Keeping it real, not all of us live the #DubaiBling life and with the rising cost of living and looming recession it’s important we’re all a bit savvier with our money and reduce our weekly grocery shop bill is one of the best areas to save.
The key to saving money here is planning your meals and making your ingredients go further to avoid unnecessary waste. Stop leaving meals until the last minute or you may be tempted by Deliveroo and ultimately the more you cook from scratch that doesn’t need any prep from anyone else, the cheaper it will be too.
Here are our top tips to make your food go further and be savvier with your grocery shopping to
start off the new year with good new habits.
1 Plan your weeks
The key to saving money with your grocery ultimately comes down to your weekly meal planning and the execution of your plan. You need to create a meal plan, from that your shopping list and when shopping stick to your list. If you follow the plan, then you WILL save money and likely time and stress too!
2 Use up what’s in your cupboards
How many of us check what we already have in our cupboards before we shop? I did recently and I was shocked to find I had a whole freezer full of food I rarely touched, nearly 20 cans of tomatoes and lots of jar sauces I never got around to using. Take a proper stock check of what is in your cupboards, fridge and freezer before shopping as there is a good chance you have lots of ingredients to cook with. There are some great websites such as Allrecipes that generate recipe ideas based on what you tell them is in your fridge.
3 Shop the deals
The grocery stores are all competing for your business so try and find out who has the best deals, especially on the more expensive items such as laundry products, nappies and meats.
Supermarkets do tend to compete on the everyday items they know people need, so take advantage of this. Many of the online grocery retailers such as Kibsons are consistently more economical across the majority of categories, so it may be worth making the switch if you haven’t already. Work out what you want to buy, where’s the best place to buy it and then make your shopping plan accordingly.
4 Don’t avoid Canned foods
Tinned foods are brilliant to have and these cupboard essentials can turn into quick and healthy meals in only minutes. Tinned tomatoes can form the basis of so many things and they’re cheap, and nutritious and can make pasta sauces, curry sauces, risotto and more. Tinned beans and chickpeas are so versatile and cheap too. You can throw them in curries, chillies and stews too. You can even blend them into nutritious hummus and dips. Or add them to salads and coleslaws. Tinned potatoes and tinned fruits are also useful to have in your cupboard. Get it out of your head that canned means lazy, poor quality, or bad.
5 Eat what’s in season
This can be a little harder in a place such as Dubai, where nothing is really “in season”, but one simple way to save on groceries is to buy in-season produce as it’s more easily available – and usually tastier too! Here in the UAE, we have an abundance of local potatoes, leaves, tomatoes and cucumber, as well as other fruit and vegetables, so shop what’s local to the region for better prices.
6 Consider close to expiry items
All supermarkets discount items on the day of expiry and foods close to use by can be discounted significantly. As long as you have a plan for using them immediately, they can be a great way to save. The dates are typically approximate, so there is a little room on most items too. Marks and Spencer Food Hall for example is a great one for discounting at the end of the day and a way to have a few luxe and treat items for less.
7 Go Generic
Before picking up the branded item, take a look at the store brand version or value option
sitting next to it on the shelf. These options are typically significantly cheaper and contain the
same basic ingredients.
8 Don’t shop hungry
I know we often joke about this one and wander the aisles nibbling on a baguette, but how often do we actually follow it? Research has proven time and time again that you buy more when you are hungry, especially non-essential impulse purchases, which typically mean processed or packaged foods which are more expensive and less healthy too.
9 Stop buying pre-prepared food
As soon as you buy anything that has been prepared in any way, from a ready meal to a pre-chopped vegetable, the price goes up. Yes, it takes you more time, but the savings can be worth it.
10 Don’t grab the big trolley
Trolleys are getting bigger and it’s not your imagination. Yes, it’s another marketing trick by the supermarkets to get you to spend more! If your trolley is big and you only need a few items, you’ll definitely end up adding more. Start with a basket or mini trolley and don’t use the big one unless you absolutely need to.
And we could go on, as believe it or not saving money when it comes to groceries isn’t that
hard. You just need to be organized and plan. How much can you save on your grocery this