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The UK is at a crisis point, with energy bills and food prices, in particular, rising exponentially for so many. While it is true that wages have risen for many, inflation has also risen massively over the last couple of years. With the government unwilling to intervene until a new Prime Minister is in place, these are absolutely desperate times.
According to the latest ONS report, a snapshot of public opinion between July 6 and July 17 indicates that 89% of adults have reported a rise in their living costs. The heart-breaking fact of the matter is that households are already being forced to make stark choices between heating and eating during the brutal winter months.
It may seem bleak, but there are ways in which you can reduce your food costs to help manage your overall budget, and this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go without either.
#1. Use Your Freezer
When it comes to saving money and avoiding food waste, your freezer really is your best friend. Consider buying bread that is nearing its use-by date at a discounted price in the supermarket, then pop it in the freezer and defrost each slice as and when you need it. You can also freeze dairy products nearing their use-by dates, such as milk, defrosting in one-pint portions as and when required.
#2. Be a 24-Hour Shopper
Often veg on the market is considerably cheaper than in the supermarket – often as much as half the price. Toward the end of the market trader’s day, they’ll be anxious to shift their perishable stock, so swoop in and pick up a bargain. A little later in the evening, you can then head down to the supermarket to pick up some of the reduced items set to reach their sell-by date, perfect for freezing and reusing whenever.
#3. Don’t Fear the Budget Supermarket
Often budget supermarkets are dismissed as being of lower quality, but they really aren’t – just a lower price. In most cases when paying more, you are only paying for a brand. In some instances, you may deem the brand worth paying for, but can you justify choosing the expensive brand every time? Moreover, how different is the allegedly inferior product when it comes down to it?
#4. Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs
Some of the best grocery loyalty programs can help you save a great deal. All the major supermarkets have loyalty programs – think Nectar or Clubcard – and they can all benefit you in terms of saving you money on your weekly shopping. Sometimes it may not seem like a lot, but those little savings really add up from week to week and month to month.
#5. Buy In Bulk
Bulk shopping is incredible for both value and time saved on the incessant need to go to the supermarket on a weekly or even bi-weekly basis. The important factor to account for here, however, is to consider what is truly needed—what products in your household are used regularly? Ask yourself if you really need a big bag of onions, because if you don’t, then you are still wasting money on excess.
With these five tips in mind, some small changes can be made to make this difficult time just a little bit easier on our wallets.