Your 1-10 on food budgeting


1. Don’t use convenience stores

A study carried out by ‘Which?’ found that the same products in convenience shops, as opposed to larger supermarkets, were up to 30% more expensive. On average a shopping basket of items costs around 10% more. So, avoid Sainsbury Local, Tesco express, coop etc for anything other than an emergency top-up to save hundreds on your yearly food shop.


2. Use a list and stick to it

Before you go to the shop write a list of exactly what you need. Check what you have in your fridge and cupboards to make sure you know exactly what you already have. You can use a pen and paper or your note-taking app on your phone. When at the shop, do not get tempted to pick up other items that aren’t on the list.


3. Have a meal plan

Similar to writing a list, you should think about what exactly you need for say 3-4 evening meals worth of food, lunches and breakfasts. Don’t just wander around the store buying what looks nice. This will reduce any waste and mean you only buy what you are actually going to eat.


4. Use the Trolley app

This is a very clever app that when you scan the barcode of a product will tell you how much the product costs in other supermarkets. It's really handy when buying branded products and you aren’t sure if you are getting a good price. You can also look up products before you go shopping to see which supermarket is the cheapest for the items on your list.


5. Don’t shop hungry

If you shop hungry you are more likely to buy snacks and excess food you don’t actually need, simply because you are hungry. So, make sure you have a full stomach next time you go.


6. Better value meat

Meat is expensive, but you can find some great savings if you are willing to cook meat on the bone or othe less popular cuts. For example, a 600g pack of chicken breast will cost around £5 whereas a 1kg pack of chicken legs costs just £2.09 - £2.50. The bone makes up around 270g of the 1kg pack, so for half the price you get 20% more meat. Not to mention the extra flavour that comes with meat on the bone and crispy chicken skin!


7. Go frozen

A lot of ‘fresh’ food carries a premium merely because it has a short shelf life, supermarkets charge more to cover any cost of inevitable wastage. Frozen items are often the same quality as ‘fresh’ but simply cheaper due to having a longer shelf life. Frozen food also needs fewer preservatives that often find their way into ‘fresh’ ready meals, for example. Some great frozen options are prawns; which in Sainsbury’s are around £1 cheaper for the same amount of prawns. Spinach is another good one, in Tescos, you can get a 250g bag of spinach for £1, that’ll last you 3 days, or you can get a 900g bag of frozen spinach for £1.60 that’ll last a month. So, more than 3 times the spinach for just 60p more. The next time you cook curry, try stirring it in straight from the freezer.


8. Pick your store carefully

Supermarkets from cheapest to most expensive: 1.Aldi 2.Lidl 3.Sainsbury’s 4.Tesco 5.Asda 6.Morrisons 7.Waitrose. By simply changing your regular shop you can save £100’s.


9. Avoid brands

Industry insiders have reported that many supermarket's own-brand products in fact come from the same factories and production lines as the big brands, the only difference is the packaging. So, It’s worth giving the supermarket's own brands a try to see if you can save money. For example, in Asda, you can buy Kellogs Bran Flakes (750g) for £2.50, or you can get Asda’s own brand Bran Flakes (1kg) for just £1.25. That’s half the price for 25% more bran flakes.


10. Buy in bulk

If you know you will be consuming a lot of a particular item and it isn’t at risk of perishing before being used, buying in bulk can save you money. For example, you can buy 500g of pasta at Tesco for 95p or 3kg of the same pasta for £4. Going for the bulk buy will save you £1.70 as opposed to buying the smaller pack 6 times to get the equivalent amount of pasta. Loo roll is another good one. In Aldi buying six 4-packs of loo roll will cost £10.74 (£1.79 each) or a single 24-pack will cost you just £6.99, a hefty saving of £3.75 for the same amount of loo roll.