After housing, food usually accounts for the biggest chunk of the family budget. Of course, if your family insists on generous portions of roast beef and rich desserts these days, your food costs will soar. Almost every family could practice a little control on food buying without a bit of sacrifice on nutrition, tastiness, and enjoyment of what they eat.
It isn’t easy, but you can do it if you want to and there are some general rules that can help. For example, plan your menus for the week, and shop according to that plan. In this way, you can mix cheaper meals among the more expensive ones, so that you don’t wind up at the end of the week or month on a steady diet of macaroni and cheese.
It’s easy to rush around a familiar supermarket filling the cart with the same things you always get, but you may be spending money you could save by checking on price differences between brands, making sure that the week’s specials are bargains for you, and by buying only what’s on your list.
Before you start the buying process make sure that you are familiar with your food allergies. If you are unsure of that and want to test that, you have the best food intolerance test in UK, that you can visit for reliable allergy tests. This way you can avoid food items that are not suitable for you saving you time and money ultimately.
FOOD BUYING TIPS
Almost everybody has a stock of old wives’ tales and superstitions about food: here’s a crop of facts that can give you some help in stretching your food-buying dollar considerably further.
- Mild cheeses are lower in price than sharp ones, which must be aged longer.
- Most expensive least nutritional are processed cheeses, with fillers, in fancy jars.
- Buy grating cheese in a chunk and grate it yourself; also grate any cheese that has become hard before being used up.
- Slice it yourself; you pay extra for already sliced cheese.
- To store for better keeping, wrap cheese in foil, waxed paper, or cloth dampened with vinegar.
BUTTER AND MARGARINE
- Whipped butter is expensive; if you prefer it, whip it yourself in an electric mixer.
- Salted butter is cheaper than unsalted.
- Take only the amount of butter you need each time from the refrigerator; otherwise, part of it might go rancid.
- Margarine has the same food value as butter, and is cheaper.
- All margarine must meet federal standards for fat and Vitamin A content; therefore, the cheapest brand should be all right.
- Even if you prefer butter for the table, use margarine for general cooking and baking; mixing part butter and part margarine for non-table use is still something of savings.
- The grade is a government standard of quality; Grade AA is the best, but also the most expensive.
- Use cheaper Grade A instead of Grade AA for frying and boiling; the difference in taste and texture is slight.
- Use the cheapest Grade B for general cooking and baking; the quality is good, but thinner whites and runnier yolks make Grade B eggs spread more in frying or boiling.
- Buy by size to save money too; medium and small eggs are usually better buys than large in late summer and fall, large ones are the better buy in spring.
- White and brown shell eggs are of equal nutritional value; don’t pay extra for shell color.
- Buy only from a refrigerated case, and never accept cracked eggs.
FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
- Buy both in the season for the best price
- Buy both only in amounts you will use up quickly; pears, peaches, and avocados especially are best when fully ripe.
- Smaller size fruit is often cheaper; it’s also a better buy for children.
- It’s no savings to get vegetables cheaper because of some decay; a few extra pennies for products in good condition is a good investment.
- Buy fruit and vegetables loose so that you can pick out your own, when possible; you’re more likely to get unspoiled ones.
- Thin-skinned oranges give more juice than thick-skinned ones; green color is not a sign of being unripe, because oranges are dyed.
- Sweetened cereals cost more; add sugar yourself and save.
- It’s cheaper to buy several large boxes of different kinds than one package containing single portions of different varieties.
- Cooked cereals are cheaper than ready-to-serve ones.
- “Gifts” with box tops are no bargain; they cost the price of the cereal at least, and usually a bit more, but the gift is seldom of good quality.
- Slices, chunks, and halves of fruits and vegetables are cheaper than whole ones.
- Private brands of supermarket chains are usually cheaper, and of good quality.
- The heavy syrup adds to the cost of canned fruit, it’s also sweeter and more fattening.
- Don’t buy cans that show signs of leakage, or bulge at the ends; dents are harmless unless the metal has been pierced.
One-stop shopping in a supermarket is a great convenience for most of us – but a supermarket is a business, not a charity, and all those attractive displays-and even the arrangement of the store-are designed mainly to persuade you to spend more money. The sensible shopper enjoys the convenience, evaluates the specials on display, takes the opportunity to look at new products, and then is careful to buy only the things you need.