MasterChef Gregg Wallace didn’t become a ‘master chef’ without knowing how to cut corners. Anyone who’s ever made it in the food business has been poor or struggling to find savings at the checkout counter. Gregg Wallace, whose show MasterChef airs on the Food Network UK, is certain that he can help you save big money on your shopping bill because, well, he had to do it once too.
In a piece he wrote for the British paper The Sun, the Food Network’s MasterChef star provided some easy ways you can save money throughout the year, especially during the holidays, on your grocery bill.
Holiday Food Shopping Tips from MasterChef Gregg Wallace
Plan: Wallace says sitting down with your family to plan meals can save you all kinds of money. No more impulse buys, and you can ensure that what you cook is going to get eaten because the whole squad’s in agreement. And stick to it!
Know what you need: Keep an inventory of what’s in your cupboards, fridge and pantry so you don’t get stuck buying the same ingredients over and over again.
Consult the freezer: The freezer is where good food gets lost and forgotten. Before heading to the store, peak in the freezer to see what’s in there and how you can use it for meals this week.
Learn what you’re spending: Most people have no idea what they spend on groceries, so for the next three shops, hold onto your receipts. Look at how much you spent and what you bought, and figure out where you can make some simple cutbacks.
Pick the generic brands: People blow a lot of cash on name-brand items when the generic brands taste almost the same at a lower price. The quality of some private-label brands is quite high, and selecting them can knock some big bucks off your bill.
Buy frozen fruits and veggies: There’s this huge misconception that fresh fruit and veggies are somehow healthier than frozen ones—that’s total malarkey. The only noticeable difference between fresh and frozen is the price. In fact, frozen fruit and veggies may even be fresher because they are placed and frozen instantly, therefore not subject to oxidation occurring in travel time.
Buy biscuits, not tins: How many biscuit tins do you have kicking around from past holidays? I’m sure the answer is definitely “enough.” Reuse your old tins and just buy—or better yet, make—the biscuits to put inside.
Ask yourself if a good deal is really a good deal: Yes, you can save money on a buy-one-get-one deal, but only if you actually use the stuff you’re buying. Having two of something you’re not going to use is a waste of money, not savings.
Only make one meal: Costs really add up when you make a different meal for each family member. If you’re great uncle or brother-in-law doesn’t like your turkey and stuffing, tough luck! They can suffer one night per year. The more you make the more cash—and time—you’re throwing out the window.
Don’t buy bottled water: Bottled water is a gigantic waste of money—and plastic. Most regions have safe tap water, and there are also relatively cheap filtration systems you can use at home. If you want to save on your grocery bill, one of the best ways is to leave bottled water off the shopping list.
Take stock and eat what you have: MasterChef Gregg Wallace got his starring role on the Food Network UK by knowing how to combine simple ingredients into delicacies. Every week or two, look in your fridge and cupboard to see what you have. Stroll over to the computer and Google what you can make with it! Chances are you’ll get a delicious meal you paid for weeks ago!
Wallace, G., “MasterChef star Gregg Wallace shares top tips on how to cut the cost of a HOLIDAY from your shopping bills,” The Sun web site, July 22, 2016; https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1489119/masterchef-star-gregg-wallace-shares-top-tips-on-how-to-cut-the-cost-of-a-holiday-from-your-shopping-bills/, last accessed August 9, 2016.