How to Save Money on Food

Updated on March 10, 2018

How to Save Money

Most people in the world want more—some people want more money so they can have a little more luxury in their lives, maybe go on vacation a bit more or buy a new car. But some people want more money so they can survive and put food on the table and not have to choose between heating and eating.

Either way, there are ways you can live well for a lot less money—all it takes is a little creativity and some patience and before you know it, you will have some extra money at the end of the month to spend on the things you want or need.
It requires a little perseverance and some work but implementing some of these changes will help you change how you see your money.

How to Save Money on Food

Food is the second-biggest expense for most people, with the average family food spend weighing in at £53.20. And this might not seem like a lot, but over the course of a month, this adds up to £212.18! And over the course of a year, it adds up to an alarming £2546.16!

And this is the national average, many people spend so much more than this and rack up food bills of nearly £500 per month! There are so many ways you can shrink your grocery bill and still eat delicious and healthy food.

Stop Wasting Food

Wasting food should be a crime, and I can't understand why people continue to do it. People pay good money for their food and don't even eat it, they just throw it straight into the bin!

Think about how much that food cost, let's say £5, if someone asked you to take a fiver and throw it straight into the bin, would you do it? That is what you are doing every time you throw food away, you are throwing money away. If you find you are throwing food away on a regular basis, then you need to reevaluate the way you shop. Stop buying the things you are throwing away and think of an alternative that you will actually eat.

Keep an Eye on What Is in Your Fridge

We have all been guilty of this at some point, we do our weekly shop without checking to see what is in the fridge first. We get back and realize we didn't need half of what we bought. Check to see what you have in before you go shopping, otherwise, you end up with 2 and throw one away, which is a waste of your food and your money.

Lists are not just for forgetful or obsessive people, they help keep you on budget and they let you know what you definitely need, rather than what you think you can remember.

Learn to Cook

I am not talking about becoming a brilliant chef. I am talking about learning the basics if you don't know them. Ready-made/prepared meals cost a lot of money because you are paying for packaging and convenience. If you buy a lot of ready meals, learning to cook could easily halve your monthly grocery budget.

Cheaper Cuts of Meat

I recently learned a trick to make cheap steak taste so soft and delicious. Cover the top layer with coarse sea salt for an hour per inch of thickness, rinse off and pat dry. The difference was incredible, the £1.50 per person steak tasted nicer than any steak I have ever had before.

My point here is, buy cheaper cuts of meat and learn how to cook them, if you're not sure, look it up. Slow cooking tougher cuts of meat will make them much softer and it will make some others tougher, always look it up if you are not sure.

Bulk It Out

Bulk out meals with mince in by using oats in the mixture, they thicken up and make the meal go much further without having to compromise on flavour. Make vegetables or rice to go with meat and pile them high, that way, nobody will feel as though they are going hungry and you get to give your family some healthy food at the same time as saving money.

One Meatless Meal

Some people can't stand the idea of going without meat even for one meal, but if you can, try it once a week. Then maybe twice a week. You will be amazed at how much money you save.

Don't Be Lazy

You can't save money if you're lazy, convenience costs money. And this means you have to put the work in, buying pre-prepared vegetables and pre-diced meat is a definite no from me. These things not only cost you more money, but pre-prepared veg comes in unnecessary plastic packaging. Prepping your own veg and cutting your own meat will save you so much money.

Leftovers

Stop throwing leftovers away, and start making use of them. For example, leftover bolognese can easily be turned into a chili con carne for the next day just by adding some chili powder. Even if you don't want to eat them the next day, freeze them, just make sure to thoroughly reheat them the next time.

My mother-in-law takes the leftovers from meals I make and has them at work the next day, people often joke about how she eats like a Queen at lunchtime!

Learn to Bake

You don't need to become Mary Berry, but learning how to bake can help stop you buying so much. My wife and I used to spend so much money on sweet stuff, now, if we want something sweet, I bake it using what we have in. And what we have in the house at the time will dictate what I bake, I won't go out and buy anything. I have recently even started baking my own bread, it's easier than you think and it's delicious!

