How to save money on food shopping!

Learn how to save money with help from Simple Fast Loans!


In our recent article How to save money as a family, we mentioned the importance of trying to save money on food shopping. After all it is one of our largest regular expenses. So in this article, we take a closer look at some of the ways you can do this.

Here are ten quick tips to try:


1. Plan ahead

Take time to make a list before you go. Check what you already have and only buy what you really need. Since lockdown, many of us now just do one big weekly shop. This can be a good discipline to get into. Make sure you buy enough to last for the week, and towards the end of the week get creative about using up everything that’s left rather than popping out to buy more. There are websites such as Love Food Hate Waste that can help you to do this.


2. Shop around

We can easily get into a shopping rut and end up going to the same place every week. If this works best for you and your family, then all well and good. But it may also be worth keeping an eye on special deals at other supermarkets. Perhaps you can start alternating between two different stores to get the best deals from both.


3. Loyalty cards and vouchers

Make sure that you have a loyalty card for any store that you shop at regularly. You can then collect points – which can be used to pay for shopping or exchange for gifts – and will also benefit from special offers tailored to you. 

Also check any vouchers that are printed out when you checkout, as they may either give you more points or enable you to save money on items you buy regularly.


4. Buy in bulk

It can be cheaper to buy things in bulk, and make use of offers such as “3 for 2” or “BOGOF” (buy-one-get-one-free). Just make sure that if you are buying just for your family you can afford the items and will definitely use them. 

Another option is to team up with a family member or friend. You may not be able to go shopping together but you can agree to buy certain items for each other and share the savings.


5. Batch cook

If you are buying larger quantities of ingredients then make sure that you use them. If you have the freezer space, then always try to make two of everything so that you can use one and freeze the other. It usually doesn’t cost that much more to make two meals than one, and will ensure that you use up all the ingredients. 

This is also another way that you could team up with another family, taking turns to leave your second meal on each others’ doorsteps.


6. Shop online

The demand for online food shopping has exploded during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are able to get a delivery slot, it can be an excellent way to save money, as long as you are careful about what you buy. The beauty of it is that it can help you to be very disciplined and buy just what you need. There are no last minute temptations at the checkout. 

You will need to pay a delivery charge, but this can still work out cheaper than the cost of getting to and from a supermarket yourself. Many online stores also offer a delivery pass where you can pay a one-off fee and then get free deliveries for either 3, 6 or 12 months.


7. Find the best time for bargains

Many stores are now open for very long hours, sometimes even 24 hours. They all have certain times of the day when they mark down the price of any stock that is approaching its sell by date. So if you are able to find these times and plan to do your shopping then, you could save money. 

Most supermarkets also have “reduced to clear“ shelves that are topped up regularly throughout the day when they need to make room for new stock. So if you get savvy, and time things right, you could bag a bargain.


8. Serve smaller portions

Another way to save money is to slightly reduce your portion sizes when serving a meal. It is not the intention to leave anyone feeling hungry, but many people often don’t finish a meal and you end up throwing away the leftovers. So if you are having a large dish, such as lasagne, try serving smaller portions. People can always have seconds if they want to.

But it’s estimated that an average family with children can end up throwing away as much as £60 of good food every month. So if you serve smaller portions and have some untouched food left to freeze for another time that can really help you to save money.


9. Get techy

Not surprisingly, there are many shopping apps that can help you to save money with your food shopping. You can scan your shopping receipt into the app and receive cashback in your Paypal account. More apps are being developed regularly so keep an eye on Apple App Store and Google Play Store to see what’s new.

Some of the most popular apps currently available are:

  • Shopmium
  • Checkout Smart
  • ClickSnap
  • TopCashback


10. Use Cash

Our final idea is to only use cash for your food shopping. During the pandemic, check before you go if your chosen store will accept cash. You may need to pay at the self-service checkout. But if you can use cash, this can be a very straightforward way of not overspending. Just take the cash you need, no card, and will not be able to overspend. 

If you are worried about getting to the checkout and not having enough cash to pay, you could use the supermarket’s scanner or shopping app to self scan your items and keep a running total of what you are spending.

We hope that this information will give you ideas as to how to save money when food shopping.

Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Simple Fast Loans.