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50 TIPS: HOW TO SAVE THOUSANDS ON FOOD SHOPPING
How on earth do you save money on family food when it feels like all the family could eat a horse – each?
On a daily basis?
It really adds up, doesn’t it?
And that’s before you add in those too-tired-to-cook takeaways and I-just-don’t-have-time ready meals.
Plus, coffee, lunches, snacks, and whatever when you’re out and about.
Before you know it, you’re spending hundreds of pounds a week on family food and my goodness, that gets too scary amounts over the whole year!!
Two years ago, our food bill was seriously out of control, and I mean seriously!!
THESE TIPS HAVE LITERALLY SAVED MY FAMILY THOUSANDS ON FAMILY FOOD
But I have made a massive effort to save money on family food, and we have literally saved thousands.
Related: How to Slash Your Grocery Bill – ten easy-to-implement hacks to save big!
With Christmas coming up (it is!!), I wanted to see if I could save another £100 a month, which over the next few months could really help cover a chunk of that extra seasonal spend.
So I wrote down everything I’ve done to save money on family food in one big long list and looked to see what we’d slacked on and where we could tighten up.
And then begged and borrowed all their fave money-saving tips from friends to see if we could cut that weekly spending a little bit further.
Related: How to make QUICK savings on your grocery shop – 8 simple hacks to save money quickly.
And in case you’re trying to save money on family food as well, here it is … my huge list of 50 totally manageable tips that really will cut your weekly spending… and don’t worry, you don’t have to do all of them, even 5 or 10 every week, really will make a difference …
50 EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON FAMILY FOOD
- Have at least one meat-free day a week.
- Buy cheaper cuts of meat.
- Avoid large cuts of meat; good quality mince and stewing meat will go much further.
- Stop being brand loyal – look for the best price.
- Follow brands on social media to get the best offers and coupons.
- Create and keep a basic grocery list of the basics you always need in your kitchen, so you never run out and have to emergency buy at inflated prices or resort to takeaway instead of cooking at home. Check it every time you put together your food shopping list.
- Create a simple weekly meal plan and rotate it every week.
- Use a meal planning app to plan your meals for the week, so you always have your plan to hand on your mobile. I use Whisk, and I absolutely love it.
- Draw up your food shopping list from your meal plan and basic grocery list, and don’t add any extra.
- Record the best price for everything on your shopping list to determine whether a special offer is a good deal.
- Shop online to make it easier to find offers.
- Shop less frequently – we save by doing the supermarket shop every fortnight rather than every week.
- Set a hard limit on your supermarket spending, and don’t go over it – keep slicing a little more off the limit every week or so
- Bulk buy pantry goods that keep well.
- BUT always look out for better offer prices on smaller packages
- Look for frequent buyer schemes, e.g. Amazon’s Subscribe & Save on foodstuffs that you don’t want to buy in bulk because they don’t keep, e.g. nuts and seeds.
- Go through your fave recipes and see if you can switch out expensive ingredients for something cheaper.
- Stop buying special ingredients you only use occasionally and end up throwing out.
- Bulk cook and freeze core items you can use in many meals, e.g. mashed potato, cheese sauce, pasta sauce.
- Always cook double portions and freeze one.
- Wash and chop vegetables in one go and freeze portions, so you stop chucking out soggy vegetables at the bottom of the fridge.
- Try and fill the oven whenever you put it on.
- Go to the market at the end of the day and haggle for discounted meat and fish.
- Buy yesterday’s bread from a good baker – good quality bread will last, but baker has to sell it separately.
- Buy slightly bruised, misshapen veg going cheap for cooking stews and sauces – our greengrocer sells ‘cooking’ peppers and tomatoes for less than half the price as so many people won’t buy them unless perfect and they taste better for being slightly overripe.
- Cook with beans and pulses whenever you can to provide healthy, cheap protein – if the family claim not to like blending them into sauces and soups.
- Grow your own courgettes (zucchini) – even if you’ve got a tiny garden and you’re a total amateur gardener (like me!), you’ll get a glut.
- Grow spinach and chard … as zucchini v easy and will keep going into the winter.
- Pick your own soft fruit and freeze them
- Pick your own apples and store them
- Forage for wild blackberries, elderberries, damsons and more, and freeze them for pies and crumbles
- Make your own jam
- Pick your own veg that are too tricky to grow
- Eat fruit and veg in season
- Get a flask and never buy coffee out.
- Take packed lunches to work
- Take picnics on days out
- Buy a water bottle and always carry it so you don’t resort to buying drinks when you’re out.
- Cook smaller portions – particularly of carbs, so you don’t end up with bits of leftover pasta, rice and potatoes or cook double so you’ve got enough to use the next day or freeze.
- Include four or five trusty ways with leftovers – that your family will actually eat! – in your meal plan
- Check the fridge twice a week for leftovers that need eating, so you don’t inadvertently let stuff go off and have to throw it away.
- Get anything perishable from the fridge that isn’t going to get eaten ahead of its due date into the freezer.
- Keep bread in the freezer – slice it up first if it is unsliced – then pull out what you need each time. This ensures your bread will never go mouldy.
- Make quick soup with leftovers for weekday lunches; just put it all in a pan with stock (and parmesan rinds) and blend up (removing rinds first)
- Stop buying ready meals.
- Make your own cakes and biscuits, or stop eating them altogether.
- Stop buying prepared foods, e.g. coleslaw, houmous.
- Don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry – you’ll end up being tempted by stuff you really don’t need
- Don’t take the kids to the supermarket with you, as you will be focused on getting out of there as quickly as possible rather than getting the best deal.
- Talk to the family about food waste and get everyone involved in trying to reduce the amount of food thrown away
I hope these tips help … and we would love to hear all your ways to save money on family food … do share below …
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Hello, I’m Luci, founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, I have combined my experience as a mum, journalist and shopping editor to create useful guides and lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.