According to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics, the average UK household spends £3,224 on groceries every year. As a result, in 2019 UK households spent 16% of their budgets on food and non-alcoholic drinks. The impact of the food shopping on our overall income is high so if our income or budget is low, how can we ensure we eat well and don’t end up out of pocket?
Eating healthily doesn’t mean no treats but you don’t want to fall into the trap of living off seemingly cheap frozen foods and those items on offer, when healthier alternatives could be more affordable. Below are some top tips for better nutrition and healthier eating, even on a frugal budget.
Always Write a List
This may sound like common sense but it’s surprising how many people don’t write a shopping list or if they do, they definitely don’t stick to it. Having a list and being really strict, ensuring you only buy what you need, will definitely shave a few pounds off your bill.
Make waste a taboo in your home, at least when it comes to food. Research has shown that families can throw away as much as £60 a month in food waste, only buy what you’ll eat so this simply cannot happen. Meal planning helps to ensure you make the most of the food you already have.
Shop for Discounts
Most of the leading supermarkets have an app or a points scheme which allow you to build up points which can be exchanged for cash and special discounts only for their members. They’re all in competition with each other so will fight for your custom, but you can also shop around and get the best from different schemes. You may find different supermarkets may have the best deals on fruit and vegetables in different weeks.
Consider a Meat-Free Diet
If your health is something you really want to protect then cutting out meat can make a huge difference, to both your overall health and your bank balance. A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, pulses and legumes is more than nutritious enough for the human body and can be a great way to cut out costs and do your bit for the environment and animal kind too.
Cook from Scratch
Even novice chefs can get to grips with a recipe or two downloaded from the internet. Once you learn to cook the basics you’ll be less tempted to buy expensive ready-made food when you can make a healthier, tastier version at home.
Batch it and Freeze it
Once you’ve got to grips with cooking then you can begin doubling your efforts and cooking in batches. Cooking in bulk allows you to make the most of your ingredients, avoid waste and fill your freezer with nutritious meals, removing the temptation to snack and buy fatty processed foods. Freezing your batch cooked meals allows you to get the most for your money when you cook up large portions and nothing is thrown away.
Grow your Own
If you have a garden, make the most of it. Turn a corner of your land into a herb and vegetable garden. You can very quickly grow enough vegetables to cut back on the weekly food costs and cultivating your own food is also hugely rewarding. If you’re feeling brave you could even consider keeping chickens too so you no longer need to buy eggs from the shop.
Keeping healthy when advertising and shop deals all point towards quick eats and snack foods can be hard. They can seem like the cheapest and most affordable option but if you spend a little time budgeting and planning, you’ll see it is actually cheaper to eat well.