How to Save Money on Food: 12 Important Ways

A woman checking out at a grocery store.

Have you ever looked at your bank account and wondered why all your money disappeared? Brits spend about 25% of their annual income while dining out. Although we all enjoy a good meal out, that’s a large chunk that could be saved instead. As a result, many individuals who are looking to make better budgeting decisions can start by implementing smart food shopping habits and financial literacy. Keep reading for 12 ways you can lower your annual food budget.

Switch to Cheaper Brands

Stores often have multiple brands of the same product in the aisles. Opt for the cheaper one the next time you are out shopping. It can save you money, and most of the time, the products are similar. One of the biggest supermarket shopping secrets is that most markets will place expensive name-brand products at eye level. Typically, consumers will opt for these items because they are convenient and noticeable. Instead, take sure you look around for alternative options that can help you save money.

Use Coupons

A shopper holding coupons in the grocery store.

Coupon shopping can save you money. Whether you receive coupons or vouchers via mail or newspaper, you can use them to save on foods you buy frequently. You can also use websites to browse coupons, such as Shopmium. These work by scanning barcodes on products, and the app will tell you if the product is eligible for any offers. You can also scan your receipt for potential cashback. This can help you save little by little.

Shop for Deals

Another thing you can do to save money on food is shop for deals. A lot of markets will offer deals on certain items for a limited time. These deals can afford you cheap food shopping options . For example, some supermarkets will give you a deal if you buy three boxes of cereal instead of one. However, make sure you do the math! If you do not plan to eat the product before the expiration date, it may not be worth it.

Some supermarkets may even price match. If you see the product you want cheaper online, ask your local market if they will price match it for you. Most of the time, they will because they do not want to lose out on a sale to their competitors. Additionally, shopping for deals does not only extend towards food but also kitchen supplies as well. Always check your local store’s deals for any offers they may have.

Buy in Bulk/Shop Wholesale

Shopping at wholesale supermarkets can benefit you by allowing you to buy things in bulk which last longer. It can also cut down your average food bill as the price typically goes down when you buy in bulk or larger quantities.

Purchasing items in larger quantities lowers the cost of each individual item. However, make sure you do the math so what you are buying is worth every penny. Places like Tesco can be cheaper when purchasing in bulk orders, so it may be worth it to shop weekly in bulk.

Meal Prep

Examples of meal prep.

After purchasing larger quantities of goods or buying in bulk, you can prepare meals. Meal prepping is when you prepare meals for the entire week or a couple of days. For example, if you buy a large quantity of rice, a whole chicken, frozen veggies, and some sweet potatoes, you can make your lunches for the entire week. You can prepare these meals in individual Tupperware and label them for each day. You can also use the leftover chicken for soup stock and have dinner for a couple of nights.

Shop the Reduced Section

A sale tag at the grocery store.

It is illegal for businesses and markets to sell food after its use-by date. However, many markets, such as Tesco and Aldi, will sell food at a reduced price or a low price. Usually, this is indicated by a yellow sticker. It is sold at a reduced price because the food is approaching its use-by date, may have damaged packaging, or holiday items that are out of season. Some of these items can have up to 75% off their original price.

Stock Up On Tinned Foods

Tinned food

Tinned or canned foods can go a long way. If you are feeling tired one day after work and do not want to run to the supermarket, having a tinned can of food can come in handy. You never run out of options, either. Popular picks include tomatoes, tuna, beans, corn, lentils, crab, olives, fruit, and soup. Additionally, tinned foods also have a long expiry date and do not spoil easily.

Try Healthy Alternatives

Another supermarket shopping secret is to avoid going to the market on an empty stomach and without a list. You’ll likely gravitate towards unhealthy snacks and soft drinks. Contrary to popular belief, healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, shop for deals on seasonal fruits and vegetables, purchase bulk items, or opt for non-organic options.

Additionally, plan your recipes around foods that you may have coupons for. Healthy eating on a budget in the UK is possible, and it is a great way to save money while also living better.

Set a Weekly Food Budget

Someone setting a good budget

Try setting a weekly food budget and sticking with it. The weekly average food bill in a typical UK household is £97. If you find that you go over the budget each week, allocate a little more money there until you are able to cut down expenses little by little. It may be overwhelming at first and can lead to disappointment if you go over the budget, but working one step at a time gets you towards the bigger goal.

If you find yourself going under the budget and have some spare money left over, save it towards your retirement or a nice night out. Give yourself a pat on the back because that is an achievement on its own. Then, you can think about lowering your budget and working towards a new goal of saving.

If you do not have the funds for a weekly food budget and need help, there are resources available to help you get back on your feet. An online payday loan can help you if you are in a tight financial situation. However, it is important to know that these payday loans are a temporary solution and should be taken very seriously. It is important to pay off your loans so they do not build up and put you in even more debt. Do your research and make sure you are able to pay off the loan before applying for one.

Reduce Meat Consumption

Reducing meat consumption is another tip on how to spend less money on food. Meat is a typically pricey food ingredient. Instead, try to increase your intake of vegetables or fruits as they are usually cheaper and healthier for you.

If you do choose to purchase meat, make sure it goes a long way. For example, if you buy chicken from the grocery store, buy a whole chicken and use some meat for sandwiches for lunch. You can eat a chicken leg for dinner and make a chicken salad using the breast meat. Then, use the rest of the chicken for soup stock. This can add flavor to your soup and will add a couple of more meals to your week. This goes the same with other meat options.

Avoid Display Ads and Bags

A shopper using a reusable bag.

One of the supermarket shopping secrets that can help save you money is avoiding the banners and display advertisements that encourage you to buy a specfic number of items. Consumers may think these are money-saving alternatives, but often they end up buying more than they can consume. As a result, the extra groceries end up in the bin along with your money.

Also, try not to buy bags at the supermarket. Not only do they harm the environment and pollute the Earth, but it costs 5p to 10p each bag, too. That does not seem like a lot of money, but every penny counts. Buying your own bag or making one is a well worth investment.

Buy Frozen Food

A shopper in the freezer section.

Frozen foods are typically cheap, and you can store them in the freezer for a longer period of time without it going bad. Frozen meals are also easy to transport to work and can be heated up quickly for lunch. However, avoid purchasing frozen meals that are unhealthy. Instead, there are many frozen vegetable and fruit options that you can use in stir frys and smoothies that can help you eat well for less.

We hope these tips help you reach your financial goals. Start saving money on food today so you can budget your funds elsewhere.