If you have a growing family and are worried about rising food costs here are some ideas to bulk meals up without breaking your budget. . .(and not a lentil in sight!)
With food costs ever on the increase and even budget supermarkets like Aldi becoming more expensive it can seem like feeding a growing family can eat into more and more of your budget. In particular, teenage boys can often seem as though they never stop eating and have hollow legs.
In this post I’m going to show some fab ways to bulk meals out and make sure there’s always something extra around to eat without breaking the bank.
I love saving money on food and keeping my monthly food budget low – here is an update for 2018 – all about what we’ll be spending and where
January is always seen as a time for new beginnings and fresh starts and is always a good time to take stock of things and change and improve them where we can. One of my most popular posts is one that I wrote all the way back in 2016 – about how I cut my groceries bill down to just £50 a month (I also wrote an update at the end of year which you can read here.) And so I though it was time for a bit of an update on our monthly food budget – whether it’s changed and we’re going to be doing this year.
Kitchen Gadgets come in all shapes in sizes – here are my top picks for those that will also save you money
Having been a chef most of my adult life, I’m a sucker for various kitchen gadgets. While this can range from anything to fancy blenders and bread-makers to the more humble kitchen timer, there are a few I simply wouldn’t be without. Here are a few of my favourites which after the initial investment should also save you money in the long run. Teaming up these kitchen gadgets with the books recommended in my recent post about the best cookery books to become a budget savvy chef could really help you save some pennies in the kitchen this year.
Feeling a bit nervous about buying reduced food for the first time? Here I clear up 10 big misconceptions about buying yellow sticker foods
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know how much I love buying reduced food. I head straight for the yellow sticker sections as soon as I get to the supermarket and grab whatever I can. It means the majority of the food I buy is discounted, often by as much as 90% and it means we eat really well while not spending very much at all. Yes, we could spend a lot more but I enjoy saving money where I can I have a bit extra to spend on the fun things in life.
Want to be a Crazy Coupon lady and save loads of money on your shopping? Here’s my guide to getting started with Coupons
Before you get started with using Coupons it’s really worth looking at your overall shop to see if there are any areas where you could be saving money. Learning to coupon is great but you need to have a good attitude to saving money on your shopping to begin with or you might start to feel it’s not worth the effort. Couponing can take up a bit of time – which is why I only coupon for about a third of what I buy – the rest is usually either supermarket basics or from the reduced section.
New Year, New You? January is the most popular month of the year for Slimming World sign ups – here’s how you cans save money on all the new foods you’ll be eating while shedding those pounds.
If you’ve just joined slimming world then you may be wondering how you’re going to afford all the new foods you’ll be eating. Fruit and Vegetables can be expensive and then there’s the more Slimming World specific food like Frylite, Chicken Sausages and Quark. That on top of the weekly fee for the meeting and learning how everything works with regards to syns etc, it can all be a bit overwhelming.
In this post I’m going to share with you my top tips for getting all of the most popular slimming word foods for less and hopefully save you some pounds while you shed some lbs.
Looking to slash the cost of your groceries bill this year? Here are 18 Brand New Tips for saving on food and Groceries in 2018
This post contains affiliate links
Last year I wrote a post with 17 tips to save on your groceries in 2017 – it was a really popular post so I though I’d do the same again this year, with 18 Brand New tips that should help you continue to slash those groceries bills and save money week on week. I’m not promising you won’t have thought of some of them already, but hopefully some of these will help you start saving big.
I also have a money saving Facebook Group with a focus on saving money on groceries and household bills. You can find the group – I’d love for you to come say hello!
It’s that time of year where supermarkets slash the cost of vegetables in the run the up to Christmas – but do you know the best way to prepare and store them?
Being the super duper money saving sort of girl I am, I’m in a lot of money saving groups on Facebook. And one thing that seems to be up for debate at the moment is the price and bulk buying of supermarket vegetables. Being just a week out from Christmas they seem to have been slashed to ridiculous prices – in particular bags of carrots, sprouts, parsnips and Potatoes, mostly coming in at around 30 pence (or less!) a bag or even 20p in some cases!
This year all the UK Money bloggers are getting together to encourage their readers to a make reverse advent calendar during November to donate at the beginning of December.
It’s sad but true – more and more families in the UK are having to rely on food banks during times of financial hardship. Between April 2017 and March 2017 over one million three day food parcels were distributed in the U.K to families that had no other option and no idea where there next meal was coming from.
Christmas can be a particularly tough time of year for those who are struggling to get by and U.K food banks often run low on supplies during the festive period. That’s why this year the UK Money Bloggers have got to together to encourage their readers to create a reverse advent calendar during November. This means parcels can be donated at the beginning of December allowing food banks plenty of time to distribute food to needy families in the run up to Christmas.
What is a Reverse Advent Calendar?
With a Reverse Advent Calendar, rather than having something for yourself each day, such as chocolate or sweets, you donate something each day instead. In the same way a normal advent calendar counts down to Christmas, by the end of November you should have around 25 items ready to be donated to your local food bank. Obviously if you want to do one for the entire month and not just the 25 days then that’s fine too…
November is great a month to do this – it’s a fab way to get into the Christmas spirit without having all the stress and crazy busyness of December. Below I’ve put together a number of ways you can make a start on a Reverse Calendar without having to spend a fortune. Also there’s no need to add an item specifically every day – I plan to grab freebies when I go shopping and then add them a few at a time.
How to Fill your Reverse Advent Calendar For Free
I’ve talked about shopping apps on the blog before and they are a great way to get food items for free – especially if it’s food that your not going eat yourself or something you don’t like. The only slight drawback is that while you get the food for free you still have to have the spare cash to buy it the first place and the wait for a refund.
Some of the best apps for getting food for free are Checkoutsmart, Shopmium, Greenjinn, Clicksnap and Topcashback. Checkout this post for more on these Apps and how to use them.
While there is no guarantee there will be enough freebies during November to fill a box up based on previous years I think there will plenty to at least start filling a box.
To get you started the App Shopmium currently have a FREE bar of Lint Chocolate when you sign up using my referral code KMFUKCCQ
If you are an O2 Customer their app often has goodies in the run up to Christmas which you can claim without having to spend a penny – just show the code in-store.
You could also consider using any loyalty points you may have built up over the course of the year to claim some items for free. Food banks are always desperate for toiletries so a few boots points spent on these instead of something for yourself could go a long way towards helping someone in need. Nectar Points and Tesco Clubcard Points could also see you add to your calendar for nothing – even if you only use £2 or £3 worth.
If you’re a regular shopper at Iceland or Farm Foods it’s really easy to get hold of vouchers for money off a £20 or £30 shop – I seem to get these through the door every single week. If you’re new to couponing why not use these vouchers to add a few items for the food bank to your shop without having to spend any extra money.
For less than a Fiver – Spend £1 each week on 5 items
Another way I am adding to my Reverse Advent Calendar is by setting aside a small amount each week – by buying budget items, such as those in Asda’s smart price range you could easily add 25 items to your box for less than a fiver
Really Can’t Afford to Donate? Here’s some other ways you can help.
- Carrier Bags – Since the introduction of the 5p charge for carrier bags more and more people are keeping hold of their carrier bags, which is brilliant for the environment but not so good for charity shops and food banks who reply on people using them when they drop off donations. Delivering shopping to needy families in carrier bags rather than trolleys is much more discreet for those involved.
- Donate Your Time – Most Food Banks are run by volunteers so donating your time could be just as useful as donating food.
- Fundraising – Fundraising on behalf of your local food bank is great way to help when you can’t afford to donate yourself find out more here on the Trussel Trust’s website
It’s a good idea to check in with your local food bank before to check what sort of items they are in need of. Some have an abundance of baked beans and dried pasta but are desperate for items such as UHT milk and toiletries and even loo rolls! The Trussell Trust run the majority of the Food Banks in the U.K and you can find your nearest one using this link. I plan to donate mine in person but many have drop off points in local supermarkets.
Food Banks don’t accept alcohol or perishable foods – even some items that might seem like a nice Christmas treat (mince pies for example!) actually have a pretty short shelf life. If you decide to donate any items that have been lurking at the back of your cupboards make sure they are still in date with a few months left.
If making a Reverse Advent box isn’t your thing you could also consider making a monetary donation to your local Food Bank Instead.
