60 Ways to Save on Food

60 ways to save on food

60 Simple Ways to start saving on food

  1. Do a meal-planner and a budget. Try to stick to it. Check out my mealplanner page for more advice on this.
  2. Change where you shop. We are creatures of habit and the chain supermarkets know this. By shopping around you will soon realise that what you thought was a ‘good deal’ might not actually be. 
  3. Check out the ‘Rotten TrolleyMost supermarkets have a section where they reduce food off that is close to its sell by date. Get to know your local supermarket and what times they put the best stuff out. It’s usually an hour before closing time. Just learn the difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ to avoid any tummy upsets. 
  4. Buy in Bulk things that don’t go out of date quickly – rice, pasta, cereals, spices, lentils etc – look at the Asian supermarkets, Costco etc. You could save a fortune in the long run. 
  5. Grate your Cheese. It may sound like a strange one but grating cheese instead of slicing means you will use less which is not just good for our pockets but also our waistline!
  6. Learn to cook. The more confident you become with your cooking the easier you will find it to use cost-effective ingredients and avoid the heavily priced processed meals. Browse the internet for recipes or check out your local library for cookbooks.
  7. Don’t buy branded. Most of the time your budget range is made in the same factory as the top-ended stuff. I can’t get over the price difference in items like paracetamol –  read the back label- a pack at 12p has exactly the same ingredients as a pack at 99p. Just saying. 
  8. Shop when you’re full. Going to the supermarket on an empty stomach is just asking for trouble – psychologically you are more likely to throw more in your trolley to curb your hunger pangs. 
  9. Grow your own. Some things are a doddle to grow. Not only can they save you money but it can be an enjoyable experience and the flavour is so much better! Start out with simple things like herbs (which can be grown on a windowsill) tomatoes (which can be grown in a plant pot) and salad leaves (again they require very little space and no knowledge of gardening)
  10. Buy spices in bulk. Asian supermarkets, online shops and food markets stock large bags of spices and herbs and take a long time before they go out of date. Transfer them into your own pots at home or share with friends. 
  11.  Check out local farms. Look at what’s on your own doorstep, whether its somebody down the road selling fresh eggs or a farmer with meat on offer you may be suprised what you will find when you ask around…
  12. Eat less meat. Meat can be very costly. Eating more vegetarian dishes can be healthy and gentle on your pocket. Check out my Quorn chilli or Spag Bol for delicious no meat recipes. 
  13. Use cheaper cuts of meat that aren’t so popular – ask your butcher for help. Or simply use more minced meat as opposed to full more expensive cuts. Check out my Kofta recipe for an idea of what to do with Lamb mince. 
  14. Swap fresh fish for canned. Using canned fish is a more affordable way to eat seafood. It’s also great for a last-minute storecupboard dinner. Check out these burgers made from tinned tuna. 
  15. Buy Frozen Vegas it is frozen on picking it is usually fresher than fresh! Ideal for throwing in casseroles it is usually cheaper and you only use what you need meaning no waste!
  16. Eat Seasonally. It certainly pays to eat what is in season, plus you know the ingredients you are buying have not been sat in storage for months!
  17. Look for coupons save money using coupons and vouchers on products. But don’t buy anything you are not going to use just to save money!
  18. Use the Marketyour local market should have a good stock of fresh produce at reasonable prices. Don’t be afraid to haggle if you think something should be cheaper and if you wait around till the end of the day you are more likely to get highly reduced items
  19. Only buy what you needthis refers back to point 1. Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your belly! That is how food gets wasted 
  20. Re-use oilwhen deep frying things like chips or prawn crackers don’t throw the oil away after just one use. Let it cool, sieve it to get any bits out and pop it in a jar for next time!
  21. Shop Alone – this one is simple. Leave them at home….you will certainly buy more if you have a toddler wanting sweets and a husband wanting beer with you!
  22. Pay with cashif you only take the amount of cash you have budgeted for you will only spend that amount. You will also be more careful when shopping as nobody wants the embarrassment of not having enough money at the checkout.
  23.  Make your own iceshop bought IS convenient but come on, how hard is it to make frozen water???
