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30 Money saving tips to drastically cut your food bill

This post is a collection of all the fantastic, and sometimes really simple, money saving tips I have come across over the years, with the aim to help you to save money each and every week on your household food bills.

Money saving tips that can reduce your food bill

 

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Is it really worth taking time to do this?

The stats are frightening really – according to an article in the Telegraph last year, the average household spends a huge £5000 on on groceries each year – the equivalent to around £412 per month – and then Lovefoodhatewaste.com states that we throw away around £60 per month of this food.

That’s a shocking 15% of our food – and money we spend on it – wasted.

Add to this the fact that our food is getting more expensive year on year – the Telegraphs article says it will have risen by nearly 19% over the next 4 years – and something has to be done to ensure that we don’t waste more money year on year.

We have to start taking control of what we spend, and be more aware of what we waste – and that’s where these money saving tips can really start to make that change for the better for you.

Just a few simple changes to how you use food and what you spend your money on can really make a difference – so lets get started and make those changes start today.

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30 money saving tips for your food:-

tips for saving money food

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#1 – Use what you have

When you look at what you and the family are eating each night, then don’t forget what you already have. In a recent Facebook question to the Organise My House page, people said that on average they had at least 2 weeks worth of meals sitting in their cupboards/freezer – and sometimes up to a few months! – If you simply had a “cupboard night” or a “freezer night” each week, then you could save easily.

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#2 – Best before?

I have lost count of the number of times I have looked in the cupboards and found things that are past their best before date. No matter how much I check, they seem to appear!. If you can get into the habit of checking whats in the cupboards when you are deciding what’s for dinner, then you can catch food before it pasts it’s best before date, and eat it rather than waste it.

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#3 – Bulk is your friend

When you cook a meal, bulk cook and freeze 2 or 3 extra meals ready for days that you either have no time to cook from scratch, or when you simply want a break from the kitchen. Buying food in bulk and cooking it this way will save you money, you will use up more ingredients so waste less, and you have healthy alternatives in the freezer when you need them.

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#4 – Time your shop

Most supermarkets will discount their fresh fruit/veg/bread etc… at the end of each day, and you will also find that they mark down items that are nearing their best before dates daily as well. As such the best time to shop for these items is at the end of the day. Timing your shop can immediately save a load of money, and planning your food around what you get from the supermarket can be fun too!

EXTRA TIP – Bread can be frozen, so can many fruit and veg so you can save on these things and still use them when you want.

It was only last weekend that we had planned to have a snack style tea of bread and cheese, and when we went to buy the bread right at the end of the day, we ended up with over £4.00 worth of bread for the princely sum of £0.48! – you can’t argue with a saving like that!

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#5   Offers are great

There’s nothing wrong in bulk buying things when they are on offer – yes, you spend more at the time, but when you are buying what you buy weekly anyway, then over time you are saving money on your staples. The trick is to only buy things on offer if you actually needed them in the first place

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#6 – Meal plan

Just planning out your meals can drastically change how much you spend on your food every week. If you plan then you can shop for exactly what you need, you can take into account leftovers and make use of them in meals later in the week, and generally cut what you need to buy. If you only do one thing from this article – make it planning your meals!

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#7 – Portion size counts

Now, it’s easy to concentrate on what’s in your shopping trolley each week, and trying to cut the amount you spend, but actually starting with how much you eat can not only have an impact on your wallet it can also give you a health boost. Most of us eat far too large portions when we cook for ourselves (I am really bad at pasta portion control!), and just cutting back a little means that your food will automatically last longer, so you will need to buy less.

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#8 – The freezer is your friend

I have written a post previously on what food can be frozen, and the list increases all the time. Making your freezer a part of your meal planning, and freezing meals, bread, fruit and veg, herbs, milk etc… means that you can buy in bulk, use what you need when you need it – and generally make food last longer.

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#9 – Create a shopping list

Alongside meal planning, when you have a plan of what you need to buy at the supermarket – and you STICK TO IT! – you can save a lot of money by not being sidetracked by offers on things you really don’t need.

