If you’re in debt or struggling financially, there are several ways you can reduce your spending to free up your money to pay bills and repay your debts. One way to do this is to reduce the amount you spend each week on food shopping. You don’t have to go without food when you’re trying to reduce your spending. There are several ways you can save money and still have enough food to feed your family. We take a look at some money-saving tips for grocery shopping.
At certain times of the day, supermarkets will reduce the price of food that’s going out of date that day. Clearance food can be heavily discounted, and you can get yourself a bargain. Going shopping later in the evening will give you the best chance of getting clearance food. Many items of clearance food can be frozen when you purchase them and defrosted when you want to consume them in the future. Other items might have a best-before date rather than a use-by date, so they’ll still be fine to eat a few days after their best-before date has passed. It can be easy to get attracted by clearance food without looking at the prices; before buying them, check if you can’t get a cheaper alternative that’s not in the clearance section. Also, look at how much the item has been reduced; sometimes, it's only a very small amount. In this case, it might not be worth buying the item.
Meal planning is the best way to prevent overspending when you visit the supermarket. Before you go, write a list of the meals you need for that week and all the items you need to purchase to make them. Look in your food cupboards, fridge and freezer first to find things that you already have that can be used to make cheaper meals. This approach can reduce your food wastage; every item you purchase will have a purpose, which will stop you from throwing away food that’s gone out of date at the end of the week. You can adapt your meal plan when you’re shopping if an item isn’t in stock or you find something heavily reduced that you can use to make a cheaper meal. Without a meal plan, you could end up buying food that you can’t make a meal from or buying things that don’t get eaten.
If you’re in a situation where you can’t afford to buy food, you can get a referral from Citizens' Advice to your local food bank. Here you will be able to collect emergency food parcels to help you feed yourself and your family. Citizens Advice can also provide you with information and help about local charities that can offer debt advice to help you out of financial hardship. The charities will talk you through your options whilst offering advice. Advice on getting an IVA, declaring bankruptcy and other debt solutions can be discussed with one of these charitable organisations. No one should be in a situation where they can’t afford to feed themselves or their family. Seek help if you're currently in this situation or if you can see this being an issue in the future.
There are several apps that can help you to buy surplus food that other people don’t want. This can be food from individuals or shops and restaurants. These apps sell their food at heavily discounted prices, often in food parcels, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you open the box. However, this can save you a significant amount of money compared to buying food from the supermarket for your family. Try out these apps to see if they work for your situation.
Supermarkets often have a value range or an own brand range of food that is significantly cheaper than the well-known household brands. This food is often very similar to branded items but much cheaper. Always look at all of the options at the supermarket before buying an item. Most of the time, you’ll be able to save money by choosing the supermarket's own brand product.