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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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Money saving tips around the house

When it comes to saving money and reducing food waste, there are plenty of simple yet effective ways to make a positive impact. From meal planning and smart shopping to proper storage techniques and creative recipes, there’s a lot you can do to stretch your budget and minimise waste in the kitchen.

By being mindful of what you buy, using up leftovers creatively, and freezing items before they go bad, you can not only save money but also contribute towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Let’s explore some practical tips and tricks that can help you make the most of your groceries while cutting down on food waste.

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 – Use this to learn how to meal plan successfully.

How to afford maternity leave in the UK – If you are on maternity leave then use our post here to save money.

Family Life: Sorting Your Home Finances When You Are Living With Less – If you are suddenly living with less money then use our post here which can help you to reduce your outgoings quickly.

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 around the house

1. Use cashback sites

If you’re wondering how cashback sites work then it’s very simple. Search the cashback site you’re on with the companies online store you want to shop with. Click through the link like you would normally. Your purchase will then be tracked and your cashback recorded. It can take a few days to be confirmed and show in your account.

We use:


OhMyDosh* is an easy to use cashback site that’s free to use. It’s not like a normal cashback site though. OhMyDosh gives you loads of ways you can make money including:

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

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


Quidco* is a great way to save money. We’ve saved over £200 in the last few months and their site is really easy to use.

Use our link here and get a £1 added to your account for free when you reach £5 of cashback.*

It’s free to join Quidco* and they have access to over 4,000 retailers, and a lot of these are big household names.

You can also use Quidco* to even save money on your weekly food shop with their Click Snap app.

If you want to save even more then they do offer a premium membership which costs £5 a year. This gets you around £50 a year worth of promotions. It’s not paid upfront. It’s taken from the cashback you earn. It’s all about getting better bonuses. We upgraded three months ago and have earned over 30% more than on the basic membership.

It’s really easy to get your money out. It can go straight into your bank account or via PayPal.

There’s loads of Quidco member offers!

Dominos Pizza – If you’re looking for a treat for the whole family then try Dominos. You can get cashback by joining Quidco* here.

Fashion – Quidco has so many high street retailers including Geroge at Asda, GAP and New Look. Check out
Quidco’s Fashion category for the full list.

Utilities – If you’re looking to switch provider then make money while you’re doing it. By joining Quidco you can switch and make money at the same time.

Toys – Whatever you’re looking for make sure you look at the Quidco toys category. They have some of the top retailers that can offer money back on your must-have purchases.

While it’s true that sometimes the best offers are for new customers, Quidco do offer some great deals for existing members too.

If you are an existing customer then try:

* looking at Quidco’s hottest cashback offers. It shows all the best offers in one place.
* Use Clip Slip to get money back on your food
* Contact Quidco directly and see if they can offer more discount then they are offering everyone else

2. Switch Your Utilities

I do this every year without fail. I spend half a morning running our current usage through a price comparison site and look out for the best deals.

It may not be the cheapest, but it will be the best one for us, to make sure we aren’t paying extra every month.

Everything gets looked at. Gas, electric, broadband, line rental, home and car insurance plus anything else subscription wise we have.

We recently switched which helped us saved over a hundred pounds on our energy bills.

Last year, by switching and haggling, we saved a massive £250. It does take time but is really worth phoning around and haggling.

Know your limit though, in case they call your bluff.

3. Automate Your Savings

There are loads of these about, but our favorite is Plum. We find it really easy to use and because its automated, it takes the thinking out.

You have total control of your money. No ifs or buts!

Download Plum on Iphone and Andriod for free here*

We like that the automatic savings can be canceled at any time and it’s easy to tell the app to save less or more. The only thing that grates me is the speed of the transactions, sometimes they can be pending for a few days before they are added to your account.

Read more about what we think about Plum here.

We also like using Snoop. It’s quite new to us but it’s another easy to use app that is free to use.

Download Snoop here for free on Iphone and Andriod.*

4. Meal Plan

Seriously, if you aren’t meal planning then you need to, right now! Since meal planning, I can now shop for as little as £16 a week for four of us.

Meal planning is really simple to do.

I start by going through everything I have and deciding what I can use that week to make a meal and only buy what I need.

Stick the meal plan to the wall so nothing comes as a big shock when dinner time comes around.

I find meal planning hard, but it’s the most important part of eating on a budget. It gives you a plan you can use to help you buy food more wisely and stop you looking in the fridge for 5 minutes trying to think what to make for dinner tonight.

This happens more then I would like… So I designed a few menu planners that work best for me and I thought I would share them. Enjoy!

Sign up to receive our FREE budget saving printables, including our slow cooker meal plan, available exclusively to subscribers!

If you are looking for meal planning ideas or how to do it then have a look at:

7 Cheap Online Shopping Hacks That Will Save You Thousands

19 Cheap Food Shopping Hacks That Could Save You Hundreds

The Ultimate £1 Per Head Budget Meal Planning List

5. Downgrade Your TV Packages

Loyalty doesn’t pay! Haggle away and see what you can get? What’s the worst that can happen?

If you decide to cancel completely, then have a look into Freeview, which offers a lot of the paid channels (like Dave, Film 4 and Magic) for free!

BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Channel 4 and loads more also offer free apps, where you can stream there shows anytime for nothing!

There’s also an Amazon Fire HD Stick (for a one-off payment, then a range of different services you can try for free.

Amazon Prime is £79 a year after the free trial, Netflix is £7.99 and that lets you stream across two devices. Hayu is another one, that’s £3.99 a month after the trial.

If you can’t live without your current subscription, then phone and get them to lower it. Most of the time they will, or will ask you to downgrade a little for a lot less a month.

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

This 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. Latest deals

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

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 tips to reduce waste

11. Food budget

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

12. £1 recipes for the whole family

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

13. 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.

14. Reduce waste

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.

16. 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

17. 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.

18. Check your fridge temperature

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

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. 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: 

22. 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.

23. 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.

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

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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