If you plan to join me with making a Reverse Advent Calendar I would love to see your pics – whether you plan to fill it for free, for a fiver or full luxury goods whatever you donate will go a long way to help families in need this Christmas.
- Send me your pics on twitter using the hashtag #foodbankadvent
- I’ll be posting all the freebies I find to add to my box in my Facebook Group – I’d love for your to join and show me your pics there too!
In this Guest post Nick Daws explains how to make money by investing in Food and Drink with Primestox
Today I have guest post from fellow blogger Nick Daws who writes over at Pounds and Sense . He has quite a bit of experience with investing so I was keen to see what he had come up with for me as a newbie investor who doesn’t have a clue what she is doing! Investing can be a great way to make money long term and while there are risks involved it is still something that is worth looking into. Here Nick talks about making money with food and drink by investing with Primestox.Continue Reading
Welcome to the first of a new series entitled How To Eat For Free – this week focusing on shopping Apps and Coupons
One of the best ways to cut back on the cost of the weekly shop is by sourcing as much food as you can for free
This is the first post in a new series on my blog talking about how to eat for free. Impossible, you might think? Ask most families what their biggest monthly outgoings are and food is normally right up there. But there is so much we can do to cut the cost of spending on groceries and for me the first step is always sourcing as much food as possible for free.
In this post I am going to talk about using phone apps and coupons to get food for free. The pro’s, the cons, where to find coupons and how to use them. Using a combination of these two things helps me save a fortune a my monthly shop, which I have cut down to just £50 a month.
Using coupons is a great a way to get money off your shopping and reduce your monthly spend. There are coupons out there for almost everything, including money off a certain amount spent, coupons for money off certain products and coupons for free items.
One of the biggest pros to using coupons is that you get money off your shopping straight away, unlike the shopping apps where you have to claim the money back. This is great if you don’t much money to spend in the first place and don’t like the idea of waiting for the refunds to go into your bank account.
Extreme couponing can be time consuming and fiddly. There can also be issues with supermarkets not knowing which coupons they should be accepting and I know this can put people off. While I do enjoy a bit of couponing I do maybe one or two small targeted shops a month rather than this being something I focus all of my time on.
Where to find Coupons
There are so many places to find coupons but my favorites are newspapers and magazines. If you pick up the free supermarket magazines then be sure to pick up a couple in-case of any really good offers. I also seem to get quite a few coupons posted through my door, recently one for a free rustlers burger at Morrison’s. Be sure to check supermarket fliers for conditional spend vouchers too, such as £5 off a £30 spend. Even if you just used one £5 off voucher each week, think how much free food that would get you over the course of the year.
There are coupons online that can be printed off at home and used in store. Check out this post for more information on where to find these.
How much shopping can I expect to get for Free with Coupons?
I think the answer to this really depends how much time and effort you want to put in to couponing. If you have the time to find, print and use lots of coupons you could probably get the majority of your shopping for free, or very little. Personally I don’t have the time to take it to this level but there are massive savings to be had if you do. Combing coupons with offers on shopping apps and supermarket offers like roll backs is the best way to get food and groceries for free.
There are several shopping apps and all of them are great for getting freebies and money off your shopping. The main four I use are CheckoutSmart, ClickSnap, GreenJinn and Shopmium. Simply download them from the app store and sign up to get started.
I like the shopping apps because they are so quick and easy to use. You can filter offers by supermarket to help you plan your shop and they have loads of freebies and offers. If you have a partner make sure they download all of the apps too for double the savings and double the freebies.
While you are getting food for free this comes in the shape of a refund rather then money off at the till. Not so good if you don’t have the money to spend in the first place or don’t want to wait a few days to get the money back. Alot of people build up their refunds to £20 and then claim it back. Also make 100% sure you are buying the right product from the right supermarket. Some of the apps are linked and so separate receipts are needed if you want to claim for offers on both. This obviously can make your shop a bit more fiddly and time consuming. The freebies can also be spread across lots of different shops, great if you are shopping there anyway but a few trips may be necessary to take full advantage of all offers.
How much can I expect to get for Free with Shopping apps?
I find that on a week to week basis there are plenty of freebies to be had across the four main apps. I usually try and do a targeted app shop once a week but if there are any offers that are short lived and for something I really want or need then I will pop in and those grab items. Check the four main apps before each shop you do and make a list of what you can get for free.
In the run up to Christmas last year there was so many freebies and offers I was able to make this Chocolate treats hamper for under £3. The RRP was around £24. The majority of the items were free from using shopping apps and could easily have been split down into smaller hampers to cater for more people. I’m really hoping I’ll be able to do this again this year.
I was recently asked which supermarket I like best – while I don’t think brand loyalty saves money, Co-op still came out on top. Here are the 5 reasons Co-op is my favourite supermarket.
When thinking about where to do the weekly shop, Co-op may not necessarily be the first supermarket you think of. The majority of their stores are smaller, so may not be as well stocked as some as their larger rivals and for branded food they are certainly not the cheapest.
But at the moment I still do the majority of my shopping at my local Co-op.
1. They have the best reductions
When food shopping, one of the biggest contenders for me is how I can get the most food for the least amount of money possible. My local co-op seems to have the best reductions with meat and fresh produce regularly reduced to 25% of the original cost. Plus, there always seems to be loads of it left too – whether this is because the shop is on a housing estate so has less footfall or because people are just popping for essentials and not a big weekly shop, I don’t know. But it means whenever I pop in there are usually bargains to be had – which keeps me coming back each week.
They also seem to have regular reductions on non perishables too – either because the ranges they stock change regularly or again because they have a low footfall and stock just isn’t selling fast enough. Last year I managed to get biscuits reduced to 12p which then went through the till at buy one get one free. I went back and bought a load to add to the food bank box as they had quite a long date on them too!
2. Offers to rival the big 4
As I mentioned before, branded products can be more expensive at Co-op than at other supermarkets. However, they do have lots of good special offers too, often at similar prices to the big four. I tend to only buy certain things, like crisps and chocolate bars, based on what’s on offer anyway so I’m not one for religiously buying a specific brand.
3. £5 frozen meal deal
I absolutely love the Co-op frozen meal deal – it changes every 3 weeks and is great for stocking up the freezer. I will say though, that some weeks are better that others in terms of what you get and value for money. The meal deal usually includes a mix of Co-op and branded products which should be enough to feed a family of four one meal and often includes dessert such as ice cream or Jam Roly Poly.
4. Co-op Membership Scheme
Co-op offer an excellent membership/loyalty points scheme where as well as rewards for shopping in-store, you also get contribute towards projects for the local and wider community.
When you buy certain co-op products you 5% of the value added to your card. 1% of what you spend goes to help community projects – you can even vote for which charities you would like to see funding go to on their website.
You are also eligible for for a share of the profits . . .
‘You’ll still earn a share of our profits and share in our success if you join us, just like you always have. When there’s a profit left over after we’ve re-invested in our business, you may be eligible for a dividend’
5. Low Conditional Spend vouchers
Another great bonus to having a Co-op membership is the vouchers that are printed off with your receipt for money off. With the other big supermarkets these can often end up being for quite high spends such as £5 off a £40 spend. I never end up using these as I just never spend that much . Co-op vouchers tend to be for much lower spends, such as £1 off a £10 spend – much better and more likely to be used.
6. Late Opening times
My Local Co-op is open until 11pm everyday (except Sunday) which is perfect for someone like me that works unusual hours and likes to pop in late to grab a bargain. This is later than every other supermarket in my town except Asda. They are even open late on a Saturday when Asda shuts at 10pm, perfect for me as Saturday is often the day I finish work the latest.
Co-op is My Favourite Supermarket – what’s yours?
Only having a small freezer means I need to make the most of every inch of space. Try these tips make the most of your Freezer Space
How to make the most of your Freezer Space. Regular readers of my blog will know that I buy a lot of reduced food – it saves us an absolute fortune and helped me cut my food bill by almost £150 a month. The only problem with buying a lot of short dated food is that is needs to be used up much more quickly. While I won’t throw something away just because it’s a few minutes past the use by date, it is easy to put bits in the fridge and forget they are there. In turn, this means I end up freezing a lot of food. This is great because obviously it preserves the food and it lasts for much longer. What is not so great, however, is that I only have a tiny freezer. This means I really need to make the most of every last inch of space. Here are my top tips for making the most of your freezer space.
