The weekly shop is a dreaded task that we all have to do. The planning is almost as tiresome as the actual trip to the shops. Money is one of the main factors that bring this sense of stress to the food shop. How do you get the most out of the money you spend? The weekly shop is one place we’ve all felt the cost of living increases hit home as these are essentials that we need to take out of our disposable income, and unfortunately, the food shop is not a fixed cost.
We aim to offer you tips, tricks and advice to get the most out of your money and your food.
Food Shopping Tips
Food Shopping Budget
Everyone has a different budget. It depends on your income, the number of family members in the household or shopping as an individual. To calculate how much you should spend on your shopping, it is vital to make a household budget in general. You can do this by utilising the MABS My Budget Tool.
People always say it is dangerous to go food shopping without a shopping list. You can end up buying things you don’t necessarily need. Well, they are not wrong. When shopping smart, it is crucial to know what your needs are and what your wants are. The needs are items that are essential for your home and nutritious meals. Cleaning products, toilet paper, toiletries, baby food, vegetables and fruit are all needs. Minimise the wants, such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps, alcohol and so on. It is not easy to separate the needs and wants. Sometimes buying one thing from your want list (as long as it’s part of your shopping budget or treats budget) can be a well-deserved treat for sticking to your list.
Know your route
Grocery stores are designed to make people spend money. When you enter the shop with your grocery list, fresh vegetable and fruit are always first. Be sure to compare the prices of loose fruit and vegetables to the pre-packaged and the price per kg, as this is where you can save. Then we move on to the bread. The smells from the bakery draw you in. However, remember, get what you need, not what you want. Grab the sliced pan, wraps or brown bread and avoid the pastries. Continuing onto the meat section, a simple marinade can tenderise the cheaper cuts of meat and give you the same outcome. Through the rest of the store, remember that the own brand label is just as good as the name brand, but at a fraction of the cost.
Across various grocery shops, there are club cards and reward apps that can help you save money in every shop. It can help reduce the food bill significantly, allowing the remaining budgeted money to be saved or added to a discretionary fund.
Food Prepping Tips
Utilise your freezer
Buy frozen fruit and vegetables. They are just as nutritious and can be cheaper too. They rarely go off unless you forget about them in your freezer. Stopfoodwaste.ie has a guide for how best to freeze foods and use frozen foods safely. Ensure to learn about freezer safety and properly defrosting.
When unloading the shopping, remember to do a stock rotation of your pantry, fridge and freezer. Items closest to the expiration date get moved to the front, and new produce in the back. This helps reduce food waste and ensures the use of all produce purchased.
How to Store
For storing produce, make sure the fridge and freezer are at the correct temperature. The fridge should sit between 3°C – 5°C and the freezer at -18°C. This is for food safety. Produce will last longer when stored at the correct temperature. Again, check out Stopfoodwaste.ie for more tips on how to store your fresh produce correctly and get the longest shelf life possible.
We understand that with price increases, food shopping has become more difficult. Here at MABS, we know that everyone can have struggles with budgeting. We are here to help and offer advice.
If you have a query for one of our advisers or are struggling with your budget, you can call the MABS National Helpline on 0818 07 2000, Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 8 pm, WhatsApp 086 035 3141 or find the contact details for your local office.
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