personal finance

How to food shop on a budget: Savers share their best tips and ideas


Money can often prove tight, particularly during the coronavirus lockdown, with job cuts and furlough affecting many workers across the country. As a result, families are often searching for ways they will be able to cut back on the big expenses, and keep some money in their pockets. Efficient shopping can often be a key solution for cash-strapped Britons, and it is clear changes needn’t be significant.

And savers were only too happy to lay out the options they had chosen. 

One creative saver wrote: “Try ‘buy nothing’ weeks. Doing this has really pushed me to get creative with what we already have in the house, and to use up forgotten items.

“Our last buy nothing two week period resulted in lentil-vegetable meatloaves, walnut oatmeal and banana pancakes, egg white salsa goat cheese frittatas, and homemade oatmeal bread.

“The principle alone is fun to work with on your own terms.”

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“And minimise your meat consumption. Beans, eggs and dairy are all good sources of protein, and you could even look into tofu, seitan, tempeh or other minimally processed vegan options as they tend to be cheap too. 

“Consider replacing half the meat in recipes with beans or vegetables. You’ll reduce the cost of the meal and boost nutrition.

“Don’t drink juices, alcohol, soda, or other remade drinks. Most of these are complete rubbish nutritionally anyway, bad for your teeth, and they’re expensive.”

And a final saver said it wasn’t just enough to purchase marked down items hoping for a saving. Instead, they advised shoppers to take their saving a step further.

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They wrote: “Learn what markdowns work. For example, I never buy full price yoghurt, because if it’s properly sealed and kept chilled, it will almost never go off. I buy meat at around 50 percent off, and throw it straight in the freezer when I get home. 

“Learn how to cook by smell, taste and feel, and buy a slow cooker. Soups, stews, rice, roasts, desserts, baking and even bread can all be done in a slow cooker – and they’re much cheaper to run than an oven or electric cooktop too.”

According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics, the average UK household spends £3,224 on groceries each year.

This is rivalled by the £1,581 the average household spends annually on restaurants and takeaways. 



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