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38 ideas to save money on food πŸŸπŸ‰

How to save money on food

38 ideas to save money on food

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Introduction πŸ‘‹

When it comes to your hard-won money, saving every penny counts!

Here are our top 38 ideas for saving money on food.

Disclaimer: This website provides information for guidance and educational purposes only. The Grown-Up School does not provide regulated financial advice. You can seek independent financial advice from a suitably qualified and regulated professional advisor. Check out our disclaimer policy for more information.

1. Stock check! πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈ

When making meals, you can:

  • Check what food you already have in stock (e.g. fridge, freezer, cupboards) πŸ”ŽπŸ‘
  • Base your meals around it! πŸ‘©β€πŸ³πŸ₯—

Using food already in your home can help you to:

  • Avoid food going out of date πŸ“…
  • Waste less food πŸ—‘οΈπŸ₯¬
  • Buy less from the shop πŸ›οΈ

2. Expiry track πŸ“†

How much expired food do you usually throw away every week? πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈπŸ—‘οΈ

Track food expiry dates in your home to:

  • Avoid food going out of date πŸ“…
  • Waste less food πŸ—‘οΈπŸ₯¬
  • Buy less from the shop πŸ›οΈ

Love organising the fridge?

You could order food based on how soon it needs to be used up! 🍍

3. Swap shops!πŸ›’

Not all shops have the same prices! πŸͺ🏷️

Do some research to help you work out which shops are cheaper. πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈπŸ”Ž

For example Aldi and Lidl have often been listed as some of the cheapest supermarkets in the UK.

4. Drink more water 🚰

Sometimes it is easy to mistake the feeling of hunger, when all you need is a drink! 🚿

Drinking your recommended daily intake of water can help you to feel more full. πŸ’¦

5. Buy off-brand 😎

Off-brand food products are usually cheaper, but often taste just as good as the more expensive brands. 🧁

Buying off-brand could save you thousands in the long run!

Why not do a taste test to see if you can tell the difference between off-brand and branded products? πŸ‘…

6. Reduced price deals 🏷️

Shops often have “reduced price” sections where they sell products for a lower price. πŸ’Έ

Why not keep an eye on the reduced price section to find some great food deals? πŸ‘€

7. Bulk buy 🌾

Got any spare room in your home/cupboards? 🏠

Bulk-buying long-lasting food can save you money! πŸ“¦

The overall cost of bulk-buying is often cheaper e.g. one 10kg bag of pasta/rice is likely to be cheaper than 10 lots of 1kg bags. βš–οΈ

You also get the added benefit of not having to shop for these items so often! πŸ›’

It’s important to bulk-buy products that won’t go out of date quickly so that you have time to use them up. πŸ“†

8. Grow your own πŸ‘©β€πŸŒΎ

If you enjoy gardening research and have the space, growing some of your own food can done cheaply, and help you save money on food bills. πŸͺ΄

Some food plants like fruit bushes can be hard-wearing and take little effort to grow! 🫐

Growing things like windowsill herbs or salad leaves might help you from needing to buy more expensive, packaged versions. 🌿

You can reuse seeds from your food plants to grow more, and find ways to store your homegrown food so that they last a long time. 🌱

Learning how to regrow discarded parts of fruit/vegetables might also help you from needing to re-buy food e.g. planting the bottom parts of spring onions so they regrow. πŸ§…

9. Store it right! ❄️

Learn how to store food properly, to keep it fresh for longer. 🍎

Learning how to store food properly can help you to:

  • Avoid food going out of date πŸ“…
  • Waste less food πŸ—‘οΈπŸ₯¬
  • Buy less from the shop πŸ›οΈ

This can then help you to save money on food.

Learning how to freeze food/leftovers can help make it last! 🧊

10. Pack lunchesπŸ₯ͺ

There are so many convenient places to buy a last-minute lunch or dinner when you’re in a rush! πŸƒβ€β™€οΈπŸŒ―

The problem is —

These food places can often cost a lot more money than if you were to make your own lunch at home. πŸ’ΈπŸ‘©β€πŸ³πŸ›

Why not swap your daily Subway sandwich for a cheaper, home-made version? πŸ₯ͺ

Pack lunches beforehand or cook leftovers to avoid impulse buying expensive food! 🍳🍽️

11. Forage for food🫐

Your local area might be filled with edible plants, which you can use to get free food!

If you learn how to search for edible plants safely, you can eat for free! πŸ”ŽπŸ“–

You could forage in your local area for free, fresh food such as blackberries for desserts. πŸ«πŸ“

It can be a great day out too! 🏞️

(Important: Do thorough research to forage safely! Some plants can be harmful) 🦺

12. Cheaper protein 🍚πŸ₯¦

Consider swapping expensive meats for high protein, cheaper alternatives e.g. lentils, chickpeas. πŸ›

(These are also usually more environmentally friendly, and will help to reduce your carbon footprint!) 🌍

13. Tap drinks πŸšΏπŸ’¦

Consider drinking more tap water, to avoid paying for more expensive drinks e.g. beer, wine, fizzy drinks.

