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19 Cheap Food Shopping Hacks That Could Save You Hundreds

19 Cheap Food Shopping Hacks That Could Save You Hundreds

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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.

Weekly budget meal plans and shopping lists plus access to over 15+ printables if you sign up to my newsletter.

You can print off our meals plans by joining our Resource Vault for free here.

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:

101 Aldi Recipes That Will Give You Dinner Ideas For Tonight

75 Slimming World Vegetarian Recipes That The Whole Family Will Enjoy

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:

101 Aldi Recipes That Will Give You Dinner Ideas For Tonight

27 Leftover Lamb Recipes That Are Family Friendly

Aldi Gluten Free Tips for Beginners: This is How to Become Gluten-Free on a Budget

21 Vegan Breakfast Ideas For The Whole Family On A Budget

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.

Get £1 credited to your account now by using our link to sign up here.

If you’re unsure how to use OhMyDosh then have a look at our review here.

We also use Quidco. They have over 300 retailers that can give you cashback across a huge range of items.

Use our link here to get £15 added to your Quidco account for free when you make your first £5 cashback.*

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.

Try our 31 Aldi Slow Cooker Recipes here for inspiration.

You can also download our meal plans, like the one above here by joining our Resource Vault. 

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.*

Laura Light showing the Spicentice packets

So far we have made over 50 meals with Spicentice which include:

Easy Chickpea Curry That Costs Under £1 a Head

Quorn Spaghetti Bolognese for Under £1 a Head

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie For Just 82p Per Portion

Easy Chicken Fajita Recipe: A Family Meal for 94p a Person

Chinese Chicken Curry For Just £1.54 For 4

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.

Related Posts: 

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.

Have a look at our 13 Leftover Turkey Recipes That Can Be Made From Your Christmas Dinner post for some inspiration.

Other ways to save

Join our free money saving challenge and learn how to save your family money

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.

You can join our six-week money saving course here 

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Check your annual bills first especially your car insurance or home insurance. Having these on automatic renewal could be costing you more.
  3. 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*.
  4. Check your energy supplier. Use a price comparison site to check that you are getting a good deal.
  5. 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.

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 19 cheap food shopping hacks that could save your family hundreds of pounds every month including ways to get cheap groceries and meal plan by Laura at Savings 4 Savvy Mums

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Money Saving Tips for The Stay at Home Parent – Emma Reed

Monday 26th of June 2017

[…] Food shopping is probably where most of you spend the majority of your money and with the supermarkets constantly having deal battles it has made it easier for us to shop around for the best deals. There are so many areas I could cover here: coupons, internet shopping, comparing prices, discounts, meal planning etc. but I have found the perfect article over on Savings for Savvy Mums that has this topic covered from all angles; How to cut your family food bill in half and still eat right. […]

My Petit Canard

Sunday 19th of February 2017

I really need to do this! We could really do with reducing our weekly food shopping bill just by incorporating some of the tips you've given like meal planning and brand down which I've read about before. I definitely am going to tr and do at least one of these things going forwards :-) Great post thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays. Emily

Jenny (Accidental Hipster Mum)

Sunday 19th of February 2017

Excellent advice! I already do some of these things but I think I need to be more consistent. When I'm forced to tighten my belt I can be frugal and eat well but then I get a tiny bit of money and live like a king, dining out on take-aways and expensive exotic fruits!

Thanks for linking up! #RV&HT


Tuesday 14th of February 2017

I use checkout smart and love Aldi. I also use cashback sites and offers on my cards x #RV&HT


Tuesday 14th of February 2017

Brilliant thank you. We will be there next week for sure!