Top tips to save money on food🌽

Explore practical strategies and savvy shopping techniques in our latest blog post. Dedicated to helping you save big on your food budget. Discover how to put more money back in your pocket.

Person with a full shopping basket
As a famous supermarket once said, every little helps. 🛍️ Making small adjustments to your food buying behaviour can build up to chunky savings over the course of a year. 💰


As I write this in 2023, it feels like I need to remortgage my house every time I go to buy food. Even the traditional budget stores like Aldi and Lidl are feeling like a heavier burden on my wallet. The cost of food has skyrocketed in the last 18 months. Even buying essentials like eggs or ketchup has us stopped in our tracks, eyes wide at the sheer audacity of the prices.

Alas, these are the times we live in. It's more important than ever to get a handle on your food buying strategies to reduce cost/waste and maximise the efficiency of your shopping. I have put together a list of top tips and strategies that can really make a big impact on that food bill.

Pick your supermarket carefully 🛍️

It might seem obvious but picking your supermarket can have a profound impact on your wallet. I used to love shopping in M & S and Waitrose back in the good old days, but recently I have found myself shopping in Aldi and Lidl. The difference in prices I found were around 30% which is a significant weekly saving.

Also you can mix and match supermarkets. Perhaps you buy food cupboard and meat in Aldi but you prefer the veg in Sainsburys. It can also be beneficial to keep an eye on food prices between shops via a quick online search before you plan your attack. Don't discount independent butchers and green grocers either, as you can support local businesses and get good bang for your buck.

Bottom Line, picking a budget supermarket will be wallet friendly.

"It is more important than ever to get a handle on your food buying strategies to reduce cost and waste and maximise the efficiency of your shopping"

Make a List 📝

Nothing increases the cost of your weekly shop more than going out and shooting from the hip when it comes to what goes into your basket. Walking aimlessly, without truly knowing what you NEED rather than what you WANT is a dangerous game. This 10x when you are hungry. All of a sudden those middle aisle offers seem so enticing. That is until it has sat in your cupboard for 18 months gathering dust before ending up in the bin because it has went out of date.

Firstly, make a meal plan for the week. Detail what you will have for breakfast, lunch and dinner and below each recipe write out the ingredients you require. Next, go through the fridge, freezer and store cupboard and check dates on your items and what is missing when you cross match your upcoming recipes.

Finally compile your list and you now know exactly what you need for the week. This will impact how you shop dramatically.

Simpsons gif of Homer at the supermarket complaining about shopping lists

Beware multi-buys 🏷️

These offers come in multiple formats including "buy one get one free" and "three for two". Their sole purpose is to get you to buy more stuff for a modest saving when compared to buying individually. It can feel like you are shopping smart, but are you really?

Let's take an example, the bacon has a "buy two for £6" offer compared to the usual price of £3.25 per pack. In theory opting for this deal means you save 50p. This is only true if you know for sure you will go through two packs of bacon prior to the expiry dates. If you waste that second pack, you haven't saved 50p. You have wasted £2.75.

Be honest with yourself, and don't go for these deals unless it matches what is on your list.

"Nothing increases the cost of your weekly shop more than going out and shooting from the hip when it comes to what goes into your basket."

Ditch the big brands 💸

I am a massive ketchup eater and have it with most meals so it is an essential in my household. Until 2023, I was a super loyal and devoted Heinz Ketchup eater. Nothing could entice me to buy own brand of my favourite condiment. That was until the price shot up to £3.99 a bottle vs £0.89 on the own brand. Safe to say I made the switch. Now more than ever you need to consider switching all your essentials, such as cereal, condiments and drinks over to own brand. The reality is you will hardly notice the difference and you will save a chunk of money in the process.

Funny gif of a plumber indicating it could cost a little or a lot

Choose cheaper cuts of meat 🥩

This is one for the meat eaters out there. The days of prime fillet of beef are over. It's time to educate yourself on the cheaper cuts of meat as the savings can be huge. Instead of buying chicken fillets, go for bone in thighs and drumsticks. Choose rump for your steaks and lesser known fish fillets such as Basa. A quick Google will show cheaper alternatives to your usual cuts of meat.

"Now more than ever you need to consider switching all your essentials, such as cereal, condiments and drinks over to own brand"

Freeze your leftovers 🥶

Seems obvious but don't throw those leftovers away. Divid them up into portions and put them into either an air tight container or freezer bag. Your future self will thank you when you are two steps away from ordering a takeaway because you can't be bothered cooking. 10 minutes later you have a delicious meal without any effort!

This reduces waste, and reducing waste automatically means savings on food costs.

Avoid impulse purchasing at the middle aisle or till 😵‍💫

DO NOT get driven towards buying middle aisle or checkout tat. Your magpie brain is looking and seeing shiny things that you almost definitely do not need. Unless it is on the list from above, then you shouldn't be picking this stuff up no matter how cheap it might appear.

Special care needs to be taken in Lidl and Aldi. I myself have came away with a set of spanners when I only wanted a pint of milk.

Gif of a person who went to Lidl to buy milk but left with random stuff like a power drill

Check the reduced food section 🟨

Every supermarket has this section, with big yellow stickers on them. Buy from here and freeze it because generally it is going out of date either the same day or the day after. Bargains are to be had if you go in at the right time and know roughly what you are looking for. Beware, others know about this section and probably time when it will be filled with new stuff. It can feel like night of the living dead shuffling to get those deals.

Reduce takeaways 🍕

We all love a takeaway but you need to cut it down if you want to save money on food. I myself was unaware of my spending on takeaways until I did the Rule checker that showed me my last years worth of spend. It was a whopping £1,500. Safe to say I ordered less after that. I set myself a clear Rule of only one takeaway per week on a Friday up to a maximum value of £25 and it had a huge impact on my monthly spending.

If you want to discover your annual takeaway spend, you can use Rule Money's tool here.