Alongside rent/mortgage or transportation bills, your weekly grocery shop can be one of your biggest expenses, even if you shop in budget supermarkets like Lidl or Aldi or keep an eye out for bargains across the board.
Part of the problem has to do with food waste – according to StopFoodWaste.ie Irish consumers generate around 300,000 tonnes of food waste every year. So how can you reduce the length of those Lidl receipts every trip, or stretch your weekly food budget even further?
Plan your meals
Working out a menu for the week ahead is key in buying only what you need, and that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Always do a regular stocktake of what you’ve got to hand – you’d be surprised what’s lurking in the back of the press.
There’s no need to eat the same thing every day but having a plan means you won’t be facing gone-off fruit or vegetables at the end of the week. Tesco has got a handy online template that you print out and bring with you.
Grow your own
You don’t have to become self-sustaining, but growing some of your own fruits and vegetables can supplement your diet with cheap and fresh food throughout the year – providing you’ve got the space of course. Check out these tips from Diarmuid Gavin on how you can get started.
The internet is filled with useful (and not so useful) advice on everything ranging from buying a used car to saving for a holiday. The same can be said of cooking, with quite a few bloggers and vloggers documenting how you can create good meals on a low budget, like Cooking on a Bootstrap or Wholesome Ireland.
Fill your belly
Top tip – avoid shopping while hungry. You’re more likely to wind up with things that look good but that you don’t need, particularly junk food.
If you’re looking for areas where you can cut down, keep track of your weekly shop and how much each item costs. A spreadsheet is the handiest way to do so – if you don’t have Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets is a handy free alternative that you can access from anywhere and easily share with others.