How to save money on food

If you save just £1 a day on shopping, that is £365 a year, but with a few frugal tips it is possible to work up to saving up to 20% off grocery bills.



1. Use what you've got – Don't rush out to the shops if you are running low. The odds are you could stretch your weekly shop to at least ten days and, with a bit of practice and a top up of essentials, to a fortnight. If you are stuck for ideas of what to do with a random selection of goods, type a list of them into one of the many recipe finder websites or have a browse of our own food and drink channel and start creating.

2. Shop smart – Only buy produce in season. It is cheaper and tastes better. Better still, grow your own or, if that is not possible, seek out produce stands and farmers markets which will sell fruit and veg at lot less than supermarkets.

3. Bulk buy fresh – Most people have got to grips with the idea of buying dry or long lasting goods such as toilet paper, or toothpaste when they are on offer, but why not apply the philosophy to discounts on fresh items such as seasonal fruit? Bag a bargain batch of fresh strawberries or raspberries and make some jam. It is much healthier than shop bought stuff and tastes better too.

4. Compare costs – Don't assume that bulk buying or own brand is always cheapest. Keep your wits about you and check supermarket shelf tags to compare prices by weight.

5. Store food correctly – Put celery, carrots and even lettuce in foil before putting them in the fridge. It keeps them fresh and crisp for much longer. Regularly check all 'use by' dates and move older items to the front of the cupboard or fridge. Don’t over clutter fridges, freezers and cupboards – it is too easy to miss items that will then go out of date.

6. Grow your own herbs – It's not difficult to grow herbs like basil, thyme and sage indoors, even in a tiny room. Considering supermarkets charge up to 2 a packet, it makes a satisfying saving and a pretty addition to the kitchen too.

7. Buy a breadmaker — Most loaves cost well over £1; indeed some nudge £2. A 1.5kg bag of good bread flour, which makes around four loaves, costs as little as 70p. Once the initial outlay for the breadmaker has been repaid, the savings are obvious. Plus, you will have great tasting bread too.

8. Freeze leftovers – Don't throw away leftovers. Use small containers for excess meat and vegetables, freeze them and then use later to make soups, stews and stir-fries.

9. Save energy – Turn off the heat on stovetop dishes a minute or two before a dish is done, they will continue to cook simply by using the residual heat on the burner (particularly if it is electric).

10. Put a lid on it - Don't forget to put the lids on pots and pans to conserve heat and never, ever let gas flames lick up the side of the pan. It might look pretty, but it is just burning money.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.