As you all know, my husband and I regularly get the weekly shopping for less than £40 to feed five of us for a week. It doesn't happen every single week, some weeks we splash out a bit more, but we try our best, to get it as low as we can, as often as we can.
How I hear you ask? Personally I love the challenge of trying to keep the food bill as low as possible and still eat as healthily as we can. I might not be in the same financial difficulty I was, as a single mum, but that doesn't stop me from being careful with money. It's all about the way you look at your situation and the perspective you put on it. I prefer to see it as a challenge I have to beat each week, rather than feeling like I can't spend a lot of money.
As soon as you tell yourself you can't do something, you automatically want to do it more, it's human nature. Instead tell yourself you have to get it as cheap as you can, not because you can't afford it but because you have a goal you want to reach. If you have £50 left for food why not challenge yourself to spend £40 and put £10 away?
Some of my top tips for keeping the shopping bill down:
1. Don't shop hungry - have you noticed how much extra food you pick up when you're starving?
2. Meal plan using ingredients you already have in - we all have store cupboard items that have taken up residence in our cupboards and look like they are getting too comfortable in there! See what different ways you can use them up.
3. Check mysupermarket.co.uk for special offers before you go and plan accordingly- don't leave it to chance to see what ingredients you will need for your recipes. Sign up to the supermarket's newsletters, they will tell you what offers are coming up too.
4. Stick to your list- do not be distracted by offers you don't need, a bargain is only a bargain if you need it, otherwise it's a waste of money no matter how big the deal.
6. Go alone- the less people there are to put extras in the trolley the better!
5. Don't impulse buy- never buy on the spur of the moment, always set yourself a considering period of at least a day. If you still think you want it then go back, but more often than not you will forget about it.
7. Always, always, always check your receipts- it might take a couple of minutes to scan through but you wouldn't believe how often mistakes are made, the more aware you are of prices when you are shopping, the quicker you can spot mistakes.
8. Shop aware- supermarkets rely on us shopping on auto-pilot, picking items up because they have bright coloured stickers on, or because the words offer, reduced and bargain are used or even because of the location of a product, aisle end for instance. It's up to us to check the prices, check the unit price compared to the pack price. For instance a pack of 5 fun size bananas are 99p, but the single bananas are 68p a kilo, you might get 6 or 7 bananas in a kilo for 68p.
9. The later you can shop the better- supermarkets reduce their stock more the later it gets but again, don't buy unless you need it. A haul of reduced items that cost £7 instead of £25 is only a great deal if you will use everything before it goes off.
10. Don't be afraid of the supermarkets value ranges- you can save lots of money by switching brands. Have fun with it and do taste tests on your family see if they can spot the difference. With the money you save have a fun day out and then see if they don't mind switching brands.
I hope my tips help you to live on less without feeling like you're doing without. If you have any tips to share, or enjoyed this post, then feel free to leave a comment, I love reading your feedback.