As the impact of the recession continues to bite, many of us are finding our regular necessities – like the weekly supermarket shop – a bit of a strain. However, with a little know-how, you can start cutting costs on your food bill to put towards holidays and other treats:
If you’re struggling with your weekly shop, the supermarket giants have plenty of schemes in place to help shoppers keep to their budget. Tesco, for example, has launched a new price comparison scheme that allows customers the chance to be reimbursed if they could have bought their shopping cheaper from a rival. You’ll be eligible to receive up to £10 in coupons at any given store; the only requirement is that you need to buy a minimum of ten different products to qualify.
Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s biggest rival, already has a similar scheme called Brand Match, so if you ensure you redeem your vouchers when necessary, you’ll be able to save yourself some valuable cash. If you look online, you can also find money off coupons from a whole host of retailers, on products ranging from beauty essentials to garden furniture, so a little time spent browsing price comparison sites is sure to pay dividends.
Minimise food waste
In recent months, new statistics have exposed the staggering quantity of food that we waste in British homes each year as a consequence of 'bogof' and other supermarket schemes. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign estimates that we throw away around 7.2 million tonnes of food each year in the UK, and that it could be costing us an eye-watering £12 billion on an annual basis.
To avoid buying in food that will end up in the bin, go shopping with an organised list based on the recipes you and your family plan to cook for the week ahead. TV chef Nigel Slater has even made a BBC series specifically addressing this issue. Dish of the Day offers excellent tips on using up leftovers and transforming them with a few store cupboard essentials.
Having a trusty collection of non-perishables in the house is a good way to reduce the amount of household waste. Keep a good stock of items like tinned tomatoes, beans, tuna and anchovies, and save by buying dried carbohydrates like pasta and couscous in bulk. With these useful backups stocked in your cupboards, you'll be able to knock up a tasty family supper by adding just a few fresh ingredients.
Know your labels
When it comes to sell-by and use-by dates, exercise a little common sense. Remember that ‘best before’ labels simply refer to the peak quality of the food; after this date it may still be safe to eat even though it may be past its absolute ‘best’. ‘Use by’ dates, however, do refer to food safety, and anything kept beyond this date may be harmful to consume. But always use your discretion: if you are undecided, the NHS offers excellent advice online on how to judge the shelf-live of food. If you can learn to avoid throwing things away as a knee jerk response, you could save yourself good money.
*This post was brought to you in collaboration with Super Savvy Me