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Healthy eating can get expensive but with the right planning it is achievable. Here, we share some practical tips to stretch your budget.
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Here we have some great tips for how to save money on food, to help make your food shop budget stretch further without compromising on nutrition. If you're already struggling with budgeting for other household bills, the last thing you need is a high food shopping bill!
With a little know-how and planning, you can stretch your weekly food budget to feed the family for less.
Planning ahead for the week will give you time to think about your nutritional needs and your budget, helping you to save money on food. Once you’ve decided on your meal plan, write a shopping list of ingredients. You should also check expiry dates of your store cupboard ingredients so you know which ones to use first.
Try to use recipes that have common ingredients that exist in your cupboards, such as chopped tomatoes, pasta, rice and mixed beans. If a recipe calls for a special ingredient, think about how much that ingredient costs and if you'll use it again before it goes out of date.
Cut down on food waste by freezing leftovers, or using them to create another meal with the next day. According to the recycling organisation WRAP UK, the average UK family could save up to £700 a year by tackling food waste.
Not only does it last longer, but frozen food often costs less and is just as nutritious. Produce such as fish is frozen straight away to lock in the nutrietns, so buying frozen can actually be healthier than thawed produce sold in fridges.
Look out for reduced-price bargains in supermarkets and freeze them straight away to use within the next few weeks. The best times to browse these sections is from 6pm-8pm.
Many places have community fridges that offer free and low-cost food available to everyone. This includes surplus food from supermarkets and items expiring that day - check your local council website for more information.
If you're lucky enough to have a garden, growing fruit and vegetables is a great way to reduce your shopping budget. Even if you only have a patio, many types of fruit, veg and herbs can be grown in containers and pots. The RHS has some fantastic advice if you’re not sure where to start.
Having a shopping list means that you will only buy what you need, stick to your budget and save time. Not only will you be tempted to buy impulse items you don’t need, you’ll miss ingredients you need for healthy recipes, meaning you’ll have to make a return trip for the forgotten items.
Avoid shopping when you're hungry as you'll be more tempted by unhealthy treats and impulse purchases. Be wary of multi-buy offers as they may seem like good value for money, but you may end up buying more than you can actually use.
Most well-known supermarkets have loyalty cards that you can scan with every shop, adding points to your balance. It's a great idea to build up your balance and redeem this free money during expensive periods such as Christmas.
Shop around for the best prices if you have time. Local markets often sell fruit, veg, fish and meat cheaper than supermarkets, as well as many butchers. Farmers' markets are also usually cheaper, especially when you buy produce that's in season.
Only buy enough fresh ingredients to last you a few days to ensure you eat them all before they start going off. This can mean you spend more money on food and waste your budget by creating food waste.
Find out more about how you can cut down on food waste and save money by visiting the Love Food Hate Waste website for recipe ideas and useful tips.
For advice and support on improving your budgeting skills, read our budgeting tips article.
Do you want to improve your diet and nutrition? Join our free online course to boost your activity levels and develop simple exercises you can do at home.
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