The cost of living may have dropped recently, but we would all like to see our money go further. When it comes to food, one great way to spend less and enjoy more is to think creatively. Having to consider what we buy and eat more carefully than usual can actually have a very positive effect - just ask anyone who has felt a glowing sense of pride after cobbling together a few ingredients only to create something not just edible, but an instant family favourite.
Here are our thoughts on reducing the amount of money we all spend on food - just add your own touch of creativity!
Have you been meaning to try out a cheaper supermarket? Or could you swap out a few of those brand-name products for the supermarket's own-brand versions? If you never try, you'll never know if they're actually just as good, and there could be real savings to be made. Why not give it a go this week? You can always switch back if you have to.
Lists and planners.
Heading to the supermarket, list in hand, could help you sidestep bad choices and impulse buys - perfect if you're trying to be healthy or stick to a budget (or, as with most families, both). The Love Food Hate Waste website makes some great suggestions on this subject, including taking a photo of your fridge so you can see exactly what's in it before you leave your house (great when you've no time for lists), and making a meal plan for just four or five days a week, letting you reap the benefits of buying food that can make up several different dishes, while still enjoying a little spontaneity.
Make a change and grow your own.
Meat isn’t cheap - we all know that - so why not go veggie a couple of nights a week? It's a great way to up your family's vegetable intake, and lentils, chickpeas and other nutritious base ingredients will ensure everyone still leaves the table feeling full. Growing your own fruit, veg and herbs can also help you save - and it can even double-up as an inexpensive hobby for you and your family to share.
Use up what you have.
We're all guilty of getting enticed by that special offer, or a product's all-singing all-dancing new advertising campaign, but before you treat yourself to that new beauty product or shower gel, think about what you've got. Enforcing a one in, one out rule on your makeup bag and bathroom cabinet will help you avoid wasting what you've already bought, and could afford you enough time to decide you're not going to let the hype tempt you to spend over the odds.
Make the most of deals that'll earn you savings, especially if it benefits the planet! For example, you can earn extra reward points at certain supermarkets by bringing your own bags (meaning you can feel good about recycling and earn money off your future shopping). When it comes to clothing, look out for deals that will get you money off purchases you are certain you would make anyway. For example, some clothing retailers are currently running clothing and textile recycling services where you give them a bag of old clothes to reuse or recycle, and they give you a voucher or other reward.
Have a 'free weekend'.
This is a popular concept at the moment, and can result in huge savings, a real sense of achievement, and (most importantly) some great family adventures! It works by you enforcing a ban on spending for a weekend - no paying for entry to attractions, no buying food - you get the idea! But rather than being restrictive, this rule can really open up a whole new world of activities you may not have considered before. There are plenty of websites out there to help get you started; we love the 'free days out' sections on VisitBritain's website, designed to help you see more of our country without leaving yourself out of pocket.
Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial adviser about your own circumstances.