Shop Wisely to Aid Budgeting

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With around a third of food purchased by households in the UK going to waste, this is one area that can be tackled to help with money saving each week. Planning and being sensible about the offers you take up is the key to saving money on your food shop.

Plan for the week

Planning which meals you will make for the following week might have gone out of fashion, but is certainly the best way to ensure that you only buy as much food as you need. Making a shopping list goes hand in hand with this and you need to make a resolve to stick rigidly to buy only what is on your list; putting extra items in your trolley can add considerably to your weekly food bill. Not only does this ensure that you don't over buy, but also means that you have sufficient food for the week, as additional journeys to the supermarket each week does not make economic sense; you always buy more than you intended to, you are less likely to take advantage of bulk buy offers and it adds to fuel costs.

Weigh up the costs

It's easy to get into the habit of picking up the same products, but it pays to compare brands and the supermarket's own version; look at the price per 100g of product to help with this. Bulk buys for items such as pasta and rice are worth considering if you use them regularly, but also look at larger packs of other foods such as cereal and margarine that get used on a daily basis. Multipacks for fresh items might appear cheaper, but will only be so if you want say six oranges; if you only want one or two it's better to buy them individually. If you live alone or have a small family, find out whether any neighbours or friends would like to club together with you to make use of bulk buy savings.

Be discerning of the offers you take up

Buy one get one free, half price and three for two offers fill the supermarket aisles. They can be a great buy, but only if you would use the products anyway; make the most of offers on commonly used staples. Tins and packets or frozen food on offer often represent the best buys, as they can be kept for the longest, so it doesn't matter if it takes weeks or even months to use them up; be wary of perishable items such as fruit, vegetables, bread, meat and dairy foods – the second pack might make it a bargain, but not if it ends up in the bin.

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