Most people are experiencing financial difficulties in the current financial climate, so anything that can help you keep to your shopping budget has to be a boon, especially when prices are constantly increasing. There are some very simple ways that you can save money by making your groceries last longer.
Check the sell-by dates carefully
When buying a specific product, check the sell-by date and buy those with the date that is furthest away, unless you know that you are going to use it all straight away. That way, you won’t buy a product that is out of date before you use it. This is particularly relevant to condiments and other items that are often shoved to the back of the cupboard and forgotten about. Products with a short shelf life should be placed in a prominent place so that you don’t forget about them.
Buy in bulk
Although the initial outlay may seem rather extravagant, it is cheaper in the long-term to buy goods, particularly rice and pasta, in bulk. You will get a lot more for your money and you won’t need to keep worrying about whether you have enough to last out the week. If you don’t have a car and struggle to get home with heavy loads, turn to monthly online shops – the delivery charge will be more than off-set by the savings you made from buying in bulk.
Freeze/preserve what won’t last
Keep an eye on the sell-by dates for more perishable goods and, if you cannot use them up in time, find ways to preserve them. You may be able to simply freeze some goods; hard cheese, for example, freezes well and can then be defrosted when you need it. If you can’t freeze items as they are, such as tomatoes, use them to prepare a pasta sauce base and either freeze in individual portions or preserve in jars. If you’re unsure what you can and can’t freeze, search online for guidelines and remember that foods shouldn’t be refrozen once defrosted.
Order your cupboards
Make sure that your kitchen cupboards are well organised so that you can see exactly what you have left and what you need to replace. If you stash foodstuffs to the back of the cupboard, they may last longer, but you may find that you can’t use them because they are well past their sell-by date by the time you have found them. The same goes for your fridge. If you have a lot of food stored in your fridge, it is easy for perishable goods to get pushed to the back and go off long before you get round to using them.
Plan menus around what you have
Take regular stock of exactly what you have in your cupboards, fridge and freezer and make sure that you use up what won’t keep by planning menus around it. For example, if you have just dug up a bumper crop of potatoes from your garden, you might want to use them up and keep the rice and pasta, which won’t go off so quickly. If you have random items and are unsure what you can cook with them, try recipekey.com, which allows you to search for recipes that include the items in question. With less waste, you can make your groceries last much longer.
Food is ultimately there to be eaten, but if you can order your weekly shopping and menus so that you use up what won’t keep, your stock pantry items will last much longer and save you money.