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#10 – Prepared food costs

Bagged salad, ready grated cheese, mashed potatoes, frozen chips etc… are all items that you pay a premium for the fact that they have done a lot of the prep for you. Now we all need quick ways to cook for ourselves and the family as time is short, but what about taking 1/2 an hour after a food shop to cut up and prep all the fresh food in one go, which takes a lot less time, and then you have prepped fruit/veg etc… in the fridge when you need it for the entire week. Plus you will have saved money!

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#11 – Shop around

If you do have the time then shopping around can really pay dividends on what you spend on food. You may find that certain places are better value for certain products – farmers markets vs. supermarkets etc….. Alternatively take a look at mysupermarket.co.uk as a good place to compare what your shopping would cost at different places.

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#12 – Create your own food on the go

Grabbing a coffee everyday can soon mount up in terms of costs – so have you considered investing in a travel mug ** and making your own coffee before you head out the door?

Even buying a nice coffee maker ** for your home can save you money over the long term (and you get the benefit of a decent cup of coffee every time too!).

money saving tips for food shopping

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#13 – Try own branded foods

Often the supermarkets have their own branded products that can compete with the brands for a lot less cash. If you are brand loyal then you may find that changing one thing each time you shop to a supermarket branded product and taste testing it for that week may just mean that the unbranded becomes your new favourite going forward – not least for the money saved!

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#14 – Use loyalty cards

So many shops now have their own loyalty cards that can give you money off, or vouchers or other incentives – and if you use these each time you shop along with a credit card that gives you money back when you spend, then you may find that you can save enough for the larger shops of the year. At present I am saving my money back on one store card for my Christmas shop – that way Christmas won’t hurt quite so much!

NOTE Please only use credit cards in this way if you pay the balance off each month otherwise the interest you pay will negate any savings you made

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#15 – Try different cuts of meat

Cheaper cuts of meat can be just as delicious as the more expensive ones, so an easy way to save a little each week is to use cheaper cuts in your meals. Try slow cooked meat like pulled pork in sandwiches, or stews and casseroles.

Tips for saving money on food

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#16 – 1/2 and 1/2 works!

I bought the wrong amount of minced beef one week for a lasagne recipe, and so substituted red lentils for the remaining amount required, and it worked beautifully. It’s worth taking some meat out of your recipes and using lentils as it adds the bulk, is healthy, and honestly you wouldn’t even notice in meals such as lasagne or spaghetti bolognese. Try it next time you cook!

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#17 – Make your own

Alongside the trick of taking your own coffee with you each morning, you can go one step further and make your own of many things – saving you each and every time.

Some ideas would be smoothies, bread, sandwiches for packed lunch etc….

When I was still working at IBM I used to regularly pack a tupperware box of the previous nights leftover pasta and a quick blast in the microwave gave me a very cheap and filling lunch. Just a little thought about what you can make yourself can make all the difference.

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#18 – Go seasonal

Fresh fruit and veg is often a lot cheaper when it’s in season – and it’s easy to forget what is in season and what’s not when everything is so readily available in the supermarkets now. This site is a great one to check for what’s best to buy now, and you will often find that it tastes so much better when in season as well as being cheaper!

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#19 – Go veggie part time

Meat is usually the most expensive part of the weekly food shop, so it stands to reason that cutting down slightly on how much meat is eaten will make an impact to your wallet.

Why not try a veggie meal once a week and see how you go?

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#20 – Use your garden

However much outside space you have, whether it be a huge garden or a window box – you can use it to grow some of your food and save money this way.

A great way to get started is to have a herb garden. Most supermarkets sell herbs in pots and planting them means you can get loads of herbs on tap whenever you want them (and you can freeze them as well). This alone can save loads on buying herbs as and when you need them, and adding herbs to your food can really give your taste buds a treat.

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#21 – Buy longest lasting foods

When you buy any foods try and ensure you get those on the shelf with the longest best before date. That way you can have more time to use them, and will waste less.

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#22 – Buy frozen

Frozen fruit and veg is usually a lot cheaper than the fresh equivalent, and usually has more of the nutritional value as it has been frozen when picked so hasn’t had time to lose vitamins and freshness. If you get into the habit of buying frozen then you can have your 5 a day much more simply!.

TIP – frozen spinach is great to add to omelettes and sauces, and buying the equivalent fresh would take up most of your fridge!, use frozen berries in baking and in smoothies, and frozen peas are fantastic to add to all kinds of meals.

