In January I wanted to make cut backs and save money. Not only did I do No Spend January, where we didn’t buy any unnecessary things but I was also careful with out food shopping as this one of our biggest expenses. I decided to put together a list to help others have a cheap food shop!
1. Meal plan
Write a meal plan for the week and only buy the essentials that are on your list. I have found that writing my list out in categories helps me keep it organised and I can also see if there’s too much of one type of product. I try to vary up the meat selection and occasionally we don’t have meat at all (not very often), but we pick meals out for the week that have a variation of meet. I also buy specifics for lunches and breakfast.
2. Shop online
Tip 2 is to shop online! Before Christmas I was going to Lidl each week, reasonably priced but so stressful. I have had a few bad experiences with Lidl and now I shop online. I had only ordered online with Sainsbury’s Ocado and ASDA. I have also had Iceland delivered from my local store. By shopping online you can also keep an eye on the total and remove anything that makes you go over budget at the end.
3. Shop once a week
Only shop once a week! It is very tempting to go to the shop for a bottle of Coke, a pack of cookies or some crisps. I don’t like going to the shops midweek and spending unnecessary money on things we don’t need. We realised that we were popping into the Sainsbury’s local next to our house a good few times a week and buying things we didn’t need.
4. Shop when you’ve got energy
If you can’t be bothered to go shopping or your hungry you’re going to end up picking up everything. If you’re tired and hungry you’ll reach for sugary snacks and unhealthy comfort food. Stick to the list and go when you’re feeling refreshed.
5. Buy the essentials
Try not to go overboard with snacks! It is very tempting to pick up lots of different snacks for the kids but now I just make sure we have lots of fruit, some crisps and one sort of cupboard snack (biscuits, soreen, yoyo bear etc). We stopped drinking coke during the week and the money we have saved is crazy!
6. Look for money off codes/vouchers
Before you shop online check for any discounts (you usually get £18 off of your first shop with Sainsbury’s and £20 off of your first shop with Ocado). Also don’t forget to check delivery dates and times before adding everything to your basket!
7. Use by / best before dates
Remember use by dates are the date that a product should be eaten by, the best before date is a recommended date for when the product will taste its best. You can still eat products after the best before dates! As long as it isn’t meat or dairy it is usually okay to go a couple of days over. If it coming close to the date, chuck it in the freezer!
8. Left overs
Make the most of leftovers! This could be a small meal for the baby the next day, it could be a lunch for one of the adults. When I cook a curry I always end up with too much so I pop any leftovers in the fridge or freezer and I have that when we have spaghetti bolognese as I don’t like pasta. Lee gets to take what would have been my portion of spag bol to work.
9. Avoid deals
Deals are very tempting. But be careful as some deals are things like buy one get one half price. For example, the first product being £1.50 and the second being 75p totalling £2.25, but you might be able to buy the same product for £1 elsewhere making 2 of them £2 and you might only need 1 for now!
10. Make use of what’s in your cupboards
When I am meal planning I make an effort to go through our cupboards and check if we have things like sachets for casseroles, curry paste, rice, pasta, fajita kits, beans and anything else that can make a meal. Make the most of what you have and try to use bits up!
I hope you enjoyed reading my 10 top tips for a cheaper food shop. Let me know if you will be taking any of these on board!
Thank you for reading,