Eating right, eating well and sticking to a budget is a trinity of skills that can take some practice to get right.
Making sure you take advantage of bargain foods whilst also making sure you have enough healthy food to get through each week can be a challenge for most households.
According to the Office For National Statistics, UK household spend around 16 per cent of their budget on food and drink, with a yearly spend of £3,312 per year (around £64 per week) on grocery shopping.
With that in mind, here are some top tips to making a sensible food budget and sticking to it.
Make Sure Your Budget Is Realistic
The first step to sticking to a food budget is setting one it is possible to stick to, and the best way to do that is to take stock of what you tend to spend on food each week and on what.
This can be much easier if you only buy food once a week, as you can easily make an average of what you spend each shop, as well as whether you spend money on takeaways or quick top-up shops during the week.
Gradually Reduce Expenses
A common mistake many people make when they budget is they start with an unrealistic budget. Start off with a reasonable limit with enough leeway for you to buy everything you need comfortably whilst you get used to working with a hard limit.
For example, if your household spends the average of £64 per week, start by setting a budget of £65, and gradually lower that budget as you feel more comfortable being economic.
Bear in mind that some weeks if you are buying spices or condiments or other more expensive items your budget will increase, hence the need for a realistic budget it is easy to stick to.
Get a calculator, put your total budget into it and subtract anything you put into your trolley from that total. It is a simple but surprisingly effective way to keep your budget firm.
Plan Meals In Advance
Batch cooking and meal prepping have become increasingly popular beyond the bodybuilding world because it allows people to spend more time on preparing recipes when they have time to and reduces the need to buy pre-packaged meals which tend to be more expensive.
Dedicate some time each week to preparing a few recipes you can make in bulk, organising what ingredients you need, cooking them and storing them to reheat for days when you do not have the time.
Start With Fruit And Veg
Fruits and vegetables are nutritious, filling and really delicious, and if most of your budget consists of produce, it can become quite easy to stay within your budget.
Try to avoid fresh veg that goes off very quickly, which tends to mean sticking to potatoes, spinach, apples and pears when it comes to fresh veg, and buying frozen or tinned for the rest.
Avoid Bargain Hunting
This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you have to drive to different supermarkets to take advantage of the best deals you find on everyday essential items, you are likely paying more in fuel than you are saving.
You can buy frozen veg, fruit and you can freeze any meat you are unlikely to use before it goes off, so taking advantage of this can save you tons.