14. Fakeaway 🍜

Love takeaway or fast food? πŸ₯‘

Why not make a cheaperfakeaway” version at home? πŸ›

Not only can you make your favourite takeaway meals cheaper, but you can make them healthier too! πŸ₯¦

There are plenty of “fakeaway” recipes available online, to help save you from spending lots of money on takeaways. πŸ’Έ

15. Meal prep πŸ³πŸ›

Ready meals can be expensive! πŸ³πŸ’Έ

Research cheap meal recipes to avoid paying for more expensive pre-prepared food πŸ₯˜

Home-cooked food can be made a lot healthier than ready meals too! πŸ₯¦

16. Less sugar, more filling πŸͺ

Sugar can make food more expensive, and not very filling! πŸ’°

Focusing on foods that make you feel full πŸ’―

and less on sugary foods that don’t make you feel full 🍬

can help your budget! πŸ’Έ

Food with less sugar in can be cheaper, and more filling.

Make sure to manage your sugar intake in a way that is safe and healthy. πŸ“

17. Plan ahead πŸ•πŸ“†

When life is so busy, it can be really easy to fall into the trap of buying expensive takeaways. πŸ₯‘πŸ”

If you plan your meals for the week in advance, it can help you to avoid buying a cheeky last minute takeaway! πŸ›πŸ‘©β€πŸ³

18. Don’t shop hungry πŸžπŸ›’

Have a quick snack before shopping! 🍐

Shopping when you’re hungry can make you more likely to buy more food than you need. 🍰

Some supermarkets even cook food in-store, filling it with delicious smells, to try and tempt hungry shoppers to buy more! πŸ›οΈ

19. Food banks πŸ₯«πŸ¦

If you’re struggling financially, consider visiting a food bank, which offers free food to people in need 🀝πŸ₯«πŸž

20. Look for “best before” πŸ‘€πŸ“†

Avoid wasting food! –

If food runs past its “use by” date, then it’s a good idea to throw it away. πŸ—‘οΈ

However, if a food runs past its “best before” date, then it is still edible. 🍰

“Best before” dates are from the manufacturer to tell you when the food might lose flavour/texture. πŸ“†

Also, you can ignore “sell by” or “display until” dates – this is information for the supermarket and doesn’t mean that the food can’t be eaten. πŸ›’

21. Group discounts πŸ‘ͺ

Eating out? πŸ½οΈπŸ”

Why not invite some friends? πŸ§‘β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘πŸ

Some restaurants offer group discounts. – Make sure to ask about group discounts when making a booking! πŸ“†

22. Eat before you leave 🍐🍌

Going out? πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ

Why not eat before you leave?πŸšͺ🍝

If you haven’t had a meal before you go out, it can be very tempting to buy food when you’re out and overspend. πŸ’Έ

Eat before going out, to avoid buying food when you’re out! πŸ’πŸ”

23. Dessert? Maybe not πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ¨

Eating out? 🍝

Desserts can increase your dinner bill by a large amount πŸ§ΎπŸ°πŸ’Έ

Skipping dessert at restaurants can help you to save money πŸ’°πŸ’³πŸ©

24. Online shopping πŸ’»

Consider online food shopping – it can be easier to compare food prices and plan your shopping. βš–οΈπŸ“πŸ”

In-person shops are often designed to try and get you to spend more money by doing things like:

  • Putting more expensive products in easy to reach places πŸͺœ
  • Making delicious food smells to make you hungry 🍰
  • Putting “impulse buy” snacks near the checkouts 🍫

If you shop online, you might be more likely to stick to your budget by avoiding temptation from delicious food smells and expensive impulse purchases in-store! 🍩

25. World food 🌎🍚

Check out the “world food” aisle! πŸ‘€

You might be able to find cheaper cupboard staples like rice – they can be cheaper because the brands are less well-known. 🌾

26. Leftover apps πŸ“±πŸ₯―

Free leftover food apps like Olio or Too Good to Go (UK) help local shops to give away their unsold food for free. 🍞

Your neighbours might even use the app if they’ve got food to give away! πŸ§‘β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘

You can use these apps to find free leftover food in your area! πŸ—ΊοΈ

27. Weekday deals πŸ“†πŸ½οΈ

Eating out?

Look for weekday deals at restaurants, rather than eating out on weekends! πŸπŸ“†

28. Food budget πŸ’°πŸ₯¦

Deciding how much you can afford to spend on food, can help you to keep on top of your money.

Create a food budget, and stick to it!

This can help you to:

  • avoid overspending 🍩
  • make your spending more predictable πŸ“Š
  • encourage you to find ways to save money πŸ’Έ

29. Shopping lists πŸ“πŸ•

In most cases, shops and supermarkets are designed to encourage you to spend money! πŸ›οΈ

This can be from the music they play, where they put products, the deals they offer, shop layouts, even to the smells you can smell in the shop! 🍩

The easiest way to avoid falling for all of these temptations, is to write a shopping list. πŸ“ƒπŸ₯¦

Decide what you need beforehand, then stick to it!

