Know your ‘use by’s from your ‘best before’s
There’s a difference between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates on food packaging: ‘use by’ means it may be harmful if you eat it after this date; ‘best before’ means that the quality won’t be as good if consumed after this date. People often make the mistake of throwing food away once it has passed its ‘best before’ date, thereby getting rid of perfectly good food.
If you’re happy with the quality of your food and it’s only just passed its ‘best before’ date, there’s no need to replace it.
Savvy tip: Most food once opened needs to be stored in the fridge. For maximum preservation, the ideal fridge temperature is 0-5ºC.
Rely on leftovers
A great way to create savings when cooking is to make a little extra and then freeze it for a later date. Soups, pasta and Bolognese sauce are all perfect for freezing in bags and if you allow them to freeze whilst flat you will be able to layer them up and utilise your freezer space to the max.
They make for a handy meal when you’re in a hurry and it’s more cost effective to cook a little bit extra than to start from scratch and having to buy the fresh ingredients again.
For inspiration, see our article Cook once, get three suppers.
Savvy tip: Always label up food bags before you freeze a meal – frozen food can be really hard to decipher! Include what it is, the date it goes into the freezer and how many it will feed (i.e. 1 x adult or 2 x kids). Many a quick kids’ meal can be organised that way.
Avoid ‘special offer’ shopping
Admit it, we’ve all been tempted at one time or another by the mountain of promotions and offers in supermarkets - but is this really helping us to save?
It’s not if you wouldn’t have bought the product if it wasn’t under special offer.
When you’re walking around the supermarket and you see a tempting sale, ask yourself: “Would I buy this if it wasn’t on offer?” If the answer is no, move on to your usual product. You’ll be amazed how much less your shopping bill comes to each week if you follow this principle.
Instead, look for genuine value for money. For example Fairy Original washing up liquid lasts up to two times longer than the next best-selling brand. So while a cheaper brand may have a lower upfront cost, it actually works out as having a higher cost per use, meaning you spend more in the long run.
For more tips on how to live well on a budget, see our article Save money and make it go further.
How do you save when you shop? We’d love for you to share your tips in the comments section below.