This is how to do cheap food shopping
Line up the bills, and after your mortgage, the family food shop is probably one of your biggest outlays. But don’t panic, there are plenty of ways to cut down your family weekly shop, while still enjoying the food you love.
Save money quickly by following our shopping hacks.
Here’s what we do as a family, and have saved over £60 a week!
Chat to your family before you start and make sure that everyone is onboard. Have a joint saving goal to keep you all on track.
If you are looking for more £1 a head family meals then have a look at:
The Ultimate £1 Per Head Budget Meal Planning List – This is our huge list of £1 a head family meals that you can use to keep your shopping bill down. We have everything from pasta dishes to slow cooker meals and lunch box ideas.
Store Cupboard Meals: 41 Store Cupboard Recipes to Try – If you have loads of food in your cupboards and are unsure what to cook then this is the post for you. Use it to make dinners that will help you save money for your family.
The Best Fakeaway Recipes For Under £1 a Head – There are loads of ways you can still enjoy a takeaway without breaking the bank. These are our best family meals that taste like a takeaway and cost under £1 a head.
Tips for cheap food shopping
1. Meal Plan
Yep, you’ve heard this before but it really does work. It may sound like a chore, especially if you work full time, but I find by just writing a simple meal plan and a list, really does save me getting excited around the supermarket.
Planning your meals aren’t as tedious as it sounds either. I get the whole family involved and ask them what they want to eat this week. (Normally involves some sort of pizza and pasta dish!)
Once the week is planned, I checked the cupboards and see what we need. No point buying items we aren’t going to use that week. I’m not saying that having a few cupboard staples will hurt, it doesn’t, and it is nice to have something to fullback on if you suddenly have extras for dinner and need to bulk up a meal!
To be honest, I don’t stick to it rigorously. If the kids don’t want curry but want pizza (of course) then I’ll swap them round. Rather that, then throwing it all away.
Read our post here on The Ultimate Guide to Food Shopping on a Budget which goes into how to meal plan as a family.
We also have over 15+ other money saving printables you can use and print off as many times as you like! (You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of every one of our emails.)
If you need budget family recipes to fill your meal plan then see these posts here:
2. Try your local discounter
If you have a discounter close to you like an Aldi or Lidi then try shopping there for a week.
You will be surprised at how much you can save.
You can find the kind of meals we cook from Aldi here:
Our bill more than halved when we switched. While it’s true everything is their own make, you probably won’t even notice the difference.
Make sure you try everything down to their toiletries and cleaning products.
3. Online shopping
If you can’t get everything you need from a discounter then try online shopping.
Make sure that you find offers with free delivery. Normally to do this you have to book your slot in advance.
Use your shopping list and meal plan like you would do if you were in a supermarket yourself. Try and ignore all the pop-ups that tempt you to spend more of products you don’t need.
4. Use the online world to your advantage
Set up Google alerts to watch the products you always buy.
This saves you from checking them. Google Shopping is a great tool to use so you know you are always paying the lowest price.
5. Use cashback sites when you shop online
There’s some really great cashback sites around that mean you can earn some money while you do your supermarket shopping.
We use OhMyDosh* first and foremost which gives you cashback on a range of day to day items. Before you buy anything online, make sure you check them first.
6. Deals and Coupons
We all love a good bargain, as long as the price is right. Don’t be fooled with the buy one get one free offers, as they aren’t always as good as they seem.
Coupons are well worth keeping an eye out for, though. I feel bad, when the person behind me has to wait for them all to go through, but care less when I see my bill drop considerably.
Plus, I’m a big believer in-store reward cards. We collect them whenever we fuel up or shop, and get a nice surprise when December comes, as they soon add up, and help toward Christmas.
Have a look at UK Voucher Deals which update their website hourly with all the best deals. They could really save you some money.
Our current favorite is the Boots Advantage Card and Nectar Card.
If you really want to start saving money then make a list of all your favourite products and start writing to them. Tell them how much you love them and give them examples of why you keep going back to them time and time again.
Most will write back and some may even give you a coupon or free samples as a thank you. What’s the worst that can happen?
7. Reduced Items
If you can wait till later in the day to shop, then you’ll be quid’s in. After about 7 pm, there is more chance of finding bargains. Okay, so they might be near their sell-by date, who cares? Your freezer won’t!
My only tip: don’t go spending money and food you won’t eat. If your kids hate salmon or it’s going to sit in the freezer for the next six months and take up room, then there really is no point. Walk away.
8. Unit Price
I’m the first to hold my hands up and say that unit prices confuse me. Before I started looking into it, I also thought that loose fruit and vegetables were always cheaper, and they can be, but not often.
Supermarkets change their pricing daily, so it’s best to check whether buying in a pack or loose would be cheaper, depending on if you are going to use them all of course!
9. Brand Down
If you don’t already shop at your local discounter than this is must. Try your local Aldi, Lidi or Iceland and see how much your weekly shop could cost you there.
Compare it to your weekly shop with one of the big four.
Don’t be put off because there are no brand names.
Challenge your family to see if they even notice the difference.
