How to Save Money on Food Shopping

Green Grocer Serving A Customer Filling A Brown Paper Bag With Peppers

There are a few essential costs in life and food is one of them. Most of us enjoy buying groceries and cooking for the family, but often wonder how to save money on food shopping. We’re here to show you that there are plenty of great tricks, tips and secrets that can help you get more bang for your buck at the supermarket.

We thought we’d share some insights that will help you to make your hard-earned pounds go that little bit further. Below is our ultimate guide to help you save money on food shopping in the UK. Armed with these helpful hints you’ll be dancing down the supermarket aisles before you know it!

How to save money when food shopping

1. Plan your meals a week in advance.

When it comes to saving money on food shopping, planning your meals is key. You should formulate meal plans and shopping lists together, so you know that everything you buy will be eaten. You can also plan he best day to go shopping in advance too. Most supermarkets start discounting perishables towards the end of the day. Shop then and get the best deals.

When planning your meals, try to use seasonal fruits and veg to keep costs down. Fruit and vegetables that are in season in the UK will be plentiful and cheaper than imported goods.

It’s also worth looking for recipes for leftover food you often find yourself with, such as cheese, vegetables and cooked meat. Try baking muffins with leftover cheese and vegetables or even pureeing fruit and freezing it.

Buying food that rarely gets eaten is another mistake many of us make. If you always have old cauliflower in the fridge or are constantly throwing away your pita breads, stop buying these items and find alternatives that everyone will actually eat.

If you can get all your shopping done in a single weekly shop, or delivery, you can avoid those costly top-up shops, which always seem to include extras that you never intended to buy. Croissant? Sweets? Magazine? Not necessary!

2. Buy in bulk

Look for buy-one-get-one-free offers on non-perishables that you can store at home for a long time. Items such as crisps and biscuits, pasta, sauces and condiments last for months or even years in your cupboards, so if you see a great deal and you know it will be eaten, buy lots! If there’s an offer on an ingredient you use a lot, buy a ton of it and batch cook meals for the freezer.

Not only is buying in bulk good, but buying bulky foods is a good way to save money too. Using useful staples like lentils and couscous to add inexpensive bulk to your meals can fill you up for a lot less cash.

Most supermarkets will run baby and child promotions where they discount items like nappies, wipes and toddler food in bulk. Nappies are a great example of an item that can be bought in bulk, so make the most of the offers when they are running.

If you have children, your snack quota may be going through the roof. Instead of buying pricey individual packs of raisins or snack bags of crackers, buy large packs from a basic range and distribute to the kids in reusable snack pots. This will save money on your food shopping and it’s much better for the environment too!

3. Compare prices across different shops

Online tools can help you to find out how to save money on your food shopping. They also help you find which supermarket sells the goods you often buy at the best prices.

Comparison sites such as include tools to help you find the very best own-brand alternatives. Some are made by the same people as the big brands and there’s little to no difference.

If you’re still thinking about how to save money on food, a great tip is to take your mobile with you so you can quickly look up prices at other supermarkets. This is especially helpful when buying more expensive items.

If you are spending too much on your shopping, try a different store. Your local shop might be cheaper than the large supermarket you usually go to. Smaller doesn’t always mean more expensive.

Many large supermarket chains will now reimburse you the difference if you can show that your shopping would have been cheaper elsewhere and even offer tools to help you check. Where a shop is located also has an impact on the prices it charges. So, your shop might cost considerably less if you drive ten minutes further out of your city, for example.

4. Be cautious when you’re in the supermarket

Offers don’t always represent the cheapest version of a particular product, so look around the store before selecting your items. Products that offer the most profit to supermarkets are usually placed at eye level and profit to supermarkets often means less value for money for the consumer.

Supermarkets will often gather products that are at their best before date, or slightly damaged, in one place, usually known as a ‘whoopsie aisle’. These products can be extremely cheap, but make sure you will use them before snapping them up, or it’s still money down the drain.

If you go shopping on a full stomach, you’ll be far less likely to buy unnecessary items. If you are heading out for a smallish food shop, walk there so you are limited to buying what you can carry home. If you can, avoid walking around the entire shop and head straight for what you need to avoid buying anything not on your list.

Still wondering how to save money on food shopping? Well, shopping with kids will empty your wallet faster than you can say “put that back!”.

5. Shop online

Many online supermarkets, including Waitrose, Tesco and Ocado, often give new users huge discounts on their first few shops, and you’re not compelled to keep using them after the offer, so it’s a win, win.

When you opt to shop online, discounts and offers are much easier to find than endlessly pacing the aisles for those elusive BOGOFs. There are a few supermarket cashback apps, such as Shopmium and CheckoutSmart, that allow you to reclaim part or all the cost of certain items.

When you’re shopping for bargains and comparing products, it pays to check out the weight of the product you are getting for your money. Online shopping apps will often display the cost per weight, which can be super useful when trying to save money on food shopping.

Extra tips on how to save money on food

  1. Go veggie - Meat alternatives, such as Quorn and tofu are far cheaper than buying fresh meat and are great in classics like Chilli and Bolognese.

  2. Make a shopping list - If you do just one thing to save money on your UK food shopping, make a list ahead of time.

  3. Freeze anything you won’t use right away - For example, keeping your bread in the freezer can prevent wastage as it defrosts in minutes or can be toasted from frozen.

  4. Take advantage of loyalty schemes - Most major supermarkets run loyalty schemes that can help you save on your food shopping. The more you spend, the more points you accumulate.

  5. Visit your local farmers market at closing time - At the end of the trading day, even farmers markets can offer bargains.

  6. Work within your budget - Working with a budget specifically for food can help you to shop more frugally. We’ve got a guide on effective monthly budgeting tips if this is something you’re looking for a little extra help with.

  7. Make your own lunches - Investing in good Tupperware will help to keep your lunch ship-shape until it’s time to eat. No more soggy sandwiches!

  8. Share the cost - If you live in a house share, consider sharing the cost of items such as pasta, tea, coffee, sugar and condiments, as there’s little point in having three or four of everything.

Hopefully you’re now aware of how to save money on your food shopping. So, next time you head out to do your weekly shop, remember to bear these top tips in mind!

For plenty more insights like this, head over to the Moneyboat blog. There you’ll find various moneysaving tips and hacks. We’ve got guides on saving on your monthly expenses as well as how to avoid common money mistakes.

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