Re-Package food before freezing
The biggest thing that will help you make the most of your freezer space is repackaging as much food as possible into smaller containers. We all know that a lot of food comes with far more packaging than is strictly necessary. For example, Salmon Fillets come in quite a big plastic packet, far bigger than the pieces of salmon themselves. Rather than just shoving the whole thing in the freezer I take them out and do one of the following;
- Wrap the fillets individually in cling film. Freezing them individually means I can get just one out should I need it and therefore helps eliminate waste.
- Pop in a resealable freezer bag – these are great as they can be reused (provided they are cleaned well between uses)
- Put in a small plastic container – rather than buying endless Tupperware I always keep the containers that Chinese/Indian Takeaway comes in and use these for freezing food. They are perfect for popping lefts overs in too.
When freezing food it’s important to label it clearly with the date it was frozen, how long it should be frozen for and what it is. Even though this is a habit well ingrained in me from working as a chef I still don’t always remember to do it at home – we had an incident a few weeks ago where we thought we’d got chicken out of the freezer for the tea – turns out it was pork!
Keeping the Freezer Tidy
There are lots of ways I like to keep my freezer tidy. This stops me having random bits of food all over the place and help prevent loads of food falling out every time I open the freezer door.
- I use large tubs – such as an old 2 liter ice cream tub – to store smaller bits of food, such as the individually wrapped bits of salmon I mentioned earlier. I also do this with chicken breasts – as there are just two of us I don’t always need to use the 4 or 5 fillets that come in a pack in one go. I split them up into one or two breast portions and get them out as I need them.
- I like to keep my freezer in sections for different things – the top shelf is full of plastic takeaway containers all stacked neatly on top of one another. These contain a combination of things – leftovers, stock, meat, potatoes and roasted vegetables. We have regular batch cooking days where we make things in huge portions and then freeze them down. This helps us to have quick and easy dinners ready to go when we don’t feel like doing much cooking.
- I keep the bottom draw for frozen veggies and chips – these are best stored together as they are the same shape.
Making the most of every inch of space
To really make the most of your Freezer Space you really need to use every last inch. There is one often neglected area of the freezer that can be utilized well if you know how – the ice cube tray drawer. How many people actually use this for ice cubes? Even if you do, do you actually use the whole space? Buying a few extra ice cube trays and using them to store food could help you make the most of those last few inches of space – here are some suggestions for filling up ice cube trays with tasty food
- Left over herbs – we all know fresh herbs don’t last longer (especially for me when I’m usually buying them from the reduced section!) chop them finely and then place into an ice cube tray to freeze. Pop out a cube or two when need and add to whatever you are cooking – it will defrost in a matter of seconds when placed into a bubbling casserole or curry. Also perfect for adding to the slow cooker.
- Ice cube trays can be filled with homemade stock – again just pop out as many or as few as you need each time you cook.
- Left over wine – apparently there is such a thing! – freeze in an ice cube tray and pop into sauces and casseroles as needed to add flavor.
- Fill with pureed fruit for making smoothies in a hurry – this is also a great way to use up fruit that is on the cusp of going overripe, especially if, like me, you buy the majority of you fruit from the reduced section.
Make sure everything is full
Make the most of your Freezer Space by making sure there are no boxes or tubs with next to nothing in. Similarly to repackaging fresh food, I also try not to put an almost empty container back into the freezer. It’s so easy to do this, especially food that comes in tubs such as ice cream, or food that comes in boxes like battered fish. Remember ice cream can be scooped into a smaller Tupperware tub – it’s also nice having scoops of ice cream ready to go at a later date. Food that comes in boxes like breaded fish and chicken I don’t usually decant until I’ve used half the contents. It’s so easy just to shove the box back in the freezer only half full – but re wrapping will save so much space for other things.
List everything you have
Keeping a list of everything you have in the freezer is a great idea. There have been so many occasions when I’ve spent ages rummaging through out freezer, undoing all my tidying trying to find something I’m convinced should be there only to find I’s forgotten we had eaten it. Updating a list once a week after shopping can save a lot of time and hassle. It can also help with meal planning to know exactly what you have in the freezer and what you might need to buy. Francesca from at Pennies to Pounds has a great post on meal planning here.
If you’re unsure about which foods can and can’t be frozen check out this post from Be Clever With Your Cash
Do you have any tips to make the most of your freezer space?
For the first time ever we’re having to make packed lunches and I’m panicking slightly about the extra cost . . .
Super Thrifty Lunch Box Ideas – My husband started a new job this week and for the first time since we’ve been together he needs to take a packed lunch with him. We’ve been so used to him getting a hot meal at work that it’s not something we’ve ever had to give any consideration too. He’s also started his new job super quickly so I was in a bit of panic about what to buy – while he’s actually earning more I don’t want to suddenly be spending an extra twenty quid a week on lunch box bits and bobs. We’re hoping to get away with adding around £1 a day to our food budget to allow for this.
Also, if I’m honest, he’s a bit of a fussy bugger – he won’t eat certain things cold, doesn’t like most flavours of soup, doesn’t like pasta salad – the list goes on and on.
So, I did what any personal finance blogger would do is this situation – asked my lovely money blogger friends for their suggestions and of course they didn’t disappoint!
Here they share their ideas for Super Thrifty Lunch Box Ideas – which will hopefully give you some inspiration too.
This post gives Katy’s top tips for preparing Salads in advance – making up several salads on a Sunday night is great way to be both thrifty and organzied. I also love her suggestion of using different pots for the all different ingredients to prevent them from going soggy.
Faith Archer, who blogs at Much More with Less shared this post which features a whole host of tips for making savings on packed lunches. From suggestions for sandwich alternatives (I’m loving the idea of cheese scones in a packed lunch!) to what to do if you are caught short out and about without a packed lunch , this post is sure to inspire even the most experienced packed lunch veterans.
Tom Church from Latest deals had an awesome suggestion – cook a whole chicken on a Sunday night and then make different dishes with it throughout the week. It can be split among salads and sandwiches for a tasty and filling lunch.
Thrifty Lesley – The dreaded chore of school packed lunches – can you feed a hulking teenager for 30p a head?
In this post Thrifty Lesley shares her ideas for packed lunches that start at as little 30p per head. Considering I was going to allow around £1 a day for my husbands packed lunch I could make some serious savings by implementing some of Lesley’s suggestions. There are a huge range of sandwich filling suggestions – many of which wouldn’t have even crossed my mind – but which sounds yummy and are, of course, super thrifty.
When I asked for Super Thrifty Lunch Box Ideas, David Jack Taylor from Thinking Thrifty sent me this recipe. These muffins are quick, easy and Slimming world friendly. They also keep for up to four days in the fridge so are perfect for batching cooking ahead of time and using up throughout the week.
While this post doesn’t contain any recipes, it does contain something almost as important – a clear and conciseness breakdown of just how much you stand to save by making and taking packed lunches – over the course of a week, month and even a year. It actually makes for very interesting reading – the average amount spent on an office lunch is shocking. If I ever find us falling off the packed lunch wagon I know where to go for some figures to set me back on the straight and narrow.
As always my lovely fellow bloggers came up with the goods when it came to Super Thrifty Lunch Box ideas – they have given me so much inspiration and I hope that they can inspire you too. Whether you want to try something new or scare yourself into spending less (£42k on packed lunches over 15 years!) every single post here should help!
Discovering you have a food intolerance doesn’t mean the cost of groceries has to dramatically increase – Try these hacks and Save some dosh
Finding out you have a food allergy or food intolerance can be hard. Suddenly cutting out lots of foods can take time to adjust to. It can also impact finances with the need to buy pricey ‘free from’ foods. But changes in diet don’t need to be costly. Here I share my tips for getting allergy and intolerance friendly foods for less.
Look for reduced Bakery Items
Gluten free bread can be super expensive but is one of those things people just hate cutting out of their diet. Try going later in the day to see if you can spot any GF loaves in with the normal reduced items. I have also managed to pick up reduced bagels and croissants doing this as well. Bread can easily be frozen so no need to worry about the short date, especially if you are the only one eating it.
