Food. It's one of the great pleasures in life. But whether you're tucking into a childhood favourite or taking in the company as much as the cuisine itself, food is a pleasure that comes with the price tag of necessity.
It comes as no surprise, then, that groceries are a recurring theme in our day-to-day lives. Yolt tells us that, when it comes to the total number of transactions, supermarkets account for over a third of the top shopping merchants on the Yolt app. In fact, after transport, grocery shops account for the most frequent category transaction on Yolt (all those lunch-hour trips to your supermarket add up!).
But whether or not groceries are the first thing to pop into our brains when we start budgeting is another matter. Research tells us that our visits to the local supermarket take a substantial toll on the average wallet - when it comes to monthly spending, the Office for National Statistics found that in the UK, groceries account for 11% of the average weekly budget, with about 5% extra allotted to restaurant and takeaway meals.
When it comes to grocery budgets, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs
These insights might seem substantial on their own, but when paired with the latest research around household food waste, it seems groceries may be eating up even more of our budgets than we realise. Findings from WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Program) found that the average UK household bins over £60 worth of food - every month!
But while these stats offer a glimpse into the impact groceries have on our monthly budgets, they do little to dig into the behaviour that drives those numbers... Obviously, we don't just wake up and go “Yep, I think I'll throw away £60 this month!" Well, at least we hope not. It's the little habits and micro-decisions, subconscious or otherwise, that slowly rack up our spending and send our budgets into overdrive. So, without further ado, we put together our top (and easy) tips to help stay on top of your grocery spend this month – and every month:
1. Make a list
When you’re planning your budget for the month, try creating a list of groceries along with it. This way you’ll know whether or not your budget is realistic. Plus, when you know what you really need (and which snacks you’re willing to splurge on), it makes it a lot easier to stay on target during your shop.
2. Go big – once a week
When possible, try doing one big grocery shop per week instead of lots of small ones. Not only does it make it easier to stick to your list, but you’re less likely to overspend on impulse items.
3. Buy local and in season
This is one of the easiest – and most delicious and nutritious – ways to help keep your grocery budget on track. Of course, you can’t buy everything in season, but strawberries in June and apples in September are a good place to start.
4. Be smart with your leftovers
If you’re smart with your leftovers, you can pack lunches, save on dinner, and even reduce your eating out spend.
5. Ditch the plastic bag
Here’s an easy fix that not only saves you a few pounds, but the environment! Though it seems small, those 5p coins add up. If you visited your locally supermarket 6 times a week, and bought just one plastic bag each time, you’d spend over £15 a year. That may seem small, but wouldn’t it be nicer to spend that on something a bit more exciting than 312 plastic bags? At Yolt, we really believe that little change can make a big difference, so we hit the streets this week to share some reusable bags and make those grocery budgets just a little bit lighter!
What are your top tips for saving on your grocery shop?