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23 Best Ways to Save Money and Reduce Food Waste in the UK

23 Best Ways to Save Money and Reduce Food Waste in the UK

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Here are 23 best ways to save money and reduce food waste if you live in the UK. We give you practical tips on how to keep more money in your pocket by Laura at Savings 4 Savvy Mums #savemoney #moneysaving #reducefood #cheapmeal

Money saving tips around the house

We all know we waste too much food, and as a mum, it’s not easy to stop feeding the bin.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that over 7.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK a year, so what can we, as a family, to try and stop it?

What are the best and easiest ways to save money

If you are looking to save money fast then you need to start making smarter money choices today. Make your money really work for you.

Have monthly chats with the whole family to keep everyone on track and on the same page. You can’t start saving more without the whole family invested.

If you haven’t started already, then creating a household budget is a good place to start. It allows you to see what you’re spending money on and if and where you need to cut back. Start a monthly budget and stick to it. That way you know what you have leftover if anything that month. Use my FREE downloadable budget planner to help.

Try and decide how much you’re going to spend on food, petrol, and treats and stick to it. If you prefer to use cash to budget then drew it out and put it in envelopes to use. Anything left over gets put into the money pot.

Try these top three posts to get you on your way to helping your family save money:

Budget Meal Planning: How to meal plan so it saves you time and money

How to afford maternity leave in the UK

Family Life: Sorting Your Home Finances When You Are Living With Less

Money-saving tips around the house

1. Use cashback sites when you shop online. We use:

OhMyDosh is a great way to save money when buying online. They are an easy to use cashback sites that lets you find retailers that give you money back.

Use our link here to get £1 added to your account for free*.

Read more about what we think of OhMyDosh in our review.

2. Go through all your bills and check you’re on the best deal. Phone them and ask. What’s the worst that can happen? We use:

Buzz Vault* to find the best home insurance quote. If you use our link here and decide to go ahead with your quote, you could receive £100 cashback as a thank you, as long as your policy is over £100.

Compare The Market is a good place to start to check your other bills. This will give you a ballpark figure so you know if you are paying to much.

3. Switch energy suppliers EVERY year without fail. Bulb*, who are trying to make switching your energy supplier easier, cheaper and greener. You’ll also receive £40 when you switch! Finding out how much they could save you is completely free!

4. Use a FREE app like Plum* to help keep track of your families spending habits. It’s completely free and it lets you input your salary and outgoings, plus links to all your accounts including savings and investments.

5. Use a site like Switchcraft for your electric if you don’t like the hassle of looking around. They automatically switch you to the best deal for you at the end of your term. Find out more here about how Switchcraft could work for you.

6. Shop around. Loyalty doesn’t pay. Use markets and local shops so that you can buy just the amount you need. Local butchers will often do a deal for you on the meats and you can then freeze in the quantities in which you will use them.

If you don’t have a discount supermarket near you then don’t drive to it, as there’s a chance the difference will end up costing you more!

7. Energy-saving light bulbs could save you money in the long run. Many claim that they give up to 25,000 hours of light compared to 1,000 hours from a traditional bulb.

8. Use price compassion websites for all things bill related. Get a ballpark figure and phone up and haggle. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? I did this and saved over £200 on my car insurance renewal!

9. Wake up 10 minutes early every day and look around for the latest offers, deals or discounts. Remind yourself to use any cash back apps that you have to claim on any bills you’ve just paid. The savings will soon rack up.

10. Cancel any subscriptions and the ones you just can’t live without call. Threatening to leave or downgrade your package normally works but don’t go too far in case they call your bluff!

Money Saving Printables

If you find meal planning hard then come join our Facebook group Money Saving Mums and get access to The Resource Vault with access to over 15+ money saving printables. This includes our easy slow cooker meals meal plan, available exclusively to subscribers!

Everything is included from budget planners to meal plans and pre-made shopping lists plus a link to our Money Saving Mums Facebook group!

Money-saving tips to reduce waste

1. Food plays a bit part in the family budget. Whatever you and your family plan on eating that week put down. Make this your one and only shop for the week.

Start by listing every mealtime and plan out the week. Get everyone involved to pick a meal.

Write a menu for the week then plan your shopping list around it. Every time you use something, write it back on the list and plan your meals that way.

Start by making an inventory of all your food, remembering to check for lunch and snack items too. Keep on top of what needs using. Your meal plan doesn’t have to be set in stone. If something is going off then use that first.

