We all may need help managing our mental health at some point in the year, and Christmas is no exception. Student Minds have put together help and advice for getting through the festive period.
7 ways to keep your shopping costs down
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to bring people together, it’s food. Whether it’s lunch or dinner, sweet or savoury foods, or even if you’re debating whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza, food forms a large part of our day-to-day lives.
But what often comes with buying good food? A hefty price tag of course. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. If you’re savvy with the way you shop, you can keep the cost of your food bill down. Check out some simple hacks to help lower your costs.
1. Make a list…and stick to it
Before you head for a supermarket sweep style shopping spree, consider what you actually need to buy. Check your fridge, scour your cupboards and make a list of the essentials before you hit the supermarket; and then remember to stick to it.
Don’t let yourself get swayed; it’s all too easy to be drawn towards the ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ promotions or the ‘3 for 2’ deals. Ask yourself do you really need them? If you do your shopping based on what’s on offer that week, you’ll end up spending more than you intended and will likely end up with products you don’t really need.
2. Keep the essentials stocked
You should always keep your fridge/freezer and cupboards stocked with the essentials. In most student homes, this includes pasta, rice, beans, noodles, fruit, vegetables and frozen foods.
Realising you haven’t even the basics to make a reasonable or filling meal probably won’t end well. You’ll either order a costly and unhealthy takeaway or you’ll make an impulsive supermarket visit where you’re likely to buy more than is necessary.
3. Eat before you shop
We’ve all been there; you arrive at the supermarket and you’re starving. Which means you want to buy and eat everything and anything.
So, if you’re about to head out to do your weekly shop, don’t go on an empty stomach; be sure to have something to eat before you go. This will stop you from thinking with your stomach instead of your mind; and will prevent those expensive and impulsive buys.
4. Ditch the brands
Are you guilty of reaching straight for the branded products in the supermarket? For some of us, we automatically think big brand without even giving the supermarket’s own branded ranges a chance.
We recognise a familiar brand, and we go with it. Unfortunately, this can quickly burn a hole in your pocket. If you haven’t tried the unbranded products before, it’s worth at least giving them a go. A lot of products are pretty much identical or are very similar to the branded ones but have a big cost saving.
5. Shop around
There was a time when the supermarket shop was a chore. But in the past year, it has certainly been the highlight of the week for many.
In the past you might have wanted to get your shopping done in the most convenient place, and happy to pay the price for that convenience.
However, with more time on your hands and a supermarket outing being the highlight of the week, why not shop around a bit more? Head to a low-cost budget supermarket for the bulk of your shop and then for any items you can’t get, shop elsewhere.
Although it can take a little longer, it’s worth shopping around to pick up the best bargains and savings on your shop.
6. Don’t throw it…freeze it
Whether it’s curry, chilli con carne, lasagne or the like, don’t throw away the leftovers. Instead, as long as it’s safe to do so, bag them up and put them in the freezer.
Doing this will not only save you money, but effectively you have just created your own convenience meal. Simply defrost, reheat and enjoy.
7. Hunt for reduced items
Last but not least, it’s worth knowing that most major supermarkets and even some smaller stores and market stall holders will reduce the prices of certain food items near closing time.
In some supermarkets, you can even save money by buying from their oddly misshapen vegetables stock. So, head to your local store and bag yourself a bargain!
Using the tips above should mean you are never stuck for something to whip up in the kitchen without breaking the bank.
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