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Christmas is over now, but you may still be feeling the financial effects of the season and you’ve been to the to find ways of spending less this year. One of your main expenditures will be groceries and it’s perfectly possible to reduce your food bills and still eat well, if not better, than usual.
Here’s six ways to spend less on groceries and maintain a full fridge (and stomach)!
1. Have more plant-based meals
Those pesky experts all tell us to eat less meat nowadays, not just for our health, but also because a vegan or vegetarian diet has . Getting more protein from plant sources also means you can reduce your spending too, so explore the vegetarian versions of your favourite stews. At the very least, replace half of your usual minced beef with some lentils or pulses.
2. Go shopping in the evening
You don’t have to get all your shopping from the reduced aisle, especially if you’re looking for meat products, but some items are perfectly safe to pick up from there. Pasteurised cheeses and dry goods are good bets, as well as ready meals that you’re planning to eat when you get home. You might also find bargains like bottles of bubble bath with small cracks in the screw caps. Always be ready to swoop in and grab a bargain.
3. Buy at least one staple food in bulk each month
You know that buying economy-sized or bulk amounts of your most-used commodities works out way cheaper, but when you’re budgeting, the initial outlay can be daunting. If you buy just one staple in bulk a month, this can make life easier, especially if the amount you buy lasts for at least a couple of months. Look for good deals on lentils, rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes, olive oil and , as well as laundry liquid, sprays, toilet roll and other housekeeping essentials.
4. Don’t be shy about the pound store
It’s amazing what you can pick up in there! Make a monthly trip and stock up on toothpaste, shower gels, sanitary products, facial wipes, gardening supplies and even make-up. Just make sure that you don’t get carried away, which is easy to do when everything only costs a quid!
5. Betray your favourite brands
If money’s a bit tight, then shop for unbranded or supermarket own brands for a while. You can always go back to your favourites later if you really want to, but you might find that there’s no real difference between the own brand and the “premium” version.
6. Run down your cupboards and freezer regularly
Once a month or so, do a stock-take of your cupboards and freezer. Many people find that they buy the same thing every week and end up with a backlog of a particular item that’ll just go out of date and have to be chucked away. Think about how you can use up all those almost-out-of-date items before it’s too late and avoid buying any more until you’re actually out of them.