home, you’re ready to claim your cashback, you’ve checked all the expiry dates, you’ve chosen your brands wisely and you have your own bags. Now, whatever you do, as tempting as it might be, don’t go and grab a load of add-ons as your approach the till! This is how they get you; with strategically positioned chocolate bars, nuts, sweets, batteries, Ibuprofen or whatever else they try to twist your arm with. If you make it out unscathed make sure you give yourself a pat on the back in the car.
Have you got any more tips for other NHS staff to save money on their weekly food shop? Let us know in the comments below.
Andy is our Social Media & Community Coordinator, bringing you helpful tips, useful information and NHS news.
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