Look out for value range products
While it might be tempting to only look at the specialist ‘free from’ section when you have a food intolerance, it’s worth getting to know the supermarkets own brand and value ranges as well. Often there are hidden gems they may be offering elsewhere in the store that are suitable for those with allergies or a food intolerance. For example, value range garlic bread in most supermarkets is dairy free because they use oil instead of butter because it’s cheaper to produce. Some of the mid range garlic bread is suitable too. Tescos everyday value tomato pasta sauce and Carbonara sauce, for example, are Gluten Free. Ingredients do change from time to time though so always best to double check.
Approves foods is online retailer that specializes in out of date (or short dated) produce at massively discounted pricea. While their range isn’t huge it could be a money saver if you need to stock up on particular items. Their gluten free range includes oatcakes, biscuits and bread mixes at the time of writing.
Holland & Barrett
Holland & Barrett hold a buy one get one for a penny sales throughout the year. If there are Dairy or Gluten Free specific foods you love this could be an excellent time to stock up on them. While it was’t easy for me to compare prices because many of the foods they offer aren’t available in supermarkets I did find a few good examples, inluding Dairy and Gluten free Chocolate coming in at 2 for 1 compared to the price at Sainsbury’s.
Final few tips
- Costa Coffee are one of the few coffee chains that don’t charge extra for Soya Milk – allowing you to enjoy a coffee treat for less.
- Many cheap recipes can be adapted – Amanda got in touch on twitter to say she’d tried this recipe from Thrifty Lesley and simply switched the normal flour for GF flour.
- Try checking out Amazon – they do stock various gluten free and dairy free products
- Find Gluten free meals the whole family will love to help avoid the need to cook different meals – for example make bolognaise and don’t mention the pasta your using is gluten free. (This may not be the cheapest option, but it’s probably the least stressful)
While I’m all for preventing food waste knowing which takeaway leftovers are safe to eat is important and could save you and your family from serious food borne illnesses.
We’ve all done it. Phoned for a cheeky Chinese or Indian on a Saturday night, ordered way too much food and been left with a huge pile of takeaway leftovers. Whether your sharing with friends or ordering a romantic meal for two there always seems to be more food than you could possibly eat.
I think what happens next often falls into two very different camps.
Will eat all leftovers the next morning, usually has a hangover. Shoves everything on a plate and microwaves for two minutes regardless of whether said foods go together or whether they have been reheated to the correct temperature.
Throws all leftover food into the bin when finished and feels mildly guilty about the waste but also doesn’t want to give family food poisoning from leftover food.
While these two sides are pretty extreme I think a lot people do fall into them. It’s a lack of knowledge in both directions on what is safe to eat and what is not. Hopefully with this post I can explain the best way to look after your takeaway leftovers and turn them into another meal to avoid food waste and avoid wasting money.
The first thing to do in regards to making takeaway leftovers safe to eat the next day is to store them correctly overnight. All left overs should be properly sealed and places in the fridge overnight, once they have cooled down. The only things I would avoid refrigerating are snacks such as prawn crackers and poppadoms.
If you are going reheat any leftovers make sure you are heating them to the correct temperature – which is higher than what food that is being cooked for the first time needs to be and is 82 degrees centigrade. Make sure food is piping hot before eating – if you don’t have a probe a trick I use is to put the tip of a knife into the center of the food and then place it on my hand just above my thumb. If the knife is burning hot the food is reheated enough to eat. If the knife is warm or you can bare it on your hand for a few minute seconds then the food is not hot enough.
The one food you should NEVER reheat after having a takeaway
There is one food that you should never, ever reheat if you have it from the takeaway and that is rice. Rice you have cooked yourself at home is fine to be reheated once provided you have cooled and stored it correctly.
Rice you are buying from the takeaway has already been cooked once and then reheated when you ordered it with your takeaway. Takeaways do not cook rice to order.
Cooked rice can contain spores that multiply into bacteria at room temperature and reheating rice does not kill these. Reheating rice for a second time is never advised as the rice will have been at room temperature not once, but twice and chance of it contain spores and bacteria that cause vomiting and diarrhea is much more likely.
Tips for what to do with takeaway leftovers
Here are my top tips for making the most of your takeaway leftovers to avoid wasting food and wasting money!
- Make sure leftovers are stored correctly if you do plan to eat them the next day – cover it and put it in the fridge – DO NOT leave it out overnight.
- Reheat leftover food until it is piping hot – not just warm.
- Don’t forget takeaway leftovers can be eaten cold too – I often turn leftover salad and chicken tikka from the Indian into a lovely light lunch.
- If you don’t think you’ll eat your takeaway leftovers the next day why not pop them in the freezer? This works particularly well for left over Pizza. Just defrost and reheat.
- NEVER reheat rice you have bought from a takeaway as it has already been reheated once and is more likely to contain harmful bacteria that could cause illness.
While being Vegan may seem like a cheaper option when it comes to food, buying Vegan specific foods can definitely bump up your shopping bill
When I published a blog post about how I spend just £50 per month on Groceries, a friend of mine got in touch to say she was trying to cut back on her grocery spends but was finding it difficult as she is Vegan.
Dee said that although her main meals are cheaper as she doesn’t have meat or dairy, other products are way more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts, such as vegan chocolate and vegan ice cream (which is almost £7 a tub!) so the cost of having a few nice treats was really increasing her shopping bill.
She also buys mostly organic fruit and veg and Green washing products such as the E-cover range. Dee’s shopping bill is around £70 per week for just her and her toddler son. I really wanted to come up with some ways to help her save money!
Shopping Apps & Coupons
While the majority of the foods offer on these apps wouldn’t be suitable there is still some that would be so always worth checking before you shop. Shopmium in particular seem to offer a lot of high end and health food products. So these are always worth checking. If you do a big monthly shop online don’t forget to take advantage of conditional spend vouchers such as £18 off your first £60 spend at Sainsbury’s. At the time of writing the CheckoutSmart app has a lot of offers for the e-cover range which could also save a substantial amount if you’re wanting to stock up.
Take advantage of Reduced Fruit and Veg
I love shopping the reduced section for the majority of what buy each week and this is a way Dee could save money too. While she prefers organic fruit and vegetables and has a weekly delivery box of them, I suggest that maybe she could cut this down to bi-weekly with the rest coming from the supermarket instead. While she prefers organic for foods that don’t get peeled she might be surprised at how much organic food ends up in the reduced section especially in the more upmarket supermarket’s such as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.
Some of the cheaper supermarkets such as Aldi do also stock some organic fruit and veg so it may be worth checking these out, especially if they are included in the super six.
Look out for value range products
While it might be tempting to only look at the specialist ‘free from’ section to find treats it’s worth getting to know the supermarkets own brand and value ranges as well. Often there are hidden gems they may be offering elsewhere in the store that are suitable for vegans. For example, value range garlic bread in most supermarkets is vegan because they use oil instead of butter because it’s cheaper to produce. Some of the mid range garlic bread is suitable for Vegans too. Many of Tesco’s ‘Everyday Value’ range biscuits are also suitable for vegans and would be much cheaper than buying free from biscuits.
When stocking up on store cupboard essentials, approved foods can be a great way to save. While their vegan range isn’t huge, it might be worth it if they stock products that you use a lot of. It also might be worth getting together with a friend and ordering a job lot between you to save on the cost of delivery.
Holland & Barrett
Holland and Barrett regularly hold a buy one get one for a penny sale. If there are Vegan specific food’s you love this could be an excellent time to stock up on them. While it was hard for me to compare prices because many of the foods they offer aren’t available in normal supermarkets I did find a few good examples. You can find more in the vegan penny sale here.
Nakd Bars – would normally be 75p in Sainsburys. They are 99p in Holland & Barrett but with the the penny they would be two for £1, saving 50p per two bars bought.
Cocoa Libre Chocolate is suitable for vegans and is usually £1.99 in Holland & Barrett and £2 in Sainsbury’s. This an excellent buy in the penny sale, essentially making it 2 for 1.
Are you Vegan? Do you think you spend more or less on groceries because of this?
Want to start saving money on your groceries? You’ve come to the right place. Here’s a round up of all my best posts for cutting down your food bill.
Saving money on groceries is definitely one of my strong points. In fact, it’s probably strongest point. You name a food and I can tell you way to find it for less. You name a supermarket and I can tell you ways to save there. I love spending less on food.
Where to start
If your looking for ways to start saving money on your groceries then the following posts are for you;
I spent the whole of 2016 spending just £50 a month on my groceries and have continued that budget into 2017 as well. Yes, it is a challenge and occasionally we do overspend but it has made us so much more aware of our spending. We account for every single item we pick up and put in our trolley or basket.
