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Cost of living budget tricks: Food

We’ve collected a selection of helpful tips to deal with prices going up all around the UK at the moment. From fuel costs to energy bills and even your favourite snack, everyone is noticing how everyday living seems to be getting more expensive.

We all need food, so it’s not fun when your weekly shop is getting more and more expensive.

Get creative

It’s easy to spend more money than you realise on food, especially when life gets busy. When we buy food in a hurry or at the last minute we can be tempted to spend more or buy more than we need. If you are familiar with dashing into the supermarket every day to pick up a quick snack or easy meals, or you’ve had a few takeaways recently, you probably know what we mean.

However, with prices of food now set to continue increasing, you may be surprised how planning your meals in advance can really help you save valuable pounds. Often a few key ingredients can be used in a variety of ways to make a wide variety of dishes so that you don’t have to feel like you’re eating the same thing every day. For example, beef (or Quorn) mince can be used to make:

Reusing the same ingredients can help reduce food wastage and buying in bulk is often cheaper.

See if you can think outside the box not only in what you’re cooking but where you’re shopping too. Do you always nip into the nearest chain supermarket, but there’s a local farm shop not far away you’ve never visited? Why not check out what they have to offer as you can save money, and it’s better for the environment too, to buy locally sourced food.

Watch out for shrinkflation

You may notice if a food product you buy often goes up in price, but would you notice if it had got smaller as well? This so-called ‘shrinkflation’ is a trick that food companies use to avoid us noticing the extent of the rise in their prices, where the price of an item may go up but the amount of food you get for that price is also less. Keep your eye on the package sizes of the items you want to buy and don’t just compare cost but compare cost per gram so that you get the best deal.

Buy in cash

A lot of us started using less cash as a result of the pandemic, but when you’re on a tight budget, using cash can help you keep track of your spending as well as discourage you from making unnecessary purchases.

Bonus Tip: Using credit wisely

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, many of us may find we need access to credit to manage unexpected costs or recover from income shocks. You may need to turn to a line of credit in these cases, so keeping an eye on your credit score is really important in case you need to borrow.

Make sure you avoid missing payments on your existing credit commitments by keeping track of your budget throughout the month and contacting your lender in advance if you think you’ll run into any issues. Check your credit score for free with the major credit reference agencies via the Experian, Clear Score and Credit Karma apps to make sure that you’re staying on track.

More Information

What is sustainable credit?

Polar Credit: A new way to borrow

Credit lines vs overdrafts

Credit lines vs credit cards

For more helpful information about how to manage your money, different financial products or what we do at Polar Credit, take a look at our Info Hub.