UK inflation has climbed to its highest point for nearly a decade. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation increased from 2% in July to 3.2% in August – largely due to discounts in the hospitality sector last summer, including the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
While the ONS says this sharp increase is temporary, experts predict inflation will hit 4% by the end of the year, as the economy recovers from the pandemic.
If you’re feeling the pinch from this jump in inflation – or maybe you want to protect yourself from potential increases as we race towards Christmas – one of the easiest ways to watch your spending is to re-evaluate your grocery shop.
How to save money on your food shopping
As inflation soars, here are 9 easy ways to save money on your food shop.
1. Meal plan
It might not be the most glamorous or exciting thing you can do, but you’d be surprised how far a bit of meal planning can go. Instead of deciding what to eat on the day, spend a bit of time mapping out the week – that way, you avoid unnecessary trips to the shop and can maximise your ingredients – doubling up in different meals, making sure everything is used up.
If you write a shopping list with everything you need for the week, you’re less likely to make impulsive – and potentially costly – decisions in the supermarket.
2. Get into batch cooking
It’s often seen as the ultimate mark of someone who’s got their life together, but once you get into the swing of things, batch cooking really isn’t that hard. Making bigger portions of one meal and boxing up and freezing the leftovers will not only save you time, but also means you can use up all the ingredients you buy and waste nothing.
3. Use tins or frozen food where possible
If you’re constantly chucking out fresh food that’s gone off, it could be worth looking more into tinned or frozen alternatives. This doesn’t mean you have to cook sad meals – plenty of tasty stews, bakes and pasta dishes can be made from cans and things from the freezer. Plus, frozen food will likely taste fresher than the old veg lying in the back of your fridge.
4. Look for discounts
It’s all about training your eye for those yellow stickers (apparently the best times to nab these deals are first thing of a morning and just before closing), and holding onto coupons – you never know when they might come in handy.
5. Go for own brands
It’s easy to get carried away by the allure of fancy branding, but they tend to cost more than own brands – and you might find there’s really not much difference between the products.
6. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
It’s a recipe for disaster – trust us. No one ever makes sensible shopping decisions on an empty stomach.
7. BOGOF wisely
Deals such as BOGOF – Buy One Get One Free – can often be a bit of a trap, ultimately making us spend more on things we don’t truly want or need, because we think it’s a good offer. A lot of this stuff ends up going off and being chucked away! If you do want to make the most of these savings, make sure you’re buying something you will definitely actually use – and even better, if it’s for something that won’t go off, such as loo roll or tinned goods.
8. Store food properly
If you’re always throwing away food that’s gone bad, it’s probably worth looking at how you’re storing everything. Are your potatoes in a dark place? Are your bananas separate from all the other fruit? You also might like to maximise your freezer use – it’s a great place to store bread and uncooked meat.
9. Organise your fridge
Equally, your fridge should be clearly organised – otherwise salad will languish at the back until it’s inedible. You’d be surprised how much money you can save just by not having to constantly replace food that’s gone off.