There is also my post 17 tips to reduce your groceries spending in 2017 full of simple hints and tips for getting your spending down. I have also created an updated version for this year – 18 NEW tips for saving on your groceries in 2018.
One of the biggest ways I save on my weekly shop is by buying food that has been reduced as it is short dated. There are so many more benefits to this besides just saving money.
Coupons & Apps
Another great way to save on your groceries is using coupons. You can find my beginners guide to being a crazy coupon lady (or man) here.
There are also a multitude of phone apps that can save you money. The best bit is the all regularly have offers that allow you to pick up items completely FREE. Try these apps to save hundreds on your grocery bills each year.
Using some of the above apps I was actually able to make a lovely Christmas Hamper for under £3.
If you are looking to save at specific supermarket then these are the posts for you:
A little while ago I wrote a guest post for the lovely Kelly over at ReducedGrub.com. If you feel that spending less will mean less luxuries think again. This post covers how to save on posh ice cream, fancy chocolate and one of my favourite treats, Krispy Kreme Donuts. I also recommended checking out her comprehensive list of supermarket reduction times
There’s no point saving money on food if your not going to love your leftovers! Try these recipes that you can make using Sunday lunch leftovers chucked into the slow cooker on a Monday morning.
Christmas can be a time for over-indulgence and over buying food. Here are over 40 Recipes for using up Christmas Leftovers so you don’t end up wasting any money.
If you’re worried about eating takeaway leftovers the next day check out this post on how to store them correctly so they are safe to eat.
I have written this post all about saving money on groceries when you are vegan, which includes top tips for getting Vegan chocolate for less. I also have a post all about ways to save when you have a food intolerance.
If your currently following the Slimming World diet then I have this post full of ways to save on Slimming World Specific Foods, such as Frylight.
Christmas can be a really expensive time of year, no matter how hard you’ve planned or saved towards. These are my post for getting all those Christmas goodies for much less Money
I hope these tips help you to start saving money on your groceries.
Sainsbury’s is the most expensive of the Big Four supermarkets but it’s also my favourite to shop at. Here are my tips for saving money when shopping at Sainsbury’s.
Sainsbury’s is my favourite supermarket and probably the one I shop at the most frequently. This is partly because it’s close to my Mum’s house and partly because I think the range and quality is better than Asda or Tesco. Plus there are so many ways to be saving money when shopping at Sainsbury’s
I do occasionally pop to Lidl or Aldi but find I can never get everything I need there. For example, my local Lidl doesn’t sell normal flour. They sell bread flour, wholemeal flour etc but no basic plain or self raising. No onion rings either. Or soy sauce. You get the picture. Baffling when you can at times buy a Generator or Table Saw. However, if you are looking to make EXTRA savings at Lidl and Aldi you can read my post about it here.
So how can you start saving money when Shopping at Sainsbury’s?
Coupons and Vouchers
The great thing about Sainsbury’s is there is the opportunity to use a lot of coupons (you can find my guide to couponing here). Sainsbury’s are also featured on many of the Cashback apps, including GreenJinn which only has discounts for Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. Between apps and using coupons you should be able to wrack up a fair few discounts and hopefully freebies too.
Nearly all of the fresh food I buy is from the reduced section and this helps me when sticking to my £50 a month shopping budget. It’s always worth checking out the reduced shelves and seeing if you can spy any yellow labels dotted around the normal shelves too. I find my local Sainsbury’s often have quite a bit of meat and veg reduced to half price by 3pm. Bigger discounts usually come just after 6pm and final reductions and bread and pastries is usually around 8.30pm.
Keep an eye out for reductions on dry goods too, in particular sauces, confectionery and crisps. Sometimes these are shorted dated, other times it’s due to re-branding or a line coming to an end. In recent weeks there has been 20p Mayo, 20p Popcorn and 20p bags of snack sized mars bars. All great for filling up the cupboards for next to nothing.
If you have a nectar card (if you don’t it’s worth getting one, the majority of my points come from spending on petrol) always remember to pick up any till spit coupons you may get when paying. These are often for conditional spends, eg £5 off a £40 spend, extra nectar points, or sometimes even free or discounted products. Nectar will also send vouchers in the post, usually conditional spend vouchers but sometimes others as well. If you do a big weekly spending quite a bit these are always handy to have.
There is also the option on going online and adding extra points to certain items . You can choose 5 products and the offer is automatically added to your nectar card for purchase within so many weeks. If there are items that you would normally buy listed then this is nice little boost.
While I like to let my Nectar points build up over the year, I never spend them on normal groceries. I wait for ‘Double up’ events during the year and use them to buy Christmas presents. Last year I got an Xbox one game for my brother for £10 instead of £40. This is a fab way of Saving money shopping at Sainsbury’s even though it’s not money coming directly off your groceries bill.
Taking advantage of discounts for online shopping is another way to save big. Especially when combining with money back from cashback apps. Using a combination of these two things, last year I was able to get £60 worth of shopping for free. I only paid around a fiver for delivery. Most first time delivery codes get you between £15-£20 off which is a substantial saving. However, the are delivery costs to factor in too. It also means not being able to pick up any reduced items which it’s why it’s something I don’t usually do. If you have a tendency to pick up stuff you don’t need it can be a great way to stick to a budget and only buy what’s needed.
Lidl and Aldi are well known for being the UK’s top budget supermarkets, but could you be saving even more money when shopping there?
This post contains affiliate links
Lidl and Aldi have seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years due to their cut price groceries and weekly offers on fruit and vegetables. Aldi actually ranked alongside Waitrose last year as the UK’s favourite supermarket and both stores continue to increase their market share, with Aldi recently overtaking co-op to become Britain’s fifth biggest supermarket chain.
While consumers will most definitely see savings by switching to one of these two supermarkets, I wanted see if I could push discounts even further by applying the principles I would usually use when shopping at any of the big four.
I’ll be honest – I don’t usually shop Aldi or Lidl on a regular basis for the following reasons:
- I can’t get everything I need. My local Lidl doesn’t sell flour, soy sauce or some other basics. That said I will pop in if I’m nearby and there is particularly good offer on something.
- I often shop on my way home from work. Aldi and Lidl are not open as late as Co-op and Asda.
- They don’t accept coupons and are not featured on any of the shopping apps. I often base my shops around where I can grab the most offers and freebies to help me stick to my £50 budget.
- Stock – more often than not when I’ve popped in to pick up a specific offer – such as the Waygu burgers from Aldi – there has been no stock left. know this happens in the big supermarkets too but not nearly so often.
Lidl and Aldi don’t usually accept the coupons that other supermarkets would, like the caring everyday ones that can be printed off at home. However, both supermarkets do run regular conditional spend promotions. Sometimes these are in national newspapers, others they are in the shops own promotional materials that can be picked up in-store. They can also be found in the seasonal booklets that are sometimes posted through your door. My Mum got one of these recently for their Easter offerings, I did not. She does live closer than me to a Lidl store than me though.
At Christmas the Lidl food guide included vouchers for money off certain products including Belgian Chocolates which made them better than half price. These are always worth looking out for too.
I once entered a competition to win some hair care products from Lidl. Athough I didn’t win, 100 entrants were sent money off vouchers for the product featured. I had a massive issue using the voucher in-store. The cashier told me Lidl didn’t accept vouchers for that product. The store manager eventually ended up phoning head office who confirmed it was legit. A lot of faff for some money off a bottle of shampoo!
One of the biggest ways I like to save money on my weekly shop is buying the majority of my fresh produce from the reduced section. This includes all meat and most fresh fruits, vegetables and salads. While Lidl and Aldi do reduce some food, it’s not nearly as much as the more mainstream supermarkets. Aldi’s business model is very different to the big four. As they provide a much smaller product range, they know they will sell thousands of units of each product. This is how they keep their prices low and avoid needing to reduce items in the first place, as generally speaking they will sell them all before the use by date.
I have managed to spot a few reductions in Lidl but not as many as the big supermarkets and not by as big a discount. A few items such as bread and fresh meat sometimes have 30% off during the day. More reductions are added between 7pm-8pm but usually stop at a maximum of 50%. I have never seen fruit or vegetables reduced in my local Lidl but this may not be the case everywhere.
