In the US UK Europe and worldwide, food costs are fluctuating. Food costs take up a huge part of the family budget and it can be a struggle for single parents to make ends meet. Tom Sanders, a professor of nutrition at King’s College in London believes it is possible for an adult to live healthily on £12 a week ($19) food budget. The average spend at restaurants is £32.70 ($51.40) a week across all households and £11.50 ($18.08) for low income groups. Even though living healthier is becoming more expensive, there are lots of tips and tricks to stretch the healthy food budget further and allow the occasional splurge and here is how:
Calculation of Money
The first thing to do, if you haven’t already, is to work out exactly what you have to spend – calculating all the money coming in from child benefits, work income, etc. Then take away the bills and out goings. This will give you the money left for healthy food and luxuries. Be really strict with this and you’ll avoid getting into debt for the sake of an organic shop. Don’t feel that just because you’re on a low income that you don’t deserve the occasional luxury treat too – no-one deserves it more!
It is important to set aside rainy day funds for treats and birthdays. That’s no reason to overspend – you should still strive for the best deals and stretch that money as far as it will go.
Value Brands and the Bargain Queen
You don’t have to stick to the supermarket value brands anymore. Approved Food is a well-kept secret of bargain queens. You can get those branded products at a fraction of the price because the companies are selling them off as they near their sell by date. The food is all perfectly safe, it’s just that we as consumers have been conditioned to be over cautious on sell by dates. More fool the rest of the world – you can give your little ones luxury food treats at bargain prices. The tip is to scan that luxury and healthy food section a week before it goes off and then grab yourself a bargain at a discounted price.
With some online grocery/supermarket stores you pay for delivery based on weight so it’s more economic to buy in bulk – perhaps group together with other like-minded bargain hunting friends and tackle the costs of a food shop.
Go shopping later in the day. Supermarkets often sell off freshly made food at an absolute steal at the end of the day - fresh bread and other fresh food can go for as little as possible as the stores just want to get rid of it. It’s best to head in late afternoon, as that’s your optimum target time slot for reductions on the shelf.
With creative planning, a bit of elbow grease – making lots of meals at once is the way forward. You will be responsible for the healthiness of your meals and buy cooking plenty at a time you will save money. Don’t pay extra for additives and preservatives; make your own healthy food.
It’s hard to find the time as a single parent, but call in the favours – have a babysitting club with friends and swap homemade ready meals for babysitting. This gives you the time for cooking and saves so much money and time in the long run. Or if cooking isn’t your thing, offer to do the babysitting role instead.
And finally, take inspiration from single mother and blogger Jack Monroe, who wrote about her meal ideas. She’s just got a book deal and is being praised for her creative healthy recipes on a budget so check it out.
Author: Hannah has a passion for traveling, food and saving money. She is a freelance writer who works alongside Vouchercloud who offers money saving food options through the Vouchercloud Sainsburys discounts. If you have any tips of your own feel free to let us know.
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