By Amy Harker, Editor at Finance.co.uk. Last updated 1st February 2023.
Food, it’s something we can’t live without, but in recent years we’ve seen prices soar to new heights, so finding ways to cut down on our food costs has become a priority for a lot of us.
This guide will help you discover ways to save money on your groceries, so you can eat well without breaking the bank.
It’s difficult to say how much your weekly food bill should be. It depends on a number of factors, like how big your household is, your dietary preferences, and even where you live.
Many experts suggest that per person, the average weekly food bill should be between £40-£60. However, this can vary significantly and is really just an average and your actual shop may work out higher or lower depending on your circumstances.
Ultimately, don’t worry about the average, the most important thing is to plan and budget carefully to ensure that you’re living within your means.
We’re all looking for ways to reduce our monthly outgoings at the moment, and with food being such a significant contributor to our spending, it’s a good place to start. Here are some of the ways you can reduce your grocery bill:
This one seems simple, but there are a huge number of people who don’t budget when they’re doing their grocery shopping.
Limiting how much you want to spend on food will help you keep the bills down; you’ll be conscious of how much you’re spending, less likely to be susceptible to impulse buying and you’ll make more thoughtful decisions about what you put in your basket.
Sticking to a food budget is one of the most important factors to making sure you have enough money left over to cover the rest of your monthly expenses.
Meal planning is an effective way to save money, because it helps you to make more informed decisions when shopping. Planning your meals in advance means you’ll create a shopping list that only includes the items you actually need; helping to avoid impulse purchases that can soon add up.
Meal planning also helps to reduce food waste. By planning your meals, you won’t over-buy food, and you’ll only ever buy what you need, meaning you avoid those end of week fridge clearouts where you find you’re throwing away half of last weeks shop.
It’s well known that some supermarkets are cheaper than others, and historically there’s been a stigma attached to shopping in “budget supermarkets”. But as more people feel the pinch, consumers have been turning to these cheaper alternatives.
Supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi can help you save a significant amount of money on your food shopping. Studies have proven they can be up to ¾ of the price of other supermarkets.
Have you ever noticed how many more impulse buys you make when you’re walking around the supermarket hungry?
It’s a good idea to eat before you shop. Shopping when you’re hungry will typically make you buy larger quantities of food, make more impulse purchases and buy more processed junk food.
Comparing prices of your favourite items in various supermarkets is a good place to start.
If you have the time, go to multiple retailers to make the most of their cheaper items or special offers. This can also be an effective way to cut the cost of your food bill.
Making the most of loyalty card schemes, discounts and coupons can help you save quite a bit of cash.
If you have coupons from your loyalty card, workplace scheme or newspaper, you can make significant savings, especially if they’re for something you’d typically buy anyway.
Loyalty card schemes, like the Tesco clubcard can also be a useful way to slash the cost of your food shop. One huge advantage of the Tesco clubcard is that a huge number of items in store and online are reduced for clubcard members, plus, you earn points for shopping there, which are turned into vouchers for money off your shop.
If you use multiple different supermarkets, it’s worth signing up for all the loyalty card schemes to make the most of their promotions.
Timing your food shop right can help you to to save. Make the most of those yellow ticket items that are reduced to clear.
If an item is about to expire, many supermarkets will lower the price significantly. The best time to grab these deals is typically between around 6pm and 8pm, but ask the team in your local supermarkets what time they usually discount goods.
When buying yellow ticket items, it’s a good idea to purchase goods that are suitable for freezing, that way, you don’t need to use them that day.
Buying branded items seems second nature to many of us. Ketchup’s got to be Heinz right? But many supermarkets offer perfectly good alternatives, often for a fraction of the price.
Obviously, there may be cases where the supermarket option doesn’t taste as good, but it’s worth trying them to see where you can make the switch.
If you have kids, have fun with it and try a blind taste test, getting them to pick which they prefer. You might be surprised with how many branded items are mistaken with the cheaper alternatives.
When you think of a market, you may assume we mean the gentrified farmers markets where you fork out an arm and a leg for fresh produce. In actuality, many local fruit and veg stalls offer unbeatable prices, not to mention that buying local can reduce pollution and wasteful packaging. You’re also going a good thing by supporting your local independent traders.
It’s often cheaper to purchase items in larger packets because it reduces the cost of packaging and transportation, plus it’s cheaper for retailers to buy bulk items from manufacturers, passing the savings on to you.
It’s important to consider whether or not you’ll actually use the items you buy in bulk before their use by date, otherwise you could wind up wasting money and food.
It’s a good idea to cook in batches and freeze meals to reheat to save money. Not only does this help with reducing the cost of your shopping, but you’ll also save money on your energy bills by using your oven and hob less.
Stocking up on long-life products when they’re on offer can be another great way to save money. Take advantage of multi-buy or discounted offers as much as you can, but only if they’re something you need, or would typically purchase anyway.
If you’re someone who finds fresh goods often go out of date before you get a chance to eat them, purchasing long life goods might save you time and money in the long run.
If you have the garden space, you could save money by growing your own fruit and vegetables. Whilst there’s no denying that growing your own produce can take a lot of patience and skill, there are some that are easy to grow, such as potatoes and apples.
If you don’t have a lot of garden space, you could still grow a little herb garden - many can be grown inside in pots if you don’t have a garden at all.
The information provided does not constitute financial advice, it’s always important to do your own research to ensure a financial product is right for your circumstances. If you’re unsure you should contact an independent financial advisor.