  24. Choose recipes with similar ingredientswhen planning your week of meals, try to use ones that compliment each other. Example – a pot of natural yoghurt – you can use half for your curry and the other half in a stroganoff. 
  25. Make a packed lunchwe all know this is so much cheaper than buying one at work, is that 5 minutes extra in bed really worth £4?
  26. Get deals on diningif you do choose to eat out look for deals or use your Tesco Clubcard vouchers to save money
  27. Grouponif you’re not already a member, get signed up! The daily deals can be annoying but every once in a while there is a real gem. I have eaten in some top notch places and paid a fraction of the price
  28. Do lunch instead of dinnerif you are dining out and can’t find a deal, why not opt for lunch over dinner? It is usually much cheaper and means if you have too many vinos you have longer to sleep off that hangover!
  29. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare – If time is short during weeknights and you rush straight for the ready meal, why not knock something up the night before or batch cook at the weekend.
  30. Drink more waterit’s good for you and it costs hardly anything, I can’t find a reason not to do this one. 
  31. Ditch the bottlebottled water that is! It’s expensive and is it really worth it when you can fill a bottle at home for nothing?
  32. Don’t be afraid to try new food! I know it can be scary to reach from your comfort zone, but staying in it means you can be in a trap of buying the same things every week and therefore sticking to the same spending habits. Try something new, you may be suprised!
  33. Ditch the Booze. Ok, I’m breaking the mold with this one but seriously if you can at least cut your alcohol intake down by half you could be saving a fortune (and I’m sure your liver will give you a ‘high-five’ to thank you!)
  34. Swap It If your homegrown tomatoes are in abundance (see note 9) then why not ask neighbours if they want to swap for something they might have too much of (hopefully homebrewed beer – to help you out with note 33).
  35. Eat SlowerThe faster we eat the less time we are giving our brain and stomach to process what we are eating. If you eat slower you will realise when you are full and hopefully stop yourself from having seconds. 
  36. Use you freezerMake it your new best friend. Freeze things like breadcrumbs, vegetables (there’s those tomatoes again!), meat and any batch cooking you’ve done! It will save you time and money if you use it wisely. 
  37. Stock Check your cupboards,fridge and freezer –  this way you won’t be doubling up on things and you will have a real idea of what you have already. Plus keeping a log on a monthly basis will mean you are less likely to let things go out of date and in the bin!
  38. Make it at home – things like smoothies, pasta sauces and baby food can easily be made at home. Not only will they be better for you but you should be saving money. Check out this marianara sauce recipe
  39. Think like Grandmayour Grandma or Great Grandma will no doubt have lived through some hard times. She will have used her wits (and her rolling pin) to knock up a range of budget dinners for Grandad and your folks! Ask her for some ideas – she may even pass down you some recipes. If she is no longer with you (god bless her soul) search the internet for retro recipes – you never know you could start a trend!
  40. Invite friends overyeah yeah it’s nice to go out with friends for meals but the outcome is the same…you all have a good gossip whilst filling your bellies. Why not take it in turns to have it at home? – Suggest each person bring a plate of food  and you can all share, you will save a fortune and will be able to have a proper gossip without anyone overhearing you!
  41. Batch CookIf time is short during the week then batch cook at weekends and use your freezer (note 36) to store it till you’re ready. No more ready-meals for this house!
  42. Don’t Nipto the shops that is! Dashing to the shops for that 1 ingredient you are missing can be a disaster! Not only can you pay over the odds in convenience stores but you are likely to come back with more than you went for. Try the recipe without it, or have a go at swapping it for something else. Be adventurous and think outside the zone….
  43. Eat More Breakfasthaving a decent breakfast at home can mean you won’t need to snack mid-morning and it won’t be the end of the world if you only have time for a banana at lunch! Porridge can really fill you up and is a real budget breakfast. 
  44. Use leftoversthis is when your freezer can come in handy. But if you don’t have room left have a go at inventing your own recipe or search the internet for ideas to use it up. 
