How to food shop on a budget: Savers share their best tips and ideas

Money can often prove tight, particularly during the coronavirus lockdown, with job cuts and furlough affecting many workers across the country. As a result, families are often searching for ways they will be able to cut back on the big expenses, and keep some money in their pockets. Efficient shopping can often be a key solution for cash-strapped Britons, and it is clear changes needn’t be significant.


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With a few simple swaps, and different choices, shoppers may find themselves saving a sizable amount each month, which can add up to gigantic savings.

Several budgeters took to the website Reddit to share how they were able to change their habits in order to save money.

A key topic of discussion in the conversation two years ago, was the best way to budget when food shopping.

One keen budgeter asked: “What are your favourite tips or techniques for saving money on food and meal preparation?”

And savers were only too happy to lay out the options they had chosen. 

One creative saver wrote: “Try ‘buy nothing’ weeks. Doing this has really pushed me to get creative with what we already have in the house, and to use up forgotten items.

“Our last buy nothing two week period resulted in lentil-vegetable meatloaves, walnut oatmeal and banana pancakes, egg white salsa goat cheese frittatas, and homemade oatmeal bread.

“The principle alone is fun to work with on your own terms.”

Another said growing their own herbs helped them to save money, when they ditched supermarket produce for growing garlic, oregano, basil and thyme. 

And another budgeter offered extensive advice on how they were able to cut their costs.

They said: “Plan out meals based on what you have on hand already or what’s on sale at the grocery store. Make a list and take it with you so you don’t buy things you don’t need.

“Buy items in bulk when it makes sense. Rice, flour and beans are good bulk purchases but only if you’ll use all of them. 

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“And minimise your meat consumption. Beans, eggs and dairy are all good sources of protein, and you could even look into tofu, seitan, tempeh or other minimally processed vegan options as they tend to be cheap too. 

“Consider replacing half the meat in recipes with beans or vegetables. You’ll reduce the cost of the meal and boost nutrition.

“Don’t drink juices, alcohol, soda, or other remade drinks. Most of these are complete rubbish nutritionally anyway, bad for your teeth, and they’re expensive.”

And a final saver said it wasn’t just enough to purchase marked down items hoping for a saving. Instead, they advised shoppers to take their saving a step further.

They wrote: “Learn what markdowns work. For example, I never buy full price yoghurt, because if it’s properly sealed and kept chilled, it will almost never go off. I buy meat at around 50 percent off, and throw it straight in the freezer when I get home. 

“Learn how to cook by smell, taste and feel, and buy a slow cooker. Soups, stews, rice, roasts, desserts, baking and even bread can all be done in a slow cooker – and they’re much cheaper to run than an oven or electric cooktop too.”

According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics, the average UK household spends £3,224 on groceries each year.

This is rivalled by the £1,581 the average household spends annually on restaurants and takeaways. 

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