Fifteen savvy tips to cut supermarket spending
Own-brand awareness:Many well-known brands make own-brand products that sell for a lot less than the premium brands. Weetabix makes Aldi’s wheat biscuits and they cost a lot less than the more familiar brand. Killowen Yoghurt in Wexford makes an excellent artisan yoghurt which sells under its own name – it also make private-label yoghurt, again for Aldi. It is good and excellent value for money. Glenisk deserves much praise for the quality of its organic dairy products. It supplies Tesco own-brand organic milk for less.
Try cheaper cuts:When it comes to eating on the cheap, your local butcher is your friend. He knows what the best-value meat is and how to cook it. If he offers to cut or trim cheap meat for you, say yes – it can be grim otherwise. It is not just your local butchers where cheap and good meat can be found. Bacon off-cuts in Tesco are very good value for money. The joints are misshapen but when chopped up they make very good lardons, perfect for soups and pasta sauces.
Eat less meat:When making stew, bulk it out with pulses and grains. They cost less and are better for you.
M&S Value:It is not just local shops and German discounters that offer real bargains. Marks & Spencer sometimes offers some of the best-value food. Its dine-in-for-two offers include a main course (a whole fresh chicken, a salmon or some class of high-end ready meal), a side (a salad, vegetables or chips), and a dessert (or cheese) and a bottle of perfectly fine wine for €12.50. When these deals are on offer, stock up, stick the stuff in the freezer, and then sit back with a nice glass of red, smug in the knowledge that you have saved yourself a precious few euro.
Go east:Speciality stores are your friend. Asian markets are great for saving money. Soy sauce, chilli sauce and rice are just three items that sell for a fraction of what you would typically pay in your local supermarket. Asian markets source it directly from the Far East and get a better price. While the brands may be unrecognisable to you, they tend to be very well known in their country of origin. Another great little shop for ethnic cuisine on the cheap is Little Italy in Smithfield, Dublin. Huge bags of good-quality pasta cost a tenner while cheeses, salamis and pizza bases can be picked up for a lot less than in mainstream supermarkets.
Eat porridge:It’s cheap, good for you and the best value superfood you will find anywhere. And if you’re dithering about what brand to buy, just go with Flahavan’s – excellent quality and Irish, too.
Mix it up: When you can’t see something, you are more likely to forget about it so clear out fridges and cupboards regularly and display fruit in bowls and vegetables on a rack.
Serves you right:Once you have done all your buying and your cooking, the next thing is managing the portions. We cook too much and we put too much on our plates. Arguably, we shouldn’t be putting anything at all on plates. If people helped themselves from communal bowls, leftovers are more likely to be kept, but when everything is mixed together on a plate, leftovers tend to be thrown out.