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For most of us, after our bills are paid food shopping is probably our highest expense. The amount you spend will obviously depend on your habits and the size of your family, but generally speaking there are lots of way we could all save money on our groceries.
I’m constantly looking for ways to decrease our monthly outgoings, and these are some of the ways we save money on our food shop.
1. Do a ‘Stock Take’ before you go
Go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer thoroughly. Make a list of what you have. Think about what you can make with it and make a shopping list of what you actually need. I quite often find that when I go shopping without a list, I’ll mindlessly add things to the trolley and when I get home find that that particular item is already in the cupboard!
Likewise don’t buy things out of habit. Every week I would always buy a pack of mixed peppers and every week I’d throw them away unused… and then buy again. If you intend to use something, make sure you do! Be mindful of waste and buying things for the sake of it.
2. Meal Plan
Following on from the above, make a meal plan for the week. Don’t just shove things in your trolley because you think it’s a good deal. We’ve got various boxes of breaded fish in the freezer that never get eaten because hubby doesn’t like them and I think ‘it’s pointless to cook for one’. Make a list of meals you will actually eat, taking into account the food already in the house and only add to your shopping list what you need.
3. Stay away from special offers
So that jar of nutella is half price, great deal!… But were you planning on buying it in the first place? If you’re buying something because you think it’s a great deal, you’re actually not saving money because you’re spending extra money that was never intended to be spent. Be smart.
If there’s a multibuy offer on something that is on your list – great, stock up. But don’t be tempted by clever marketing.
If you’re spending the money and buying the product anyway – you might as well earn some money back! There are lots of cashback apps you can download such as Shopmium, Checkoutsmart and Greenjinn which all offer money back on certain products when you upload a picture of your receipt.
New customers who shop online can get cashback on their first grocery order with cashback website Topcashback and you can also earn cashback with them on your instore shop using their Snap & Save function which works by uploading a receipt for relevant purchases.
Apps such as Shoppix and Receipthog will earn you points which can be converted to cash just for uploading a picture of any receipt.
Supermarket’s magazines often have a money off £x spend voucher inside. We live near Lidl and each month we receive their new magazine through the post which includes a £5 off a £30 spend voucher – you can get a lot for a fiver in Lidl! You’re likely to also regularly come across manufacturer coupons – don’t be afraid or embarrassed to use them. Quite often we get vouchers sent from various baby clubs and those money off coupons can actually save you a fortune.
6. Loyalty Cards
Most supermarkets offer loyalty card schemes – make sure you join and swipe your card after each shop to earn points which you can convert to rewards at a later date- quite often the supermarket will also send you money off coupons tailored to your foodshop. Don’t forget to swipe your card if you fill up your tank at one of their petrol stations as well.
7. Buy Store Cupboard Items in Bulk
Dry goods such as pasta and rice are often cheaper to buy in bulk, so if you always have these items in your store cupboard, consider whether it’s more cost effective to buy the larger quantity. Quite often the price label will tell you the weight cost in pence which works out much cheaper.
Your food shop might cost more this week, but you probably won’t have to buy the product next week, so it’ll save you in the long run.
8. Buy Meat from the Butchers
We eat a lot of chicken in our house. In Asda 1kg of Chicken Breast is £5.79 making 5kg £28.95. We buy 5kg of chicken for £24 from the butchers (it used to only be £20) and this will last us ages.
5kg of chicken tends to be 20 chicken breasts. These chicken breasts tend to substantially larger than supermarket breasts so 2 breasts will generally feed 3 people.
We bag 2 breasts together and freeze them, then defrost as we need them. We last bought 5kg of chicken at the start of the month and still have some in the freezer which will see us into next months food budget.
Our local butcher also does ‘Meat Packs’ a weekly offer where you get a selection of different meats for £20. The current meat pack looks like this:
8 x Garlic Butter Chicken
8 x Beef Burgers
8 x Pork Sausage
4 x Chinese Chicken Kebabs
4 x Tikka Kebabs
4 x Lamb Kofters
4 x BBQ Pork Steaks
4 x Chinese Pork Steaks
Consider that Asda does selections of meats for 3 for £10 and you can rack up quite a saving.
9. Downshift a brand
Usually buy Tesco’s finest? Why not try a product from their regular range. I’m not saying you have to go from Premium Luxury to Tesco Value, but quite often you can downshift without even really noticing a difference in the taste/quality.
I will always buy my tinned goods from the value ranges – you cannot taste the difference and I refuse to pay over £1 for a tin of chopped tomatoes that will be thrown in my spag bol.
When the baby started eating solids we were spending a fortune on Ella’s Kitchen because we wanted her to have the best (she doesn’t particularly enjoy my cooking haha). These were 6 for £7 on offer in Asda (£1.17 each! – on offer!) whereas Aldi’s Mamia version are 55p a pouch and nutritionally there’s little difference. A massive saving to us.
We also now buy Mamia nappies instead of Pampers, they are just as good if not better and are a fraction of the price.
10. Supermarket Swap
We used to do our food shop online with Asda as I thought it would save us money as I was less likely to be tempted by items on offer or that weren’t on the list. However, there is a minimum spend for home delivery of £40 and sometimes I would find myself adding things to my basket just to hit the threshold. We now shop at Aldi, it’s much cheaper, the quality is just as good (if not better in some cases) and we can get almost everything we want without having to spend £40 if we don’t really need that much. Lidl is also fantastic value for money and we do all our top up shops there (we buy nappies and baby food from Aldi though, so the main shop comes from there, Lidl nappies just don’t measure up!).
So there we go, 10 ways to save a little on your food shop.
As always I hope this has been helpful 🙂