Shop in Cheap Places

Discount shops are always the best place to get food. They may not have as many brands as others, but their equivalents are just as good and so much cheaper.

Ditch the Brands

Brands are expensive and nowadays, shops own versions are just as good, if not better. Don't be fooled into buying brands because you think they are better quality, for the most part, they are no different to the cheaper versions.

Coupons

Look in papers and store magazines for coupons to see if you can get any money off of the food you buy, but remember it is not a bargain if you won't actually eat it!

Stop Meal Planning

Meal planning is great for being organized, but it's a much better idea to use whatever needs to be used up before it goes bad. Look in the fridge and see what hasn't got long left and make a meal around that. It's easy, gives you some inspiration and will stop so much food being thrown away.

Frozen Food

It's time to stop the frozen food snobbery, yes, fresh food is delicious, but not everyone can afford it so people need to stop trying to make people feel bad for buying frozen food! Frozen veg and meat can be a really reasonable price and it can last for ages, there is much less waste as vegetables and salads are among the most binned items in households and you can still get delicious and healthy meals.

Misshapen Vegetables

So much food is wasted and even destroyed because it doesn't "look" right for the consumer. And this is something that is totally revolting, imagine telling someone in a war-torn country who is starving that we throw away food because it doesn't look perfect. But thankfully, some supermarkets (only some though) are now starting to offer the vegetables that don't look "right"

Asda now offers a "wonky veg" box at £3.50 which contains misshapen vegetables and vegetables that haven't been washed. You get loads in the box, it's all really good stuff and it's a brilliant price!

Discount Supermarkets

Where I live, one woman has set out to help prevent supermarkets from wasting food that has gone past it's best before date. Most food is perfectly edible after its best before date because a best before date means just that, the food is at its best before then. She sells food in her shops that has gone past its prime at really knocked down prices. The supermarkets give it to her so they don't have to destroy it and she sells it on at a really cheap price. She has now opened loads of stores, but she still comes across some snobbery and disgusting attitudes with one person apparently spitting at her in the street! Revolting.

What she is doing is an amazing thing and I go in there all the time as she gets loads of great stuff! Look for people in your local area that might be doing a similar thing as discount food stores are popping up all over the country.

Get Creative

Think about creative solutions to your food problems, for example, I wanted some fancier chocolates and all we had was really cheap chocolate in the house.

So I decided to melt it and pour it into a mold I had from when I went through a spell of trying to make handmade chocolates and realized I didn't have the skill or patience. Melting chocolate changes the taste of it, so it can make even cheap, nasty chocolate taste a little bit better. And before I knew it, I had a bundle of adorable little handmade chocolates that made me feel like I was having a little bit of luxury without spending any extra money.

Waste Nothing

Turn leftovers into different meals, freeze leftover bread for breadcrumbs to add to dishes (I add garlic and herb to them and cover fish in them) Even wet cat food can be given to birds!

Try to find a use for everything, if you have something leftover, Google it and see if you can transform it, or see if it can be given to animals or birds. Always check before giving animals or birds things because certain ingredients can be very harmful to them.

Look up Cheap Meals

I make the cheapest meals I can with what I have in the house as long as I know that they will taste nice. But what I make you might not like, so Google cheap meals to find some inspiration.

Freeze Food

The freezer is not just there for leftovers, but for anything that you're not ready to eat yet but don't want to throw away. Freeze bread in bags of a few slices, that way you don't have to defrost a whole loaf and won't waste any. You can freeze milk, cheese, fruit and even cakes and pastries if you are not ready to eat them just yet.

Home Delivery

The grocery shop can be a nightmare for those of us who are impulse buyers, but doing your big shop online can really reduce the temptation to make impulse purchases.

You can Easily Save Money on Food

You don't need to spend a fortune to have a delicious meal, you just need to be a little bit smart and put some effort into preparing and cooking it.

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