11 Ways to Save on Food Costs

Currently, the UK is experiencing the highest inflation of food and non-alcoholic beverage prices in 45 years in the 12 months to March 2023. The annual inflation rate in this category was 19.2%, up from 18.2% in the year to February 2023.While these climbing figures are cause for concern, there are some steps you can take to help cut your grocery bills and save on food costs. You'll just need some planning, determination, and a few tricks up your sleeve. Here's how.

How to Save When Shopping...

  1. Know Where to Shop for What

At a time where every penny counts, it's important to know where to get what at the best price. If you're used to doing all your shopping at one store, now's a good time to branch out. You can get an idea by visiting a few stores online and comparing all the food items that you buy on a regular basis, to see where the savings might be. Also, if you haven't already, sign up for a loyalty card wherever you might be shopping in future: they can really help you shave a few pounds off your grocery haul, as well as offer great 2 for 1 deals.

  1. Never Shop Without a List (Or When You're Hungry)

When shopping, always have a plan. Adding items to your cart ad hoc will almost always lead to overspending. Taking time to consciously plan your shopping list will enable you to get what you need, and to avoid falling for any distractions. Speaking of which, every product placement and shopping aisle is designed to entice and persuade you to spend more. When shopping, don't forget to look up, down and all around the shelves to find similar items and brands to the ones which are at eye level, as these are generally the more expensive options.

  1. Bulk Buying

When it comes to non-perishables and longer-life items it's often best to size up. Generally, the bigger the size, the better the price. The only risk to consider is whether that double-sized pack of biscuits will disappear as quickly as the standard one - if you're easily tempted then stick to non-edibles for this tip!

  1. Ditch Pre-Prepared Fruit and Veggies

Chopped up and pre-packaged fruit and veg might be convenient, but it comes with a much heftier price tag. Try to opt for the whole fruit/veg and cut it up at home yourself - you might not save on time, but you will save on money. Your fruit and veg will also last longer and you'll be shopping the eco-friendly way (less plastic)!

  1. Reduced Prices

Items with yellow sticker reductions are gold. These reductions happen at specific times of day, (it's different for each store) but usually it starts after lunch and peaks between 5-7pm. These yellow stickers are added to food items that the store needs to sell before they expire - and they'd rather get something than nothing for them. These bargains are usually less 50%. #Score 

  1. Stock up on Dry Goods

Who doesn't love pantry-fillers! Dry and canned goods are miracle workers when it comes to bulking out meals, stretching out the food supply, and taking ages to expire. We're talking pasta, rice, popcorn kernels, lentils, beans, canned tomatoes, crackers, tuna, the list goes on. Top tip: buy beans and chickpeas etc dried rather than in tins. You just then need to soak a large batch of them overnight before cooking and storing in the freezer (just like frozen peas) you'll save a considerable amount of money - and always have healthy ingredients on hand.

How to Save At Home...

  1. Meal Planning

Meal planning not only helps to eliminate the guesswork that goes along with cooking, it also helps to save money and waste too. When you've planned your meals, there's less risk of needing to head to the store for a vital missing ingredient and impulse buying or giving up and ordering a last-minute pricey takeaway. 

  1. Meat-free Mondays

Unfortunately, meat (along with dairy cheese, milk and eggs) is a food group that has increased the most with this year's inflation. However, this poses as a great opportunity to introduce 'meat free Mondays' to your household. Good for you, the planet and your wallet.

  1. Arrange your Cupboards and Fridge Smartly 

Storing foods correctly is the secret to prolonging their lifespan, avoiding food wastage, and saving money. Love Food Hate Waste has a comprehensive, A-Z list of food items and tells you exactly how, where and at what temperature you should be storing items for best use. 

How to Save Online...

  1. Take advantage of first-time offers

Right now, there are more food delivery services across the UK than ever before. As a result, they're all vying for our attention by offering great first-time shopper discounts. By working through the list, you can end up saving heaps of money on big grocery hauls. You can find a list of discount codes here, and vouchers here. You can also get money off your first Guosto boxHelloFresh box, and off most meal plan services such as Green ChefFuel Hub, and more!

  1. Save Money - and save the planet!

It's no secret that food wastage is a big problem. Luckily, there are some wonderful businesses who've set out to make a difference with that, while offering the public a discounted service. The Too Good to Go app allows food stores and restaurants to sell their surplus of goods at a discounted rate to whoever picks it up on the App. Another great one is Odd Box, where you elect to receive either a small, medium, or large box of 'odd' looking veggies - so odd that they can't be sold elsewhere - for a great deal. This is a subscription-based service and is designed to rescue perfectly healthy, albeit 'funny-looking' veg from the bin.