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#23 – Check unit prices

On most price tags in the supermarket they add in the equivalent for that i.e per 100g or per unit etc… and this is worth paying attention to. Usually we think of the larger packets of foods being better value for money, but (especially when things are on offer) this doesn’t have to be the case. In my last online shop I was pressing to buy our usual large box of muesli and then looked at the smaller boxes which were on offer. Buying 3 of these worked out at much better value, so it’s always worth checking.

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#24 – Shop less

Just going to the shops regularly means you have more chance to impulse buy and spend more than you really need to, so it’s definitely worth cutting down on how many shopping trips you make – unless you are VERY disciplined!

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#25 – Buy what you really need

Never go to the shops when you are hungry as you are more likely to spend money on things that you fancy, rather than things you really need. Stick to your shopping list, don’t fall for things on offer unless you really do need them, and your wallet will thank you!

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#26 – Eat out / takeout less

It stands to reason that home cooked is cheaper than takeout or eating out – so why not try to do both less often and save more this way? You can bulk cook and use these meals instead of a takeout – so you still don’t have to do more than heat something up, or you can create the feel of eating out by lighting some candles and creating the ambiance of a restaurant. I’m not saying never eat out – but cutting back a little will help.

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#27 – Bake!

Getting into the habit of baking a cake each weekend (or once a month) then freezing slices (or muffins/cupcakes etc…) can save you money as you can simply grab how many you need when guests come over. Another great trick is to make cookie mixture and freeze.

Defrost as you need it and bake, then you have gorgeous freshly baked cookies for a fraction of the price, and your home is filled with that lovely freshly baked smell when people visit. It’s also a great way to get the kids interested in cooking.

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#28 – Ready made is a false economy

Ready made meals are often not very satisfying and are far too expensive to have often. The better way of doing ready made is to freeze your own home made meals in portion sizes so you can have what you want when you want it. This is much cheaper and healthier.

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#29 – Go collecting!

Right – this ones a bit cheeky – but why not grab what you can when out and about. Condiments at cafes and restaurants etc.. can all be used for packed lunches or simply for when guests come over and want something you don’t tend to buy larger versions of.

For example – We don’t eat mayonnaise but if we have a couple of sachets in the fridge then when someone asks for it then it’s there without having to specifically buy a larger tub of it for maybe one meal.

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#30 – Stock up

Have you ever been caught in a traffic jam or on a long journey and had to pop into the services for something to eat/drink? If you have a stock of snacks and drinks in the car / in your gym bag / anywhere that you are likely to need them – then you will automatically save money by not having to pay premium prices.

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I really hope these tips have given you some ideas for how to save money on your food shop going forward – so let’s take it one step further….

 

Are you ready for the money saving tips challenge?

Loads of great tips to save money on food. Food money saving tips that you can use in your weekly shopping and day to day.My challenge to you is simple – try and use as many of these tips as you can over the next month, and consciously see how much you can save on your usual food spending. The money saving tips may just make your bank balance a little more healthy going forward, and that can only be a good thing!

 

Why not let me know which tips you are going to try, or that you have tried in the past, and let me know how you go in the comments below. Good luck!

 

 

SHARING THIS AT: Living Well, Spending Less

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4 Responses to 30 Money saving tips to drastically cut your food bill

  1. rebecca huff Dec 29, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    Great list except for grabbing condiments when you are out, that’s stealing unless you are eating it in the restaurant. Best wishes!

    • Chrissy @ Organise My House Dec 29, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

      Hi Rebecca – Yes I agree – I would use this only when given the condiments for my meal as these are part of the meal and have been paid for. Similar to having a doggy bag for food that hasn’t been eaten x

  2. Christine Sep 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Hi Chrissy
    I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and have always found it extremely helpful and interesting. Have just been reading your article about saving money on food and wasting less. You may be interested in the following website which helps when you’re using up food in stock : http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes/All%2520recipes
    You just enter the ingredients you want to use and you receive suggestions for various meals you can make.
    Thanks for a great blog!
    Christine

    • Chrissy Halton Sep 3, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      Hi Christine – what a lovely comment, thank you! Glad you are liking the blog. The website you mention looks really good so thanks for adding it – I hope this one helps others too. Thanks again! Chrissy x

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