Grocery shopping as a single person can be wasteful and expensive, with leftovers regularly being thrown in the bin and expensive items going out of date, yet with careful planning, you can save on food when you’re single.
From familiarising yourself with your freezer to making clever use of leftovers and snapping up the right kind of supermarket offers, here CashLady looks at saving money on food when shopping for one.
How to save on food when you’re single
Perfect planning for low-cost meals
You should aim for one regular supermarket shop each week, instead of picking up bits here and there, which soon adds up and often leads to food being thrown away.
Before hitting the supermarket, have a look at what food you already have in the fridge and hidden at the back of cupboards and then spend some time properly planning your meals and writing a list of what ingredients you need.
Low-cost food inspiration
There are lots of sources of low-cost food inspiration on the internet, with websites such as Pinterest and BBC food providing economical meal ideas.
For example, you could make a batch of soup on Sunday to eat at work for lunch on two days and freeze the rest. If you like to roast a chicken on a weekend then think about using the leftovers for chicken salads and a curry.
Whatever you do, never go food shopping hungry, so have a little snack as you devise your meals for the next seven days.
Saving money by batch cooking
One of the most economical ways to save on food when you’re single is making food in a big batch and then portioning it up and putting it in the freezer.
This is especially useful when you are single and don’t want to cook meals from scratch for yourself each day.
The best batches are one-pot meals that are simple and cheap to make, working out at under £1.00 per portion.
and this chickpea and spinach curry are all delicious and ideal for whipping up to store as low-cost dinner and lunch options.
Familiarising yourself with your freezer
A handy tip for storing food in your freezer is buying small freezer bags, lining a cup with a bag and then ladling your food into the cup. Once it’s full, tie the bag at the top and repeat for each portion, then leave to cool before freezing.
On those long days when you feel tired and might otherwise phone an expensive takeaway or pick up a supermarket microwave meal for a lazy dinner, simply remove a bag from the freezer and pop it in the microwave or on the hob to cook.
Snapping up supermarket deals
Two for one offers and knocked down prices at the end of the day, may see you your supermarket trolley.
If you are single then try and avoid bulk buy offers on food with a limited shelf life. While ‘buy one get one free,’ is great for toothpaste and pasta, it’s an expensive way to waste food that you won’t get a chance to eat and goes off quickly, such as fruit and vegetables.
Snap up bulk offers on meat and bread, however, which can be put in the freezer and frozen in individual portions if necessary.
Using leftovers to save money on food
Buying a selection of store cupboard spices, such as garam masala and smoked paprika, and a ready supply of herbs (which can be stored in the freezer) means that you can spruce up plain ingredients to make cheap and quick meals from leftovers.
Vegetable omelettes and frittatas are a healthy and quick way to make use of cooked vegetables and only require a few eggs and a little creativity.
Saving money when eating out
Research has shown that single people are more social than those in relationships and so you may eat out regularly, dining with friends or with a date.
If you are saving money then try to limit eating out in restaurants and takeaways to treats only, and look for discounts in your favourite eateries through websites such as Groupon.