Avoiding impulse buys can help you to save money on food. πŸ’Έ

30. Scan as you shop πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈπŸ›οΈ

Ever seen “scan as you shop”? πŸ›’πŸ”Ž

You can scan items as you go through the shop, which can help you keep an eye on your shopping total πŸ‘€πŸ‘€πŸ›οΈ

Keeping track of the total cost of your shopping can help you to avoid overspending, and also save you time at the checkouts! βŒ›πŸ’³

31. Cost per kilo βš–οΈπŸ’Έ

Check and compare the “cost per” on the supermarket price labels, to find the cheapest products. 🏷️

For example — dog food that says “50p per kg” on the shelf label, will save you money compared to a similar product sat next to it, that costs “70p per kg”. πŸΆβš–οΈπŸ’°

Another example — A pack of toilet rolls that says “20p per roll“, is more expensive than a packet of toilet paper that costs “10p per roll”. πŸ§»πŸš½πŸ’Έ

Every supermarket should tell you the “cost per” on their shelf labels, to help you to compare products! πŸ›’

32. Resist “multi-buy deals” 🏷️

Resist “special deals” or “multi-buy deals” that the supermarkets offer – quite often supermarkets increase the prices of products during these deals. πŸ“ˆπŸ’Έ

They might not actually make the product cheaper for you! πŸ’”πŸ’°

33. Look high and low πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈπŸ”Ž

Search high and low on shelves for cheaper products – often supermarkets will put their most profitable products at eye level! πŸͺœβ¬†οΈβ¬‡οΈπŸ‘€

34. Cashback πŸ’΅

Cashback websites give you “cash back” or discounts when you buy things from them. πŸ’»

Consider using cashback sites to earn cashback when you shop on your food! πŸ’³πŸ•

35. Loyalty schemes might not make things cheaper πŸ’³

Don’t let loyalty scheme points decide where you shop for food πŸͺ

Loyalty schemes are factored into the prices that supermarkets offer, meaning they won’t necessarily be cheaper places to shop πŸ’΅πŸ’°πŸ›’

36. But if the cheapest supermarket has a loyalty scheme – why not use it? πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ’³

If your usual supermarket does have a loyalty scheme – 🏷️

Consider using it to make the most of shopping there, and to cash in on potential discounts and savings! πŸ’΅πŸ’°

37. Market stalls and local businesses πŸ›οΈπŸ…

Check out your local market stalls and local businesses, to see if there are any cheaper deals! πŸ₯¦πŸ’Έ

38. Resist a payday splurge πŸ€‘πŸ’Έ

Getting paid is such a good feeling – but it can tempt you to spend more! πŸ’ΈπŸ’³

Avoid shopping on payday if you can – you might be tempted to spend lots of money! πŸ’°

Conclusion πŸ‘

So that’s it!

You can save money on food by doing things like:

  1. Check your stock! πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈ
  2. Track expiry dates πŸ“†
  3. Swap shops!πŸ›’
  4. Drink more water 🚰
  5. Buy off-brand 😎
  6. Use reduced price deals 🏷️
  7. Bulk buy 🌾
  8. Grow your own πŸ‘©β€πŸŒΎ
  9. Store it right! ❄️
  10. Pack lunchesπŸ₯ͺ
  11. Forage for food🫐
  12. Get cheaper protein 🍚πŸ₯¦
  13. Drink tap drinks πŸšΏπŸ’¦
  14. Make fakeaway 🍜
  15. Meal prep πŸ³πŸ›
  16. Focus less on sugar, look for more filling foodπŸͺ
  17. Plan ahead πŸ•πŸ“†
  18. Don’t shop hungry πŸžπŸ›’
  19. Consider food banks πŸ₯«πŸ¦
  20. Look for β€œbest before” πŸ‘€πŸ“†
  21. Use group discounts πŸ‘ͺ
  22. Eat before you leave 🍐🍌
  23. Consider skipping dessertπŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ¨
  24. Online shopping πŸ’»
  25. Finding world food brands🌎🍚
  26. Use leftover apps πŸ“±πŸ₯―
  27. Use weekday deals πŸ“†πŸ½οΈ
  28. Make a food budget πŸ’°πŸ₯¦
  29. Make a shopping list πŸ“ƒ
  30. Scan as you shop πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈ
  31. Check the “cost per” βš–οΈ
  32. Resist β€œmulti-buy deals” 🏷️
  33. Look high and low πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈπŸ”Ž
  34. Consider cashback πŸ’΅
  35. Loyalty schemes might not make shops cheaper πŸ’³
  36. But if the cheapest supermarket has a loyalty scheme – why not use it? πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ’³
  37. Look at market stalls and local businesses πŸ›οΈπŸ…
  38. Resist a payday splurge πŸ€‘πŸ’Έ

Hopefully these 38 ideas have helped you on your way to saving money.

If you know any friends or family members who might benefit from these ideas, share this post with them!

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