If your weekly food bill is starving you financially, it may be time to make a few cutbacks. Supermarkets are designed to make us spend more. By curbing your bad shopping habits you could save some serious money each week. Here are a few ways how!

Eat less meat

Meat isn’t cheap. Whilst you don’t have to become a vegetarian to get by, cutting down on your meat consumption could see your weekly bill being greatly reduced. Make beef, lamb and pork more of a luxury and opt instead for more chicken and fish dishes. Fill out meals with more pasta and rice, instead of more meat. As well as saving money, you may start to feel healthier.

Drop the brands

Big brands always come with premium prices. Try opting for supermarket own brand alternatives and see if you can really taste the difference. Either that – or go for lesser known brands. Our eyes can have a big effect on our stomach making luxury packaging stand out against budget brands. Do a blind taste test on your family and see which one they prefer.

Don’t fall for all the deals

Whilst occasionally you may find a true bargain, some supermarket deals can actually be ploys to make you spend more. BOGOF offers and 2-for-1 offers can be ideal if you were already going to buy that product – if not then you could have just made a needless impulse buy. Be careful on luxury products that have had their price slashed – either they were deliberately introduced at a ridiculously high price so that they could be slashed later or they’re products of questionable quality that are being cut simply to shift them off the shelves.

The deals that offer the supermarket the most profit are the ones advertised at eye level or with huge signage. If you’re going to opt for deals, try looking for the ones on the top or bottom shelf.

Collect coupons

By collecting coupons, you could make massive discounts on your shopping. The art of couponing takes a little practice. Avoid newspapers and magazines that make you buy them to get a coupon – instead go online where you can get coupons for free simply by signing up to programmes. You’re best off setting up a separate email address to deal with the resulting spam. Through extreme couponing you can take hundreds of your annual supermarket shops. There are many sites where you can find more on extreme couponing. Learn the ropes and beat the supermarkets at their own game.

Shop around

Don’t stick to one store. Loyalty schemes will only get you so far and you may be able to grab a bargain by shopping for specific items elsewhere. Some supermarkets will sell exactly the same product at different prices – something which you can check by using comparison sites. In some cases, even own brand items may have come from the same distributor. An upmarket store may be selling the same biscuits or cereal as a budget supermarket and you’ll be paying a premium for the former simply due to the packaging.

Make use of leftovers

Alternatively, you could cut down on your weekly shops by reducing your food waste and making meals go the extra mile. If you’re a culprit for overportioning, try saving that food for the next day and having it for lunch. Many meals can be repurposed and turned into new exciting meals. You can make soups and stews out of leftover vegetables or curry. You can make frittatas out of leftover pasta. You can even cut up leftover pizza and turn it into an omelette. Whatever you do, never throw away leftover meat. This can be re-used in all kinds of ways from a tasty sandwich filling to a club salad.

Make sure that you’re looking at sell by dates and using up those items in your cupboard in fridge before they expire. If you need to get rid of a lot of cheese, why not make mac and cheese? For eggs, whip up an omelette. Make sure that you’re not throwing away fruit and vegetables at the first sign of brown Put vegetables in the blender and make a smoothie out of them, or pickle them to keep them going off. Brown bananas meanwhile can be frozen to take on the texture of ice cream or turned into banana bread.

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