  45. Get a Slow CookerThe slow cooker can be an absolute gem! Chuck what you have in your fridge in it whilst making your breakfast and come home to a delicious meal! I often throw vegetables in it in the morning with some stock…pop it on high and by lunchtime we have a delicious soup! 
  46. Pack Yourself Up – day trips and unnecessary food costs go hand-in-hand. If you are not prepared you can spend a fortune at museum cafes and vending machines. What started off as a ‘free day out’ turns into a £50 blowout. If you haven’t had time to make a perfect picnic simply grab a rucksack and throw in crisps, fruit, bottles of water, cakes and anything else to keep everyone happy for a few hours! Just remember to put a bit extra in for those who like to start eating on the journey! If you have a spare 10 minutes before you leave pop something in the slow cooker for when you get back (see note 45). Ahh a perfect lazy day…
  47. Shop OnlineIf you really can’t face going to the shops or can’t avoid taking the kids with you then shopping online might be your answer – you will be less tempted to buy things spontaneously and can price check with other supermarkets in the click of a button.
  48. Be Sneaky in the CinemaWhen I was young we would always take a trip to the corner shop for sweets before we went to the cinema. Mum would smuggle cans of coke up her jumper and bags of crisps in her handbag! To be fair, I still do this now with my kids and the fear of being caught gives us a real adrenaline rush! It’s probably a bit naughty but hey ho I’ve always been a daredevil! My husband on the other hand prefers to ‘treat’ the kids to the nachos and popcorn at the counter…last time it set him back nearly £15. Silly boy. I’ll send him a link to this blog. 
  49. Don’t be Hypnotised by Packaging I think it’s fair to say that food packaging is an expensive industry- they lure people in by putting pictures of minions and princesses on yoghurts for £2 then when you get home you realise it’s exactly the same tasting yoghurt that you bought last week for 50p. Doh!
  50. Get Down Lowsupermarkets place their most profitable items at eye-level. The majority of us scan and choose from this marker. Not you! No, you need to get down low and climb up high, search those shelves for the very best price!
  51. Cook your own meatsprepackaged meats can be costly. 4 slices of ham for £2.50 WTF??? I buy a joint of ham and slow roast it (usually in the slow cooker – see note 45) and slice it up myself. Then you can freeze it in slices (see note 36) and so far I have saved a fortune!
  52. Avoid Convenienceyou are paying for it BIG TIME. Grated cheese, boil in the bag rice, bags of salad….try to break any habits you have of buying these.
  53. Use more Beanslentils, pulses, beans etc are a great way of stodging up meals. Not only are they very good for you but they are pleasant on the purse strings and can be a good meat substitute (see note 12)
  54. Avoid Coffee Shopswe all know the nicknames ‘Costa Packet’ and ‘Costa Fortune’ but there is a reason. They have an enormous mark up. Work out what it costs you to make a coffee at home and weigh up drinking at one of these chains….try taking your own in a flask or inviting colleagues at work to all chip in for a posh coffee machine. 
  55. Take a Calculator when you do your food shopping, it helps you stay in budget (see note 1) if you are too embarrassed to do this then most phones have a calculator on them…you can keep it in your pocket and pretend you are texting 😉
  56. Price Match – use websites like My Supermarket to compare the costs of everyday items across various shops. It even has an app so you can do it whilst in the shop! You traitor you!
  57. Free Samplesthe internet is full of free samples – everything from tea bags to face moisturisers…google FREE SAMPLES UK and check it out, but I will warn you it is pretty addictive!
  58. Re-use Simple ThingsMayonnaise jars turned into pencil pots, tinned cans into candle holders and takeaway containers into lunchboxes….have a think about what you can use it for before you throw it out! Take a look at Pinterest for craft inspiration
  59. Read the Unit Pricethe supermarkets try to fool us with special prices and offers. But look at the nitty gritty. How much are you paying per kg? They have to put this on their labels (but it’s always small) have a look when you are next on the cheese aisle at the price per kg…you will be shocked at the difference
  60. Look Awaywhen you’re in the queue try to avoid making eye contact with all those temping items at the checkout. Who in their right mind would pay 45p for a chocolate bar when you can buy a multipack down the sweet isle for 99p? You will if you are bored waiting in a queue!

And that’s all I have time for today!

Please share any other ideas you may have on saving on your food bills!

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