How to food shop cheaply and get away with it
Ever been embarrassed opening your food cupboards in front of people because they're full of supermarkets own brand or value food?
Here's how to camouflage your food shop... It's bad enough when you're walking around the supermarket with a trolley full of own brand goods and someone you know spots you, but opening the cupboards in front of family and friends can be soul destroying.
The credit crunch has hit people hard lately and with the cost of living rising and the wages staying the same, something has to give.
In my house it's usually the food shopping as that's the biggest weekly bill. Own brand labels are becoming more and more acceptable as people are turning to them, there used to be a stigma attached but that has long been disregarded.
Rice, Grains and Pasta
Jars are great for storing your food, you can store items such as:
Pasta - Rice - Flour - lentils - Dried peas - Seeds
These items when stored in jars look great in any kitchen, you can get jars of all shapes and sizes and thy really are an eye catching addition to your home. I personally keep these types of items on display.
They're air tight, keeping your food fresh for months.
Fruit and vegetables
Just take everything out of those embarrassing value packets (remember to recycle your old packaging) and invest in a nice fruit bowl for your table and a vegetable trolley for your kitchen.
Not only does your fruit and veg haul look great in your kitchen but it encourages the children to have it to hand and eat more healthy. Your home will have a lovely rustic/homely feel.
Did you know you should never put mangoes, aubergines or tomatoes in the fridge? You would be surprised which fruits actually belong in the fruit bowl and are supposed to be stored at room temperature.
There's plenty of choice available for fruit and vegetable storage to suit your needs, you can get various sizes, shapes, colours and materials.
You can purchase your own brand cereals and convert them straight in to a cereal container.
The advantages include:
- Dishwasher safe
- Portion control
- No embarrassing 'value' boxes
- Easy pour - No more spillage from hard to open cereal boxes
- Easily identify the cereal you want
These type of containers are plastic are usually stored away in the cupboard but are so much neater and compact.
I tend to use standard (see through)Tupperware (not necessarily branded) for fridge items, they can come straight out of the packaging and straight in to a Tupperware box.
Tip* When buying takeaways or other products in plastic reusable tubs, wash and reuse for your fridge items.
Again these boxes are air tight, keeping your food nice and fresh, I immediately un-package and store items such as:
- Cooked meats, ham, chicken etc
- Fresh sausages
- Fresh fish
It's only what you would do once you had opened it to keep it fresh anyway, so why not do it before.
Eggs: People often forget that most fridges come with an egg holder inbuilt, these usually hold 6 or 12 eggs and help you utilise space in your fridge.
Butter: This can easily be taken from its wrapper and placed in a special butter dish.
Now this is by far my best cheat,
Own brand pickles such as:
- Pickled onions
Can be bought so much cheaper in the value brands than branded, all you have to do is transfer them in to a clear jar with no labels and create a "home made" label. You will have people thinking your the housewife/househusband from heaven and no one will ever suspect a thing.
You can even carry it through to items like jam and chutneys.
Olive oil - If you purchase a good quality olive oil in a nice bottle, when it's on offer, this can easily be refilled by a cheap brand oil.
Spices - No rustic kitchen should be without a spice rack, herbs and spices are all available in own brand for little cost, you can fill up your spice rack with them and have it looking lovely and smelling better.
Sauces - There's plenty of novelty sauce dispensers on the market use this to your advantage, keep it topped up with own brand sauce or again you could even buy a large branded bottle and wash it out after use and fill with value sauce.
Salt and Pepper - Buy some salt and pepper shakers and keep them topped up with own brand salt and pepper, no one will be any the wiser.
Tea, coffee and sugar
Most homes have tea, coffee and sugar canisters but if you don't.....buy one.
Coffee in particular is really expensive these days and most people are quite fussy and only drink name brands, but when you go out for a breakfast in a local cafe, they serve cheap coffee and no one seems to bat an eyelid.
It's because you eat/drink with your eyes first, some people seen own brand food and drinks and immediately assume they don't/won't like it.
But if a friend comes over for a cuppa the chances are they won't even question it when you make it straight from the canisters.
Biscuits and Chocolate
A pack of value biscuits can cost between 20-50p where as branded biscuits usually cost between 50p and £1.
Personally I can't taste the difference and I'm sure your family wouldn't.
Buy a biscuit barrel or cookie jar for your kitchen counter, you can fill these with own brand biscuits.
You can buy a tin or recycle an old biscuit tin to keep any chocolate bars in too.
It's not just your food items you can save on, I buy brand nam items such as comfort but only when it's on offer, then I refill the bottle with a cheaper version. You can do this with pretty much any 'under the sink' products such as:
- Washing tablets
- Dishwasher tablets
- Spray bottles
- Washing up liquid
- Fabric softner
All have packaging that can be opened and re-stocked.
Toilet roll: This can be opened and put in to a toilet roll holder so the brand can be disguised.
Where can I get these items?
You don't have to pay a fortune for these items, places like Ikea and your local supermarket sell things like this for great prices.
Charity shops or thrift store, check these out, get your items cheaply and help a good cause.
Car boot sales are great for picking storage type items up for hardly any money.
Ask family and friends, you will be surprised how many people have items like this collecting dust in the cupboards.
Check out freebie sites, post a wanted add, again lots of people will have these type of things lying around.
More ways to save on your groceries..
Finally and perhaps the best way of saving cash on your food shopping is to use voucher codes and coupons.
You can find paper coupons in all kids of places, such as:
Free newspapers - Such as the Metro which you can find on most methods of public transport.
Magazines - which you don't necessarily even need to buy, simply ask friends and family to pass on theirs once finished, then cut out all the coupons.
Supermarkets - Sometimes on entering your local supermarket there will be people handing out coupons or a table with some laid out on, also on the actual checkout there's usually a free magazine which has loads of coupons in. Also, check out the free food sample desks, as they often hand out coupons too.
For Online coupons and Voucher codes you can of course get a whole load of offers and online discounts for your favourite supermarkets in our Food & Groceries section.