5 practical ways to eat better while paying less


Woman chooses vegetables from food stall

You may be surprised to learn that, even during the current cost of living crisis, you can eat just as well as you did before food prices rose sharply.

With just a small amount of planning and a pinch of guile, you can enjoy a healthy diet while avoiding paying a heavy price for your meals.

The belief that following a healthy lifestyle costs too much is nothing short of a misconception and one that is more important to bust now than it ever was.

So, read on to discover five practical ways you can eat better while saving money.

1. Plan your meals a week ahead to save time and money

Trying to sort yourself a meal at the last minute invites you to take the most convenient option available to you and won’t often lead to a healthy choice.

And if you have no ingredients in to even rustle up a quick homemade dinner, you may find yourself ordering an unnecessary takeaway when your tummy is rumbling. Considering that the average Brit spends £641 a year on takeaways, according to a study reported in This is Money, you could save yourself a significant amount by encouraging yourself to cook.

By creating a plan of the meals you plan to eat a week ahead of time, you can stay ahead of schedule and avoid those evenings in which you’re stuck for something for dinner.

In addition to this, you can more easily regiment your diet and plan healthy meals to eat throughout the week – you could even leave a day empty for the beloved takeaway once a week.

Planning in this way can also help you save money by avoiding the purchase of superfluous ingredients. As well as this, your plan could help you keep better track of your shopping according to the three-day rule – a simple guideline used to remind you when most fresh produce will start to expire.

By making a plan that encourages you to buy what you need, rather than what you want, you could make better use of the food you do buy and prevent wasteful habits that could cost you a lot of money.

2. Create a plan that fits around your lifestyle

When the goals are within your reach, a plan can be a great way to make the necessary changes to your eating habits.

However, there is little utility in even the most detailed plan if its goals are totally unrealistic. 

During the process of creating your plan, you should make sure to act yourself and check: “can I really manage this?”

This might involve taking into account your lifestyle, hobbies, and sheer willingness to prepare the food. Acknowledging that you may not be in the mood to stand over a stove for some hours after a late night at work can help you create a framework you can stick to.

As such, including some dishes in your plan that are less taxing to make could be the force to prevent you from opting for a late-night takeaway when you’re feeling unmotivated.

Falling back on your plan could result in wasted food and money!

3. Start your savings in the shops

Supermarkets are designed from head to toe with one thing in mind – to make you spend more. 

As soon as you walk through the door, until the moment you queue to pay, you are bombarded with different strategies to make you hand over even more money to the stores. 

From shiny deals to the calculated placement of items, the extent grocery stores go to in order for you to buy more means you certainly aren’t to blame for picking up a few extra pieces of shopping.

By making a strict list of what you need to buy and sticking to it, you can stop yourself from falling for impulse buys that seem good at the time. Avoiding the shops when you’re in a rush or particularly hungry can also help you dodge your expensive cravings.

Buying things you don’t want or need only makes you more likely to not use them, resulting in wasted money and food. In fact, you could consider using your weekly meal plan to dictate what goes on your list to keep your wastage to a minimum.

It could also help to keep an eye out for locally sourced goods – this trend is becoming increasingly popular across stores, and they often sell the items below their standard price.

As shops compete to retain their slice of the market, rewards and discount schemes are becoming an essential part of the modern shopping experience. Taking advantage of loyalty cards from shops you frequent could add up to significant savings on your food bill. 

4. Cook your meals in batches to prevent expensive panic-takeaways

Another way to circumvent those costly, last-minute takeaways is by batch-cooking your meals.

Cooking small portions can make things difficult to get right and may lead to you wasting money if you have to discard excess ingredients or any leftovers from your dinner.

On top of this, you’ll probably find yourself going to the shops more often, which can be a battlefield for anyone trying to spend less.

However, by cooking your meals as a part of large batches, you’re more likely to use up all of the ingredients you bought and are able to freeze leftovers for quick and easy meals further down the line.

One of the best ways to use them is to replace your quick and easy late-night meal with a nutritious, frozen meal you’ve already prepared – this can not only stop you from spending needless money on a takeaway but also provides a healthy, homemade meal in its place.

5. Stock up on the essentials to avoid unnecessary expenses

For some products you find yourself buying frequently, it’s difficult to justify not bulk-buying essential groceries that you often rely on in your food.

Food items like pasta and rice can often become exponentially more expensive the smaller the quantity you buy. 

Take Tilda rice at Tesco as an example of this: while a 1kg bag of rice is priced at £5, a 10kg bag becomes almost half price at £26. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how thinking in the short term can lead to you spending much more on food.

At the same time, you only encourage yourself to cook fresh meals by staying stocked up on the ingredients you need, removing some of the utility of unhealthy ready meals and fast food.

Don’t forget the amount of money you’ll inevitably spend on fuel as a result of ferrying back and forth for your essentials each week. Not only could bulk-buying help you save money in this regard, but it can also have positive effects on the environment as you’ll use less packaging and fuel.

Get in touch

We can help you manage your spending throughout the cost of living crisis and give you a better overall understanding of your finances.

Please contact us by email at info@investmentsense.co.uk or call 0115 933 8433.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.