Cost of living: Food expert’s money saving tips - including buying smallest packets & using a little trolley
“The drastic change in food prices has really made us re-evaluate the way we shop, but it’s not always easy to know how to tighten our belts during these tough times.”
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A personal finance expert has shared 10 tips that could slash your shopping bills in half - including always looking at the lowest placed items on a shelf and investing more in the frozen food aisle. Lynn Beattie, also known as “Mrs Mummypenny”, has dished out the helpful advice on how families can survive the cost-of-living crisis by shopping savvy and sensibly.
During a time when most are trying to tighten their belts, she suggests checking the cost per 100g or 100ml as promotions on smaller-sized products can make the price cheaper than if you were to buy bigger. Switching tomeat alternative products is also a great way to make savings as they are just as substantial and can often make a meal go further for a fraction of the price, according to the foodie.
The food guru partnered with The No Meat Company which commissioned research into the nation’s shopping and eating habits since the financial downturn first began. It emerged 53 per cent have changed the way they shop and cook due to the rising costs - with 25 per cent eating less meat, 27 per cent setting stricter budgets and 26 per cent bulk buying and freezing.
The study also revealed more than half (52 per cent) would like to become better at doing food on a budget, and only a fifth claim they are “very savvy” at this. More than four in 10 (41 per cent) often look for ways to spend less in the kitchenand will typically turn to cooking websites (32 per cent) and family and friends (31 per cent) for advice.
But 69 per cent think they could make even more savings than they do now if they found other ways to adapt their shopping and cooking habits. When asked whether they would consider plant-based alternatives to meat, now compared to pre-cost-of-living crisis, 47 per cent said likely compared to 53 per cent who said unlikely.
Among those who wouldn’t opt for meat-free, 53 per cent said they aren’t keen on the taste while 18 per cent believe these products are too expensive, according to the OnePoll study. One in 10 said they wouldn’t ditch meat because their family and friends wouldn’t eat plant-based alternatives.
But when it comes to frozen food, 18 per cent now buy more of these goods compared to pre-2021, with the average shopper dedicating £63.51 to their monthly shop on these products. Reasons for this include the cheaper price (63 per cent), longer lasting than fresh food (66 per cent) and less food waste (54 per cent).
The research also found other areas Brits have had to cut back include takeaways (46 per cent), clothes (40 per cent) and holidays (33 per cent). Commenting on the findings, Lynn Beattie said: “The drastic change in food prices has really made us re-evaluate the way we shop, but it’s not always easy to know how to tighten our belts during these tough times.
“This is why I have enjoyed sharing my tips and tricks on how to save the pennies while still enjoying delicious and healthy meals.”
The Mummypenny’s top 10 ultimate food shop hacks
1. Always have a shopping list and stick to it – but before you do, make sure you have raided the cupboards and fridge freezer to see what you can use up for the week ahead.
2. Choose a half-size trolley – there is less room to fill with impulse purchases and things you don’t need.
3. Walk the supermarket in a specific order – start at the reduced section, then visit the frozen food aisles, then the canned products and finish at the fresh foods.
4. Always look at the lowest level foods – the non-branded products are likely to be lower down and out of eye line.
5. Always look at the cost per 100g or 100ml – displayed on the shelf edge label, promotions on smaller-sized products can make the cost cheaper compared to bigger items.
6. The frozen food aisle is your friend – these products are frozen at the point of picking which means nutrients are immediately locked in and last longer as well as being better value than fresh.
7. Try batch cooking – rather than making it for the exact number of household members, double it and freeze it.
8. Opt more for meat-free recipes – some meat alternatives can be cheaper than meat, and products such as lentils or tofu are great alternatives while being substantial and better value for money.
9. Make the most of shopping vouchers – apps such as Green Jinn and Shopmium offer heavily discounted items you can use in store.
10. Sign up to supermarket loyalty schemes and app to earn rewards and get great discounts.