Write down whatever ingredients you need for your meal plan to work including drinks. Then look through your kitchen staples and check you don’t need anything. We have a full list of our kitchen staples here. They are all cheap but can bulk out a meal if needed.

Having trouble filling up your meal plan? Then use these meal plans as ideas:

The Ultimate Budget Meal Planning List: 31 Meals Under £1 Per Serving

51 Quick Vegan Meals for Kids

101 Aldi Recipes That Will Give You Dinner Ideas For Tonight

2. Have a repertoire of meals that make use of random leftovers, such as soup, veggie omelets, pasta bakes, and stir-fries.

Make pasta sauces, curry sauces and soup from leftovers. All can be prepped the night before or made quite quickly with a whiny toddler around your ankles.

Have a look at these posts on leftover ideas:

29 Easy and Kid-Friendly Budget Recipes for Fussy Eaters That the Whole Family Will Enjoy

27 Leftover Lamb Recipes That Are Family Friendly

3. Only buy what you need. Check the cupboards and freezer as well. It sounds obvious but there’s no point buying just to keep the freezer full. Is there anything that you could use this week?

Check your cupboards, freezer and fridge and buy kitchen staples. Try to add one cupboard meal into your meal plan.

4. Reduce your family waste by understanding dates and where items go in the fridge.

5. Downshift your brands. Start at the bottom and work your way up. You’ll be surprised at how nice a value product tastes. If you don’t like it, then go up one and try that. These meals are all made from food brought from a discount retailer.

6. Cook from scratch. It’s may take longer but is a lot cheaper than buying pre-made.

Use these posts as inspiration:

31 Aldi Slow Cooker Recipes For The Whole Family

Feeding a Family on a Budget: This Weekly Shop is Just £18

7. Measure out portions. Pasta, cereal, and rice; anything that’s hard to measure by eye can be weighed. It takes the guesswork out and stops you adding an extra handful because it doesn’t look enough.

8. Check your fridge temperature. Milk and other perishables go off quicker in heat, so make sure your fridge is set between 0-5C.

9. Resist pre-dishing. I’ve pre-dished up food for the past four years, but last month I let the kids pick their own. It’s been a lifesaver. They now pick what they want (however small) and I can still use the rest of leftovers.

10. Store food correctly. I find that storing my fruit and veg properly extends their life.

Iceberg lettuce lasts longer if I wrap it in a kitchen towel then pop it back in its polybag and squeeze all the air out. It stays nice and crisp right to the last leaf!

Take potatoes and carrots out of their plastic bags and keep them somewhere dark.

Put things like salads in the fridge as soon as you get home.

Filtered milk seems to last longer than ordinary milk. Refresh bread and bakery items by putting them in the oven for a few minutes. Experiment! See what works.

11. Revive fruit and vegetables. Anything going off goes into my slow cooker which I keep for making stocks or soups.

Ready meals are now a no go, as I make my own. (I promise, I’m not a good chef, a just enjoy cooking.)

Nothing gets thrown that could be eaten, even if that includes eating a meal with food that may not traditionally go together.

Bananas are a real pain in my house, especially it’s the only fruit the youngest will eat, but they go off so quick!

Related Posts: 

12. Love your freezer. Freeze before bin is my motto. (Yes, I am that sad.)

Freeze bread, cook food past its best and freeze it via portion size.

I also buy as many of my vegetables frozen as possible. That way I can put as much or little as I want.
Mushrooms, peppers, mixed vegetables even onions! The plus side is they’ve already bee cut and can be chucked in with anything straight from frozen.

Anything leftover gets frozen for the next day.

13. Use common sense. We all get confused about sell by and use-by dates. I still do, especially in the discount stores.

Using your senses is the best advice I can give. Does it look off? Smell bad?

The only time I don’t use this method is with eggs.

Read our post here about how to read labels correctly so it saves you money.

Laura x

If you enjoyed this post and would like some more money saving ideas, then head over to the saving my family money section here on Savings 4 Savvy Mums where you’ll find over 50 money saving tips to help you save your family more. There’s enough tips to help you save over £300 a month! You could also pop over and follow my family saving Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on how to stop spending and save more; Money Saving Tips for Families and Managing Money for Families.

Love this post? Then why not save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it later.

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Juliet evans

Monday 21st of August 2017

That is impressive (£18) is this for a whole week? For how many people? I meal plan too and freeze leftovers, not so keen on frozen veg though as I like to use fresh and grow my own. Great blog with some useful tips!


Friday 1st of September 2017

Thank you. Yes, the £18 is for four people and for seven days. There's no treats but it can be done x