If you’re at the point where you need to drastically reduce this week’s food spending right now – then these tips are for you…
You know how it is… You believe you’ve budgeted well, set-aside just the right amounts to cover everything this month, done your level best not to overspend – and you’ve been GOOD. So why-oh-why are you having yet another skint week before payday? How come something always crops up to steal your hard-earned cash away from you, leaving you with the choice of either cutting the mold off the bread or serving up porridge for tea this evening?
If something’s crept up on you, you may just have a wee budgeting problem. I’ve been there before – scrimping around for food at the end of the month and eventually believing that this is how life must just be. But, that was until I attended a local CAPmoney course to help sort me out (you can read about the changes I made to sort out my finances in my ebook here). I’d certainly recommend the course – and, whilst you’re waiting for one to come up near you, here are some tips that I really hope will help.
Budgeting aside, I know you’re reading this page because you need to save money on your food shopping right now. So, here are my top tips for emergency food savings:
- Put together a 7-day menu of the cheapest meals you can think of for the week ahead (Check out any of my 7-day menus for inspiration).
- Using your menu to help you, make a shopping list.
- Now, add your basics like milk, butter and non-food items. Things that might not be listed on your menu, but that you know you’ll need.
- Next, log onto an online supermarket site and fill your ‘basket’ with everything on your list.
- Does it amount to too much? If it does – from your online shopping list, begin deleting stuff that’s not 100% essential this week. Booze has to get dropped first (however much you might feel you ‘need’ a treat right now), and then… just for the next 7 days – can you manage without expensive non-food items like washing powder, kitchen rolls, and other non-food stuff? Keep on cutting out as much as you can until you’re all out of ideas.
- Still costing too much? Check your cupboards. Do you have any of the meal ingredients from your menu already? Is there anything you could substitute? Can you bypass buying rice this week if you could use the pasta you’ve already got, for example?
- Now, let’s take another look to really trim down the cost further. Is there anything you could get away with in smaller quantities this week? 2 loo rolls instead of 9? 30 teabags instead of 100? By buying smaller packs you are going to get ripped off (skint folks like us do!), but if you haven’t got the cash, you haven’t got it.
- Is is still working out too expensive? Well, let’s return to your 7-day menu. Can you make any of the meals cheaper? For example:
- Can you swap out meat for beans or lentils instead?
- Can you do a fried egg each and use less eggs than if you scramble them?
- Could you make a muesli instead of buying sugar-laden cereals?
- Is it cheaper to chop your own than to buy bagged salad?
- Could you juice your own oranges instead of buying cartons?
- Could you make your own yogurt in a flask instead of buying it?
- Would anyone notice if you bought butter instead of margarine?
- Do you really need bottled water?
- Can you get to a farm shop to buy eggs?
- Could you make your own jam or your own bread – saving a few more pence…
- Well, your list is probably as rock-bottom as it’s going to get – for the supermarket – but you’re not going to buy it online! Draw out cash for your shopping and actually go out to the shops for it. Print out (or write out) your online ‘basket’, so you’ve got a list with the prices on it. Take it with you to a budget supermarket and search for the cheaper brands of these foods.
- For some folks, even after all these tips your shopping might still be costing too much money. If this applies to you, please don’t despair. CAPmoney are there to help you. Don’t let the name scare you. You don’t need to be religious to attend one of their courses or to speak to them on the phone. Don’t suffer hun. Give ’em a call.
Having been a bit on the skint side for a while now, and getting-by with my £50 per week family food budget, I automatically go through this process every single week and it does work. Living on a tight budget takes more work than simply flitting around the supermarket, picking up things you ‘fancy’, but at the end of the day you’ll be making ends meet and you’ll actually be eating healthier than when you could afford processed foods! So, there is light at the end of the tunnel after all!
How to save more money whilst feeding your family on a budget…
- Weekly 7-day menus for your family that amount to no more than £50 per week.
- All about food – Where it comes from, what they put into it, how it gets from farm to fork, and why it should be organic, fair trade, local and seasonal.
- Eating healthily – My discoveries on what foods are best for us and what portions they should be served in, how best to cook and store foods, myth-busting on foods the media have convinced us are ‘healthy’, and any other health concerns when it comes to cooking and eating healthily.
- Simple recipes – together with a ‘cost per meal’, and cost of cooking.
- Making life easier – problem solving when it comes to fitting healthy food and extra cooking into a busy lifestyle.
- Honest reviews – book reviews, course reviews (from great courses I’ve attended like Love Food Hate Waste, CAPmoney and the Open University) and reviewing time-saving labour-saving gadgets that I’ve invested in from the money I’m saving on not buying processed foods.
- Shopping tips – tactics that help me beat the supermarkets at their own game so I can keep my hard-earned cash in my pocket, not theirs!
- Ebooks – whenever I have enough information on a particular subject, I’ll package it up into an ebook – great for you as you’ll have everything in one place at a super-cheap price of just £2, and great for me as it’ll help me to afford the hosting costs for this blog.
Or you can find out what the very latest posts are here to discover even more food for thought.