Eating on a budget can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but all this really has to mean to you is how to eat within your budget. For many of us, food is where we spend the biggest portion of our salary after rent and bills.
If you want to keep a lid on these costs, follow these 8 easy steps help you eat on a budget.
1. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
If you're hungry when you shop you’re much more likely to buy more food because you give in to your cravings. On top of that, well placed food deals are designed to catch your hungry eye. In fact, one study showed that hungry shoppers bought up to 31% more high-calorie food. Avoid getting caught in this trap by packing a few snacks in your bag so that if you do find yourself at the supermarket you can eat whilst, or before, you shop, and so resist the urge to spend more.
2. Write a shopping list
Whether you’re planning ahead for one meal, or your meals for the entire week, write a list. If you plan your meals in advance you will be more likely to only buy the exact ingredients that you need. With this focus you are less likely to get distracted and pick up other items that you ‘might’ need, and that may well end up getting wasted.
3. Bulk buy tinned and dried goods
The beauty of bulk buying dried goods, is that they have long expiration dates. If there is a money off deal on pasta, rice, or pulses, it makes sense to buy a large amount as they will last forever in your cupboard. This way you also minimise your weekly food costs by only buying fresh produce over the week.
4. Cook your food in bulk
Simple but cost effective. Any dishes like curry, stew, or chili are great for this. Essentially, any dish that lasts well in a Tupperware for 4 or 5 days and can be taken out and reheated will save you both time and money. By cooking in bulk you can also portion up and freeze it, meaning that you have ready cooked meals available to you throughout the month.
5. Eat your leftovers
Sometimes you don’t want to eat the same thing twice or three times in a week, but by eating all the food you buy you are ensuring you get every penny’s worth. Sometimes you can even use your leftovers as a base ingredient for a whole new dish. For example, using the chicken bones from a roast dinner is a great way to make stock for chicken soup.
6. Buy frozen
Buying frozen vegetables is actually a great way to save money without compromising on quality or nutrient content. Because the vegetables are frozen straight after they’re picked they don’t lose their nutrients in transit. They also have a long expiration date so you are less likely to waste them.
7. Don’t be brand obsessed
As true with mayonnaise as it is with trainers! You might like a particular brand of soy sauce, or ketchup, or flavour of chips, but do you really need them? Instead, look at what brand is on sale, or try a slightly cheaper version of your favourite food to save those precious pennies. If you genuinely think you won’t eat it then don’t buy it, because it will just be a wasted purchase. In general however, you can enjoy the taste of food just as much without having to buy the brand you think is your favourite.
8. Use vouchers!
Vouchers. Are. The. Best.
Save them up from your local newspapers, from food packaging, from anywhere you can get them! You can get great deals and they save you so much money. In the same vein, take advantage of supermarket loyalty cards. If you are going to spend money you might as well get points for it!