The great thing about Lidl is they sometimes start reducing items by 30% two or three days before the use by date meaning they will keep longer once you get them home and don’t need to be used straight away!
Try these last few tips to make sure your saving as much as you can at Lidl and Aldi.
- Sign up to the Aldi newsletter for discounts and offers staight to your inbox.
- Try having a meat free meal based around Aldi’s Super Six Fruit and Veg
- If you do regular big shops at lidl make sure you pick up two or three leaflets containing conditional spend vouchers.
- Don’t forget your bags (of course this applies to any supermarket)
- Ask friends if they buy the newspaper with the conditional spend voucher is in. If they’re not using it then ask them to pass it on to you. I always take vouchers from the papers at work – they would only go in the bin otherwise!
I love buying reduced food and there are a whole host of benefits aside from saving money.
If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts you will know that I love saving money on my groceries. I spent the whole of last year challenging myself to spend just £50 a month for two of us. The majority of the food I buy is reduced food and as well as saving money I think there are other benefits too. I’ve recently seen a lot of people turning their noses up at the idea of buying reduced food branding it ‘scabby’ and something that only really poor people do. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, I could afford to buy a full weeks shopping the same way everyone else does but I choose not to. I like being able to spend less, still eat fantastic food and save that money for fun things like holidays and days out.
It’s Eco Friendly
Buying from the reduced section helps prevent food waste, as you are buying food that the supermarket will be throwing out at the end of the day.
Just because supermarkets can’t legally sell food that is out of date, it doesn’t mean that food is not fit for consumption. If you buy some chicken fillets with today’s use by date at 10pm, they are not suddenly going to be inedible when the clock strikes midnight. I find most foods are okay a day or two after their use by date, longer for vegetables, especially hardy things like potatoes. Of course if you have any doubts about whether food is safe to eat then throw it out.
Some supermarkets are trying their best to prevent food waste by partnering with local charities to redistribute surplus food.
As well as buying reduced fresh produce I often buy reduced dry goods too. Items can be reduced as they are short dated, the supermarket is no longer going to stock them or the packaging has been updated. It’s worth remembering that Best Before End is simply an indication of a products quality and food can be consumed safely long after this date. Just remember food may not be at its optimum quality.
It can help you be creative in the Kitchen
As I buy the majority of my food from the reduced section, I never know what I am going to find. Most people shop with a list and stick to many of the same staples each week. When you don’t know what meat and other ingredients your’e going to find, it really forces you to mix things up and try some new dishes. I’d never cooked scallops before but we ended up eating them for weeks after I found 10 packs reduced to 9p each.
When buying a lot of reduced food I always make sure there is plenty of room in my freezer. I un-package everything to save space and freeze on the day of purchase. This is also where batch cooking comes into it’s own; I often buy several packs reduced mince and cook it into a large batch of Bolognese. Check out this post on how to make the most of your freezer space.
Shopping places you might not usually be able to afford
The food in places like M&S and Waitrose is amazing and while I would love to all of my food shopping there I simply can’t afford to. Going in occasionally and buying a few reduced bits means lovely fancy food without spending a fortune. And as with any supermarket it’s worth checking for reductions on dry goods too.
Want to shop at Waitrose and M&S food but still look after the pennies? Read on to discover my tips for saving at two of the UK’s Posh supermarkets.
It can be very easy to get used to shopping at ‘posh’ supermarket chains such as Waitrose and M&S food. They suck you in with their fancy displays and delicious offerings . I know some people that are genuinely horrified at the thought of shopping at the likes of Lidl and Aldi. Whether it’s the lack of branded products or the thought of having to mingle with people they consider to be ‘common’ they are definitely missing out on some serious savings.
However, there are ways you can continue you shop at some of the more upscale supermarkets in the UK and still save money. Of course there are other things to consider aside from price, such as level of service, range and quality of products as well as location of the supermarket. No point going to Lidl if the bus journey there costs more than what you would save.
So here are my top tips for saving at Waitrose and M&S food.
Saving Money At Waitrose
Although I love Waitrose it isn’t somewhere I shop often as the nearest one is about 20 miles away from where I live, but generally speaking people love it. In 2016 it was voted Which? best supermarket based on quality, value and customer service in-store. However, it isn’t cheap. In fact, some of it’s essentials items are more expensive than the own brand equivalent in other supermarkets.
So how can you save money?
The first thing I would recommend is getting a free ‘MyWaitrose‘ card if you haven’t already. As well as a free cup of tea or coffee every time you shop it also allows you to create offers specifically for you. If you head to the Waitrose website you an actually choose 10 items you would like 20% off each time you shop. These picks are amendable so you don’t need to keep the same 10 items forever. There is a handy app which you can download to look at and change these offers on the go.
MyWaitrose members get 20% off at the fresh fish counter on a Friday and 20% off Steaks at the meat counter every Saturday.
Members can also pick up a free Waitrose Magazine and a free Waitrose Garden Magazine in-store. Oh, and if you spend over £10 you can get a selected newspaper free (the cost of the newspaper comes off the rest of your shopping)
While there are loads of shopping apps out there that can save you money on your weekly shop, not very many of them have offers for Waitrose. That all changed, however, with the release of the GreenJinn app, which only has offers for Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. According to their website, using the app could save you up to £50 a month on groceries across the two stores. It’s always worth checking the app before shopping for freebies, offers and cashback on items you may well have been buying anyway.
As with any supermarket I always recommend checking out the reduced shelves for bargains. The later in the day you do this, the bigger the reductions will be. Don’t forget to look out for reduced price dry goods around the store too.
Saving Money at M&S food
M&S food is all about the branding and has become popular in recent years for its luxury offerings. In particular the ‘Dine in for Two for £10’ has been hugely popular with customers as alternative to a meal out on the weekends.
Honestly, I would love to buy all of my food shopping in M&S. The range, quality and taste is unbeatable. Unfortunately I just can’t justify spending the prices they charge on a weekly basis. I also don’t have one local enough to me to be hunting down discounts late in the evening like I do with other stores. However, I do check out the one at the local services from time to time to see if they have anything worth picking up. It’s a small store but they have a lot of ready meals which are great for freezing for days I’m really short on time.
So how can you save money?
As mentioned above the ‘Dine in for two for £10’ is a good deal. It usually includes a free bottle of wine (or soft drink if you’d prefer). On occasion I’ve seen it include a whole chicken which is great value as it would be easy to get more than one meal from it, or it could be used to feed four rather than two (and still have some leftovers!). Look at the individual prices of each item to make sure you are getting the most value for money
Kelly Eroglu from ReducedGrub.com is the absolute queen of getting M&S food for less. She has a fantastic post on the best times to get reduced groceries from it’s hallowed food halls and some amazing recipes for what to do once you’ve got your hands on all your reduced goodies.
Kelly also recommends looking out for reductions on dry goods too, she recently spotted these dough mixes reduced from £2.oo to 50p.
If you are a regular M&S shopper it might be worth considering getting an M&S credit card as you earn points which are then turned into vouchers to spend in-store. Only apply for a credit if you can afford to pay it back IN FULL each month.
When I applied for an M&S credit card there was an offer running that meant once I had spent on it I got £30 of M&S vouchers in the post. This was a lovely perk (and the main reason I applied for the card!) which I used to put on a buffet to feed our guests the night before our wedding.
To you prefer a posh supermarket to shopping at Lidl and Aldi?
If one of your New Years Resolutions is to save money, try spending less on groceries with these tips – my budget is just £50 a month!
Last year my husband and I decided to try reducing our grocery bills, setting our budget at just fifty pounds a month. You can read the original post detailing how we do it here and the one year review here.
We estimate that over the course of 2016 we saved around £1500 on what we were previously spending. If you are thinking of trying to cut back on your grocery bills try my top tips.
Set a budget and put the money for spending on shopping in a different purse or wallet. This will make it easier to keep track of and you will be able to see what you have left to spend.
Buying reduced groceries saves us an absolute fortune. I try not to buy meat or veggies unless they are reduced by at least 50%.
3. Look our for deleted lines
As well as buying reduced items, look out for deleted lines. My local co-op recently had a HUGE clear out and I got store cupboards essentials for next to nothing. This included litre bottles of napolina olive oil for £1.50 and foxes biscuits for reduced to 13p that then went through the till at buy one get one free.
