Wheat, meat and corn prices are all on the rise, food inflation has increased and there’s a VAT hike on its way – is there any good news? Follow these top tips to make sure you pay a bit less at the checkout.
Rising prices are hardly a headline anymore, but when you hear costs for necessities like food and clothes are heading north, it’s time to start worrying.
The British Retail Consortium has just reported that food inflation has increased to 3.8% in August from 2.5% in July – the highest annual rate rise for over a year.
Wheat prices alone have risen 60% in the past year, following crop failure in Russia and its subsequent ban on exports. Global meat prices are at their highest for 20 years, says the BRC, while corn prices have risen 50% in the past 12 months, and cocoa costs have risen by 5%.
To make matters worse, certain commentators have said that clothing prices could rise by up to 8% next year, putting an end to the era of cheap clothes.
Add in the government upcoming VAT hike and 2011 is looking like the year we tighten our belts. With that in mind, below are five great ways to save on your food bills. If you have any great money saving tips, please post them in the comments section below.
1. Don’t be a food snob
Discount supermarkets may not be the most salubrious of shops but they can save you a fortune. Aldi was recently voted supermarket of the year at the Which? Awards and its rival Lidl was shortlisted – give them a go and see how much you save.
2. Don’t always ditch dated food
People are often confused between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates and throw away large amounts of perfectly good food in the process. ‘Use by’ is the one to look out for: you shouldn’t eat anything after this date, whereas ‘best before’ is about quality, not safety. Most food (except eggs) can be eaten after this date – it just won’t be at its best. Visit the Food Standards Agency to find out more.
3. Cash-in on clearance food
If you want some great offers on clearance food and drink, it’s definitely worth checking out Approved Food, which bills itself as the biggest online seller of ‘clearance, short-dated and out-of-date approved food and drink’.
4. Ferret around for a good deal
Fixture Ferrets promises that ‘you could save more than £10 on groceries each month using our handy supermarket shopping techniques’. It aims to find the latest supermarket deals and send you directly to them. Promotions that save £1 or less are open to all, but membership (which costs £5.20 a year) will allow you to see larger money savers.
5. Have a go at growing your own
One great way to save money is to grow your own veg – especially seasonal or expensive treats such as asparagus, rocket, broad beans and new potatoes, which can all be pretty pricey in supermarkets. You don’t need a huge garden – just a bit of outside space and some growbags will get you started. Visit our gardening pages for more information.