Start by buying the very basic brand and slowly work your way up depending on if your family likes or dislikes the item.
10. Check your store cupboard
Check your cupboards, fridge and freezer before you buy. Remember to check for any food that may be near its date that can’t be pushed.
Having a good range of store cupboard staples can really help you cook great meals on the days that you can’t be bothered to cook.
11. Cook from scratch
This can be a real game changer. It really is easy to cook your family delicious family meals even if you’re time poor.
Start by asking your family to pick one or two meals a week. They don’t have to be hard. Start with the basic meals that need cooking sauces as you may be able to make more to use on another night.
Use your slow cooker on night’s that you know you won’t home till late. This will stop you from going to your local takeaway because you’re hungry and need food fast.
We all have to start somewhere. Please don’t feel embarrassed as not all of us have the same skills. Home cooking can be learned.
Start by picking the recipes you know the family will eat.
Check out YouTube or even our blog here where we post loads of our money-saving recipe ideas.
If you feel like you need more hand-holding then give Spicentice* a try. They are perfect for cooks that don’t have a lot of time or are unsure how to cook from scratch.
They come with a full list of ingredients for each recipe and easy to follow instructions on how to make each recipe. You can 20% off every purchase by using our code LASAVE20 at the checkout.*
So far we have made over 50 meals with Spicentice which include:
We also use Muscle Foods* for any meat we want. If you’re worried about quality then buying off someone like Muscle Foods* is a great way to know that you are getting the best product for the best price. They deliver straight to your door and you can freeze everything and only pull it out when you need it.
12. Make use of leftovers
If you cook too much then don’t throw it away. Use it for leftovers.
Most leftovers can be frozen after they have cooled and make great microwave meals on the days you can’t be bothered to cook.
13. Use a smaller basket
When you’re walking around the supermarket, try and use a basket instead of a trolley, especially if this is outside of your normal weekly shop.
This will spot you from adding extra items in as you just won’t be able to carry them.
It sounds simple but it’s really effective and will make you choose the items you pick up more carefully.
14. Eat first
Never go shopping or do your online shop on an empty stomach. It’s a well-known fact that we tend to buy more on impulse when we are hungry.
Eat something first so you can think clearly about what you NEED to buy instead of what you want.
15. Ignore the end of the aisle
The end of every aisle is like a well-trained sales person. The items are put there to grab your attention so you spend more than you intended.
Unless these items are on your list then try to ignore them! It’s very tempting when you think they are on offer but they may not be the best price.
16. Know your dates
Throwing food away feels like throwing away money. Know your dates and what’s safe to use outside of them.
Shopping weekly can really help you manage these dates and it means that nothing is left in till it can’t be eaten.
If you do prefer to shop two-weekly or even monthly then it’s best to put all food that may go off near the back where the fridge is colder.
When it comes to frozen food mark anything you put in there with a two-three month date to help you remember to eat it.
Adding a meal a week from the freezer will not only help you clear your freezer but also help you bring down the price of your shopping bill.
No point keeping food for a special occasion.
17. Follow brands online
Many bigger brands post promotional offers and tell you how to get their products cheaper.
So if you really can’t do without that branded product then try following them and keep an eye out!
18. Think before you buy
Before you buy anything decide if you really need it. Have you checked your cupboards for food? Could you get away with having something at home?
Do you need that coffee or to buy lunch out?
Think about what you could be saving to try and help you not spend.
- 99 Saving Tips That Will Save You Money in 2020
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- 1p Saving Challenge: How to Save Over £100 in 30 Days
19. Sometimes it’s worth buying more
This may sound like false economy but it really isn’t. Sometimes bigger cuts of meat or bigger bags of vegetables are cheaper per kilogram than their smaller counterparts.
Think about buying bigger and what you could do with it to use it all up.
For example we do this at Christmas. We buy a bigger chicken or turkey then use it all up with leftovers. We even freeze them when we’ve had enough.
Other ways to save
If you’re looking to save your family more money then why not join our free six-week money saving email course. You get emailed once or twice a week with money saving tips and ways you can save more money.
If you’d prefer to go it alone then here are our 5 top money saving family tips that can get you started on the road to saving money.
- Have a saving method. We use the 1p saving challenge as it means you can save your change and see a real result quickly which will hopefully spur you on to keep you on track. You can also download our tick sheet so you can remember what you’ve saved so far.
- Check your annual bills first especially your car insurance or home insurance. Having these on automatic renewal could be costing you more. Look at Buzzvault* for your home insurance as they are currently offering all our readers £100 cashback if you purchase a policy that is over £100. You can get that offer here*.
- Use cashback sites whenever you buy anything online. We use OhMyDosh* as you can also make money through them by doing surveys and entering competitions as well. Get a free £1 added your OhMyDosh* account by using our link here*.
- Check your energy supplier. We use Bulb* because they invest back into greener energy while trying to keep their prices low. Get a free quote from Bulb* to see if they could save you money.
- Meal plan every meal. If your kids eat snacks then plan them too. We have pre-made shopping lists and meal plans in our free Resource Vault that you can get access to here.
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.
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