4. Be prepared
When buying lots of reduced food make sure you have the room to store it. I take a lot of food out of its bulky packaging and put in smaller containers or sandwich bags before freezing. You can also cook and freeze reduced food to save time later.
5. Love your Leftovers
Make the most of your leftovers – even if you only have small amount of something left. It’s worth popping it in the freezer for another day. You can find some of my Sunday lunch leftover recipes in this post.
Cut out the Junk food – since reducing our grocery budget we buy far less fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolate. We also try and stick to a base price for certain Items. For example, we won’t pay more than £1 for a litre bottle of Pepsi Max or more than £2 for a tub of Luxury Ice cream. You can read about how I save on some of my favourite luxury food items in this post.
7. Use Shopping Apps
Shopping apps have saved me an absolute fortune – from free food & drink to toiletries they are definitely worth signing up for. Try these Apps to save Hundreds on your Grocery Bills each year
Don’t be scared of trying new ingredients if they are cheaper. I often pick up more unusual meat in the reduced section and then look up recipes to make a meal out of it.
9. Try Couponing
Couponing can be a a great way save money on groceries. Start out with just one or two coupons and you’ll still be making a saving. Here is my beginners guide to couponing
10. Drop a brand
An oldie but a goodie. Try buying a brand down in the supermarket and see how you get on. If you don’t notice the difference then stick with it.
11. Look at the price per 100 grams
Even if something is on offer a smaller bottle or different brand may still be cheaper. Make sure you look at the measures and what you are paying per 100 grams or 100mls.
12. Do smaller shops
Before budgeting for our groceries we used to just head to the supermarket and throw whatever we wanted into the trolley. Now we do two or three smaller shops each week and try and buy what we need plus a few reduced bits.
13. Take a basket instead of a trolley
If you have to carry everything around with you, you’ll be less likely to fill it up with loads of stuff you don’t need!
14. Take advantage of new shopper discounts
If you do your shopping online don’t be afraid to shop around. There a lots of new customer codes out there, don’t be afraid to take advantage of all of them!
15. Remember any saving is an achievement
Even if you are only able to save £2 a week on your bills that’s more than £100 saved over the course of a year. Small changes can make a big difference.
16. Know what you can freeze
Knowing what can be frozen can really help when picking up cheap and reduced groceries. I often freeze whole pieces of cheese, fresh pasta sauces and cake.
17. Join my Facebook group
I have a small facebook group for those wanting to chat about saving money on their grocery bills. You can request to join here.
Love Domino’s Pizza but not the prices? Try these tips and hacks to get it for less, including Domino’s NHS discount and how to the popular Pepperoni Passion for less
I bloody love Domino’s Pizza and it’s our takeaway of choice for a monthly movie night at one of my friends houses. However it doesn’t come cheap. Especially when it’s not a Tuesday.
Once, many years ago, before I had honed my money-saving ways my now husband rang up and ordered a Domino’s for us. A large pizza for him and a medium for me. It came to £32! He’d forgotten to ask if there were any offers that could be applied and we didn’t have a menu to hand so he’d literally just ordered what we’d usually have. I vowed never ever to spend that much on two takeaway pizzas again!
In January 2016 I decided to cut my groceries budget down to just £50 per month. One year on I look at how it has changed our spending habits and improved our finances.
As so many people do, last January my husband sat down and discussed what we could do to improve our finances in 2016. Although we are very good at saving money and living well within our means, one area we are a bit crap at is budgeting. Setting a monthly food budget seemed like the best place to start and so that’s what we did. An ambitious £50 groceries budget per month is what we decided to try. You can read the full post on how we do it here.
Was it worth the effort?
The first thing I will say is sticking a tight groceries budget does take a lot of effort and a bit of planning. I now do several small trips to the supermarket each week instead of one big shop. I pick up reduced items and I shop around too. It is very rare I pay full price for meat or vegetables. This means getting creative in the kitchen – picking up whatever is cheap and turning it into a tasty meal.
I also do planned coupon/app shops. Although I wouldn’t say my level of couponing is extreme, it does play a part in how little I spend. There have been loads of amazing freebies this year. So many in fact, I was able to make this hamper for under £3.
Over the course of the year I estimate we have saved around £1500. We were spending around £200 a month before we started the challenge. There have been some months when we have gone over budget, probably only by £10 at the most. In December we did spend quite a bit extra. This was because we wanted to treat ourselves to some specific foods for Christmas. We also bought some alcohol which isn’t something we normally buy during the year. Overall I think we have done really well at reducing this area of spending and our shopping habits have completely changed for the better.
Will we be continuing into 2017?
Yes, we will definitely be continuing into this year. It feels really good to set aside the money at the beginning of each month and I enjoy the challenge of sticking to our budget. There may be months we spend more, or less, but for us this is the best way to keep track of our spending.
There are areas we need to improve on too. While sticking to the budget hasn’t been too bad, we still waste a lot of food. And while it is food we have paid less for, it still money that is essentially going down the drain. Getting food out of the freezer and not eating it is probably the biggest thing we need to work on!
My top tips for reducing your grocery bills
- Put money for spending on shopping in a different purse or wallet. This will make it easier to keep track of and you will be able to see what you have left to spend.
- As well as buying reduced items, look out for deleted lines. My local co-op recently had a HUGE clear out and I got store cupboards essentials for next to nothing. This included litre bottles of napolina olive oil for £1.50 and foxes biscuits for reduced to 13p that then went through the till at buy one get one free.
- Be prepared – when buying lots of reduced food make sure you have the room to store it. I take a lot of food out of it’s bulky packaging and put in smaller containers before freezing.
- Make the most of your leftovers – even if you only have small amount of something left. It’s worth popping it in the freezer for another day. You can find some of my Sunday lunch leftover recipes in this post.
- Cut out the crap – since spending less we buy far less fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolate. We also try and stick to a base price for things. For example, we won’t pay more than £1 for a litre bottle of Pepsi Max.
Are you trying out a new groceries budget this year?
These shopping apps save me a fortune each month – why not try them and see for yourself?
Why not try making the cost of your smart phone work for you? There are several free smart phone apps available that can help you cut the cost of your grocery shopping each week. You simply buy the product listed then upload a photo of the receipt for a part or full refund on what you have bought.
I usually go through each of these apps before going shopping to see what offers they have and so I can plan meals. Some of offers are only available at certain supermarkets so I usually make a list of what to buy from where before I go.
Checkoutsmart is my favourite of the free shopping apps as it seems to have the most offers and is the easiest to use. You can find it here
I have recently had the following items FREE from this app; baby food, crisps, yogurts, dessert pots, cider, sugar, frozen cod and spices. There is also a competition to win a £100 voucher when you upload your receipt so make sure you enter that too! Payment is when you have £5 in your account for a small fee or free when you reach £20 or over.
The Clicksnap app is linked to the cashback site Quidco. It has many of the same offers as the checkoutsmart app which is great as you often get to double up on freebies. However, you will need a separate receipt for any items you plan to also claim for CheckoutSmart. Payout is over £1 and can be requested via their website.
If you are not already a member of Quidco you can join here
There is also the Topcashback app which is very similar to the two apps above. You can sign up to Topcashback here if you have not done so already. Again you will need a separate receipt to the two apps above. Payment can be requested on the Topcashback website. When on the app you will need to go the ‘Groceries section’ to find the offers.
Shopmium works in thesame way as the other apps listed above. You can use my code KMFUKCCQ for a free Lindt reindeer when you sign up! (registration must be via the app and not via the website) They pay refunds via Paypal.
Shopitize is similar to the above apps, it tends to have fewer offers but is still worth using. You can combine offers from this app with the others as it is totally separate. They usually have cashback on everyday items such as milk, bread, broccoli, lettuce and pasta and you will need to scan items bar-codes in-store to make sure you have the right product. Payment is free by BACS or for a small fee via Paypal.
GreenJinn is the newest shopping app on the block and offers are currently only for Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. They had some fantastic offers over Halloween including a free Pumpkin and a free spooky cake. My cashback was awarded within minutes of my receipt being uploaded which was excellent.
O2 is an app for customers using the O2 network and is great for freebies and treats. You show a code on the app instore and the item is free or discounted. They have lots of great freebies from places including Hotel Chocolat and WH Smiths. If O2 isn’t your current mobile provider you can get a free simcard to use here.
