Household bills

Save money by cutting your food costs

With January well out of the way, many of us will be no doubt wavering on some of our New Year’s Resolutions – assuming that we haven’t given up on them already.

Among the more common pledges made,  eating more healthily and cutting back on spending were both popular. According to a recent survey by booklet specialists instantprint, eating better, getting fitter, and saving money represent the top three when it comes to resolutions, coming in at 48%, 46% and 44% respectively, out of 1,000 office workers surveyed.

Since we’re in the middle of a protracted spike in inflation, these concerns can be rolled into one: the price of food. But what’s the best way to keep our food costs down, and keep tabs on how much we’re spending?


Lunch spending out of control?

If you’re looking to reduce your food spending, then cooking at home is a sure-fire way to do it. Cutting back on restaurant meals or that Friday-night takeaway, in favour of something home-cooked, can generate substantial savings.

In practice, however, it’s the everyday meals that we order during the working day that might make the bigger impact on our bank balances. A few pounds here and there, multiplied over days and weeks, can make a big dent in your bank balance.

According to the instantprint research, we spend an average of £21 a week on work lunches. This adds up to just north of a thousand pounds a year. Around a quarter of workers opt for a meal deal at least once a week. With just 2% of workers end up ordering lunch every day.

Interestingly, the survey also found a gender gap when it comes to spending, with 51%  of men buying lunch at least once a week, compared with 40% of women. Age also makes a difference: 35-44-year-olds spend big at lunchtime, averaging £29 per week. By comparison, 18-24-year-olds spend just £4.

Those takeaway coffees are another luxury that can soon burn a hole in your disposable income – your daily cappuccino may be a tasty treat, but buying it every day on the way to work could easily set you back £700 plus over the course of a year.


What are our lunch favourites?

The research indicates that most of us are eating sandwiches for lunch. They’re practical, versatile, easy to throw together, and contain a winning balance of carbs, proteins and fats. The most popular lunchtime sandwich, according to the research, is chicken, with 17%. Ham and tuna mayo round out the top three, with around 10% each.

Of course, the humble sandwich isn’t the only option available. Lunchtime diners might also pack leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, salads, soups and pasta. This will to some degree depend on the cooking facilities available in your office. A microwave will help you to reheat soup or pasta dishes. A word of warning, though: certain pungent foods can make life in the office a little bit fractious, however delicious they may be, so spare a thought for your colleagues before reheating that fish dish or spicy curry!

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