Whenever you seek out debt advice, one of the common themes is to ensure that you are organised with your finances. This includes having a look at money coming in to your household against the outgoings which are spent on a monthly or daily basis. By being more attentive, either by keeping some form of diary or spreadsheet or by looking closely at your bank statement, you will be able to break things down into smaller chunks. This should help you to discover where money is being frittered away and where savings can be made.
One area where it is apparent that outgoings can be cut is on food. A recent report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found that as much as 50 per cent of all food produced around the world goes to waste. While this study looked at reasons why food does not make it from the supermarket or field to the stomach of a consumer, it is a subject which should set alarm bells ringing for those looking at debt advice. How much food do you throw away every week? With most packaging carrying conservative best before dates it is likely that items you bought which looked tasty at the time might now not be looking as attractive.
This is often the case when you attempt a “big shop” – dashing round the supermarket once a week in order to get everything, and more, that you will need for the next seven days. However, unless you have your week planned out with military precision for you and your family there are likely to be times when a meal goes to waste. It could be that you have to work late or the kids are late home from school, leaving the lasagne which you bought last Sunday slowly going off. Going to the shop on a daily basis would be a much better way of looking at things. You will be able to plan your meals far more effectively and buy exactly what you need. You should know who will be sitting down at the table for dinner and ensure that no food goes to waste.
Another tip is to do your shopping after you have eaten. It is far too tempting to load the basket up with items that you do not need just because your stomach is rumbling. A case of the eyes being bigger than the belly could set you back a small fortune over the course of a year. With Britain also struggling with weight gain, another way of saving money on food would be to really think about how much produce is needed. With food prices and the cost of harvesting goods going up around the world, it is setting us back more and more to put a meal on the table. Is a starter really required? Are your portion sizes far too big? You might be able to cut a meal in half and make it go twice the distance.
Looking at offers in the supermarket and being more frugal will help you to look after your wallet. Buy-one-get-one-free offers are attractive and will give you double the food for your money. Visiting different stores will enable you to check out the different offers which are available. You might be able to pick up a deal on vegetables in one place, meat in another and beans elsewhere, giving you a nice rounded diet. With the number of cooking shows on TV these days, try taking inspiration from the likes of Jamie Oliver and get creative in the kitchen.
Cooking in bulk and storing meals in the freezer is one way of cutting costs. Quite often these dishes are relatively cheap to cook too. Try making a chilli con carne or curry – serve with a baked potato or bread and you will have a tasty treat when you get in – while soups are also easy to make and can be done relatively cheaply. Not only will taking a look at the amount of money you spend on food help you to cut your outgoings, but it will also enable you to do your bit for the health of the world, with the UN predicting that there could be an extra three billion people to feed by the end of the century.