Great offers on this app include £1 lunch offers from Boots and Dominos. You can also get free hot drinks from Cafe nero and free sweets from WH Smiths.
Zeek is an app that lets you buy and sell unwanted gift vouchers at a discounted price. So if you’re planning on spending say, £100, in Sainsbury’s, there may be a voucher on there discounted to £80 saving you £20 on what you were going to spend anyway. Use my code 2PYGZL for £5 off your first purchase. You can also sell gift vouchers you don’t want for cash, minus a small admin fee.
By combining offers from all of these apps I am able to save hundreds of pounds each year on my groceries bill. This has enabled me to keep my shopping bill to just £50 per month, something you can read all about here
These apps are also great for collecting free food for donations to local food banks and charities.
Want to save money on Luxury Food items? Checkout my post over at Reducedgrub.com
As most of my regular readers will know by now, I love spending as little money as possible on my monthly groceries shop. I try to stick to a budget of around £50 per month. I am able to do this by picking up reduced items, shopping around and making cheap meals.
When I started following Reduced Grub on Twitter I felt like I’d found a kindred spirit. Kelly loves grabbing food from the reduced section and turning it into mouthwatering meals. Her website is full of fantastic recipes she has created for very little money and that look like they came straight out of a restaurant kitchen. Kelly also posts loads of great hints and tips over on her twitter page, like how to make a sauce from the last bits in the bottom of a peanut butter jar.
While sticking to a tight food budget, I still like to try and sneak a few treats. There are some higher end products that I absolutely love, such as Hotel Chocolat, Krispy Kreme Donuts and Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream. You can find my post for Reduced Grub all about how save on these items here.
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Want to spend less on groceries? I challenged myself to spend just £50 a month – here’s how I did it.
This year, as one of our new year’s resolutions, my partner and I decided we needed to make some serious cutbacks on our spending. One area I was really keen to spend less on was groceries, especially food. We didn’t budget for it at all, spending whatever we felt like and I estimate we were spending around £150 – £200 a month for just the two of us.
So, for January, we decided we would try only spending £50 for the month for all food and household items. Our cupboards were bulging with left over Christmas food and we were definitely up for the challenge!
Overall it went really well. We overspent by about five pounds, but it had made us look at exactly what we were spending, if we really needed every item we were putting into our trolley or basket and whether we could get it cheaper elsewhere. Our food waste more than halved as we were buying less and we were trying lots of new recipes to use up different ingredients. We were also buying a lot less ‘rubbish’ food like crisps and chocolate.
It went so well we decided to continue, setting aside just £50 each month since. Sometimes we do over spend a little (I think £10 is probably the most we’ve gone over by) but it doesn’t matter because we are saving so much overall and being so much more conscious of what we are spending. We actually managed to keep this budget up for an entire year.
What does it include?
The £50 spend for us includes all food, drink, and household products (such as bin bags, washing powder, soap etc) to be used at home. It does not include meals we eat out or takeaways. My partner is lucky enough to get a free meal at work every day and I eat dinner at my parents’ house one or two evenings a week. However, this challenge is all about what works for you, challenging yourself to spend less, even if it’s saving £2 a week or spending £100 a month less. Switching to Lidl or Aldi could also help you save if you currently shop at one of the big four.
Where to start
The first thing I would recommend doing when trying to spend less on groceries is an inventory of what you already have. Go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and make a list of everything you have and how many meals you can make with what you’ve got. Do the same for toiletries and sundries. Try not to buy anything that isn’t essential until you actually need it (unless it’s on a really good offer and you’ll be saving money in the long run).
I also find putting the £50 in a separate purse really helps me keep track of what I’m spending and what I have left for the rest of the month.
Other Posts you might enjoy
Shopping for reduced shelf is the biggest way I spend less on groceries. I buy almost all of our fresh meat, veggies, salad and bread from the reduced shelves. I usually only buy something if it’s reduced by at least 50%, unless it’s something I really need. On average I save around 75% on the full price by doing this. There are other benefits to buying reduced food which you can read about here.
Some reduced items will need using within a day or two. Others will need freezing down as soon as you get home. I find salad and veggies will usually last a few days longer if kept in the fridge out of their plastic packaging.
I find the best time of day for reductions is usually about an hour before store closing time. If you’re unable to leave the house this time, you could also try shopping around 3pm on a Sunday afternoon. My current favourite supermarket to shop for reduced items is Co-op. I also keep an eye out for dry goods that have been reduced too, such as sauces and biscuits. Sometimes they are short dates, other times it’s the end of a line or the packaging is being changed. Either way it can be a great way to fill up your store cupboards for less. Recent finds include 20p mayo and popcorn and 6p packets of biscuits.
There are several phone apps available that can help you spend less on groceries. You simply buy the product listed then upload a photo of the receipt for a part or full refund on what you have bought. This is great for stocking up on items at half price or less.
I have recently had the following items FREE from this app; baby food, crisps, yogurts, dessert pots, cider, sugar and spices. The picture below is another recent haul that was completely free – the RRP was £13.53.
Clicksnap & Topcashback apps
I also use Clicksnap which is linked to the cashback site Quidco. There is also the Topcashback app. Both have good grocery offers, often the same ones as CheckoutSmart meaning you can claim each offer more than once. As CheckoutSmart, ClickSnap and Topcashback apps are all linked you will need separate receipts for each offer you intend to claim from each app.
Shopmium works in the same way as the other apps listed above. Use my code KMFUKCCQ for a free bar of Green & Blacks chocolate when you sign up (registration must be via the app and not via the website) They pay refunds via Paypal.
O2 is an app for customers using the O2 network and is great for freebies and treats. You show a code on the app instore and the item is free or discounted. They have lots of great freebies from places including Hotel Chocolat and WH Smiths. If O2 isn’t your current mobile provider you can get a free simcard to use here
I also use the MySupermarket app to check and compare pricesbefore I go shopping. You can find it here.
A lot of people like a drink and when trying to spend less on groceries alcohol can seem like it takes up a huge part of your budget. My advice here would be to shop around for the best prices as there are always offers. If you drink Carling the iCarling App offers discounts and sometimes freebies. Through the app we have had regular vouchers for free four packs of Carling (which then have a code inside for another free pack) and £5 off of a 12 or 15 pack (12 packs have recently been on offer at £8) They pay your money back via paypal or BACS.
Zeek is an app that lets you buy and sell unwanted gift vouchers at a discounted price. So if you’re planning on spending say, £100, in Sainsbury’s, there may be a voucher on there discounted to £80 saving you £20 on what you were going to spend anyway. Use my code 2PYGZL for £5 off your first purchase. You can also sell gift vouchers you don’t want for cash, minus a small admin fee.
As well as using the apps for reducing our spending on food they are also great for picking up items that can be used as gifts. They could also be passed on to charity or local food banks.
I love picking up items I can stash away for Christmas, such as the chocolate from Shopmium or ciders from CheckoutSmart. Pictured below is a hamper I made this Christmas which cost around £3 to make using these offers.
Extreme couponing is great way to save money on your groceries. There are loads more coupons about than you may think. Read my blog post about it here.
Shop with a friend
This can be a great way to share the cost of groceries. Go shopping with a friend just to buy items that are on 2 for 1 or buy 4 for £1 offers, for example. Split the cost between you at the till and then take half each. Remember to check the cost of items on offer is not hugely over inflated to begin with.
Find food for free
Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? There are loads of places to find food for free.
Foraging; especially for fruits such as blackberries and apples.
Freecycle; people are often giving away homegrown fruit and vegetables they have an over-abundance of.
Samples; Lots of companies give away free samples of stuff, try googling ‘free sample of …’ or write to companies whose food you love, they will often send samples or coupons back to you. Recently I managed to get a Degusta box filled with goodies for free. It may be worth following their facebook page in case they run this offer again.
Olio; an app that puts you in touch with people locally who are giving away food, for example if they are going on holiday and not going to eat it.
We have really enjoyed this challenge and plan to continue with it for as long as we can. I realize there is a lot of info here but even if you can manage to save £2 a week on your shopping bill that’s £104 over a year! Amazing.
If you are worried about missing out on foods your favourite upmarket stores while you are trying to spend less on groceries I have a handy guide to spending less and fancy supermarkets such as M&S and Waitrose.
Thinking of challenging yourself to spend less on groceries? Let me know in the comments I would love to hear from you.
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