After your rent/mortgage the cost of food is probably up there with your next highest monthly outgoing.
It’s easy to overspend on your weekly shop without really noticing the pounds racking up – then suddenly your budget is blown on just getting yourself and your family fed.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to save money on your weekly food bill.
These simple tricks are essential to remember the next time you go shopping, to keep costs down without feeling like you don’t have enough food.
Stock up on basics to bulk out meals
Potatoes, rice, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils. All great sources of protein and will keep you full up.
Buy a whole chicken over breasts
Often you can get four or five meals from one bird and it’s not much more.
Day one roast dinner, day two chicken pesto pasta, day three chicken noodles, day four chicken soup (use the carcass for broth), and day five chicken salad.
Look out for yellow stickers
Often at the end of the day, food prices will be slashed and you can grab yourself some high-quality meat heavily discounted, which you can put in the freezer for the week ahead, or items from the ‘best’ range which you can still enjoy.
Think of multi-purpose, low-cost ingredients
Potatoes for example are a real multi-tasker: Jacket potatoes, mashed potatoes, wedges, diced, roasted, boiled, chips, fried potatoes etc. All for a fraction of your grocery budget.
Plan your meals
Planning out your meals in full before hitting the shops is a game-changer.
A playlist of meal planning videos can be found on my channel, including how to feed your whole family for £12.50 each per week – breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinners.
Learn the difference between ‘use by’ versus ‘best before’
These aren’t the same thing, and you have more leeway on best before. Often you can use sense of smell/sight to see if things they are ok – veg can often be fine well past its best before date.
Use common sense here and be more careful with meat and dairy.
Rely on your freezer
Freeze things which are going to go out of date before you have chance to eat them – most things can be frozen.
This will not only keep costs down but cut down on food waste.
Check if your child is entitled to free school dinners
The support is there for you if you need it, so don’t be afraid to ask. This can save £2.40 per child per day which will soon add up.
Keep note of prices of things you buy regularly
Make sure you know your prices, so you know when things are really on offer and can happily stock up.
Buy in-season vegetables
Keep your meal plan open to different vegetables depending on the season. Lots of grocers have in-season veg on offer so you can pick up your vegetables for the week at a low cost.
Or try one day a week without meat. This can save you a fortune on your food shopping bill.
Using lentils, pulses and veggies can be a filling way to skip on meat once a week. Check out these recipes here to get you started.
Buy seasonal items in bulk
Seasonal food items, such as lamb near Easter and BBQ foods in the summer, will be discounted once the events are over and done with.
Buy these in bulk and freeze them to use during the year.
Don’t buy pre-prepared vegetables or fruit
The cost of the convenience of this will increase threefold. Get plain, fresh veg where you can and chop it up yourself to save some cash.
Don’t be ashamed to use food banks
If you’re struggling, there’s no shame in using a food bank. Use them if it means you can put food on the table for you and your family.
Grow your own vegetables and herbs
Get into growing your own to save money long-term. Or if you know people with an allotment let them know you’d be grateful if they have extra to give away.
Tomatoes, herbs, and chillies can all be grown on a windowsill if you don’t have a garden.
Take an inventory before shopping
Know all the food you have in your cupboards, freezer and fridge so you don’t over-buy when shopping.
Cook from scratch as much as you can
Not only is this healthier but it is cheaper too.
Zero waste is key to saving money on your grocery bill – keeping a track of the cost of wastage can often be really helpful to cut costs in the future.
Always pack a lunch and coffee for work
Make sure your lunches and drinks are included in your weekly food shop, and bring your own rather than hurriedly buying an overpriced sandwich when you’re hungry.
This alone could save you up to £50 a week.
Get into batch cooking
Use an evening or time at the weekends to batch cook a load of meals that you can freeze and heat up whenever you need.
This saves time and money, especially if you go for meals packed with cheap bulking items, like lentils, potatoes, and carrots.
Use everything up in the fridge with a throw it all in kind of meal. Try leftover veggies in a warming pasta dish with a generous sprinkle of cheese on top and grill – simple yet delicious.
Don’t forget to head over to my blog, my YouTube channel and Instagram for daily money saving advice, tips and hacks for living your best life on a budget.
For more money-saving advice as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join Metro.co.uk’s Facebook group, Money Pot.
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