Don’t Sink Your Budget on Food and Drink



Each family balances its own set of spending obligations, so money-handling habits are unique to each household. Some personal money managers own homes, so meeting monthly responsibilities includes a mortgage payment. Others prioritise saving and investing, so putting by cash for the future is a top concern. Still others live in the moment, dedicating a lion’s share of their income to daily rewards and short-term satisfaction. Despite these differences in financial preferences, there are many common spending considerations shared by every UK family. Among them, the cost of food and drink is a necessary part of every British budget.

Dining expenses range from money spent at the market to the price of meals away from home. Across the board savings are possible, offering various ways for Britons to keep food costs as low as possible, without sacrificing nutrition and good taste. The following strategies can help you manage your food budget and convert wasteful spending into savings.

Take a Lunch to Work

Convenience sometimes trumps frugal spending, prompting many people to fall into expensive habits. Daily lunches add up, so if your lifestyle means you’re away from home for your midday meal, you need an affordable strategy for staying nourished, without overspending. Buying take-away lunch or eating in a restaurant every day is not a cost-conscious solution. Instead of falling prey to the high cost of restaurant meals, plan for lunch needs ahead of time, packing a nutritious and reasonably priced meal for each day you’re away from home.

If you’re fortunate, your workplace may offer helpful amenities for keeping food costs down, including on site microwaves and refrigerators for employees. Larger facilities may also be prepared to feed you, extending low-cost cafeteria options for staffers. Apply the same approach for every family member and savings are compounded by the number of people within your household.

Mind Store Buys

In-store promotions are a source of savings, but they can also lead you down the wrong path, if you’re not careful with purchases. Managing your food budget with savings in mind, it doesn’t make sense to overbuy items you don’t need. While there is nothing wrong with stocking up on canned goods when they are on buy, overcommitting on some perishable products ends up costing more than simply buying what you need, when you need it.

Your freezer comes in handy for preserving food bought on buy, but meat and other frozen goods have a limited shelf life. For the best results saving money at the market, look closely at your eating habits, before making ill-advised purchases. Is the buy something you use regularly? Is the item likely to go on buy again, before you need to replenish your supply? How valuable is the discount? Answering questions like these makes it easier to decide how much to buy. And simply going through the process, rather than automatically filling your trolley, ensures you’ve thought out food purchases before making costly mistakes.

Empty Your Cupboard

If yours is like most cupboards, it’s stocked with items built-up over time, which remain uneaten. For immediate savings on your grocery tally, try eating only from your cupboard, without making a trip to the market. You’ll most likely find some of the food has lost its freshness or been held beyond expiration dates. The exercise provides incentive to clean out the old goods, but it can also reduce spending, as you use the food you’ve already paid for.

Buy Right

Food spending habits reflect everything from personal preferences to conditions across the national economy. When citizens are flush with cash, luxury spending rises, resulting in food buys above and beyond average fare. During economic dips, many families rein-in extravagance, limiting meals out and focusing on basic food menus. At times like these, it is particularly important to pay the proper price for foodstuffs. Buying larger quantities, when appropriate, can help you do just that.

Markets want to offer as many choices as possible, so food is packaged in various sizes. In the meat department, roasts and larger cuts are broken-down to individual serving-sized units, adding a premium to the price. In practice, it is easy for you to do the same thing at home, saving money in the process. For the most affordable meals, buy larger sizes and control your own portions for savings.

Cutting costs contributes to healthy home finances, so every saving opportunity is welcomed with open arms. Targeting wasteful food spending can help stabilise your budget, particularly when your finances are feeling the squeeze from other obligations. Use these tips to start saving today.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK’s most well-known financial institutions.


An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!


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