As the cost of living crisis drags on, many Britons are struggling to cover their food bills. We compile some simple ways to save money on food shopping, including website discounts, savy savings and cutting corners. You could save up to 70% on your usual food shopping bill.
Food banks and food aid charities handed out more than 20 million meals last year, a report from Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and The Trussell Trust says. Cash-strapped shoppers are now buying less food, with the volume of sales down 1.5% over the year to July, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Until wages start growing again, the problem will only get worse.
Britain's shopping habbits
Britons are already changing their shopping habits. Many of us are switching to own-brand labels or cheaper alternatives to the luxury brands, the ONS says. We are also switching away from Tesco and Morrisons to discounters Aldi and Lidl, and abandoning the big weekly shop to buy food when we need it, in a bid to eke out the pennies and prevent food waste.
How to save money food shopping
If you still do a weekly shop, you can save money by drawing up a meal plan and only buying items you expect to need in the next week. If you have internet access, try visiting website mysupermarket.co.uk. This allows you to compare prices at Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Ocado, Morrisons, Aldi and others, to help you work out which is cheapest for your shopping basket. It also alerts you to 'savvy buys', cashback deals and top latest offers.
Fixtureferrets.co.uk will send you regular emails highlighting hundreds of special food and drinks promotions at Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, the Co-op and Morrisons. It costs £5.20 for a year’s subscription, but claims it can save you up to £120 a year.
When doing your shopping, don't fall for sneaky supermarket tricks, such as putting the most expensive goods at eye level, placing impulse buys such as sweets and magazines by the till, and labelling full-price goods as if they were in a sale.
If you collect coupons, make sure you use them. And approach buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) deals with caution, all too often you will end up buying something you don't need and will end up throwing away.
Best before vs Use by
Remember the difference between a 'best before' date, which means the food is still safe to eat, and a 'use by' date, when it probably isn't, especially if it's fish, meat and shellfish.
Bulk and Beyond
Another website, approvedfood.co.uk, which sells bulk buy food close to or beyond its sell-by date with home delivery, claims it can save up to 70% on your shopping.
Finally, don’t waste those leftovers. Instead of throwing tired vegetables away, stir fry them or whizz them up into a soup. Website Supercook.com lets you key in the food items you have in your fridge and pantry, then suggests recipes to combine them.
Website moneysavingexpert.com also has plenty of tips for saving money on your food bills.
Food eats money, but you can bite back.
Find apps to keep you saving money, click here.
Read more articles by Harvey Jones here