Ten Easy Ways to Reduce Your Grocery Spend
The average UK spend is around £58 per week. That’s £2900 per year. For most families though this cost is much higher. Here are Ten Easy Ways to Reduce Your Grocery Spend.
The Office for National Statistics report showed that expenditure on food and non-alcoholic drinks saw highly significant increases during 2016-2017, along with transport, communication, restaurants and hotels.
Annual Grocery Spend
If you add up how much you spend throughout the year, buying the weekly shop these days can cost as much as a luxury holiday. My weekly shop last year was around £100 per week and that was for a family of four. This includes two teenagers but they eat more than I do. At £100 per week we are spending around £5000 per year. I have only included 50 weeks in my calculations as we are usually on holiday for at least two weeks and the holiday food comes from a separate budget.
Rise of Food Prices
There has been a noticeable rise in the price of food. My parents, who are retired, spend a lot of time shopping around for the best deals and jokingly refer to themselves as ‘professional food shoppers’. They often notice the jump in price of products they buy regularly even within the course of a week.
Reducing My Grocery Spend
I really want to reduce my grocery spend this year. Even just a reduction of £10 per week will put £500 in my pocket (well, bank account). Just imagine what you could use this money for. You could pay for Christmas, a holiday, or even pay for your car tax or insurance in advance.
I am aiming to save £10 per week as I want to keep it realistic and have created a simple spreadsheet to record my spending which you can check out here .
Ten Easy Ways to Reduce Your Grocery Spend
I am sharing Ten Easy Ways to Reduce Your Grocery Spend. These are all things that I am doing myself.
Meal Planning is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways of cutting your grocery bill. It can be a little daunting if you don’t know where to start, but basically it is just making a list of the meals that you plan to eat/make for the following week. Some people meal plan for the month. I like to meal plan week by week.
Once you have your meal plan, write a list of what you need to buy. Take it to the supermarket with you and stick to it.
To save the most money whilst meal planning it helps to incorporate foods you already have at home, particularly those that have a use by date.
To get you started with meal planning, you can download a free meal planner here:
Shop From Home
Shopping from home ensures that you making the most of any ingredients you already have in your fridge, freezer or cupboards. If you check what you have in stock, you will not waste money buying duplicate ingredients.
It can also help you with ideas for meal. For example, if you were planning to make Spaghetti Bolognese but you only have rice in the cupboard, with just a change to the spices you use you could make Chilli instead to have with the rice.
The key to being able to shop from home is to make sure you keep your staples stocked up. This would include rice, pasta, herbs, spices etc.
Batch cooking can save you money in multiple ways. Not only can you take advantage of multi buys, if you batch cook you will also use less fuel and ensure that you use up your purchases.
My favourite appliance for ease of batch cooking is the slow cooker. I cook enough Bolognese to last us for four weeks, using one portion on the day I cook it and storing the rest in the freezer.
Batch cooking is also a brilliant time saver.
We swapped to using cash over a year ago and it really makes you realise how much you spending. Actually handing over your hard earned cash to a cashier is so much more ‘real’ than paying by card.
If you withdraw the exact amount you have budgeted for, you will make sure you don’t overspend. Go armed with your phone so you can use the calculator or use my favourite method, Scan and Go, as this adds your shopping up as you scan it.
Food waste is one of the most un-necessary ways you can find yourself wasting your grocery money. To reduce or eliminate food waste you need to incorporate many of the tips above. Meal planning, shopping from your cupboards and batch cooking will all help you.
Don’t Shop When Hungry
It’s a well known fact that if you go shopping when you are hungry you will be far more tempted to buy things that aren’t on your list. Make sure you have a full tummy and stick to that list!
Avoid Top Up Shops
It is difficult to avoid top up shops if you haven’t got the space to store all the food you need for the week. Our main issue is bread. Between the four of us we eat 3 or 4 loaves of bread per week. We only have a small freezer so cannot fit this much bread in it along with other foods, so inevitably we have to pick bread up in the week.
My secret is to get my husband to pick it up on his way home from work. He is never tempted by all the goodies as he can’t be bothered to look around the shop late at night. However, if he ever goes at the weekend he comes back with all sorts.
Keep a Spending Diary
A spending diary is a brilliant insight into where you are actually spending your money. Write down every single thing you buy and how much it cost. At the end of each week, you can look back and add it up to see where your money was spent.
Was it that top up shop where you bought things you hadn’t planned to buy. Was it that you missed something off the meal plan and list. You will find out exactly where your ‘hotspots’ are and you can try to plan to avoid these.
You can easily get started by downloading my free Spending Diary sheet.
Explore Frozen Food
Over the last 6 months I have begun to use frozen foods so much more and I absolutely love the convenience. We have very little food waste and I attribute this to frozen foods.
The range of foods you can get just gets better and better. Did you know you can even get frozen beetroot? I love beetroot (not the type in jars) and used to buy those shrink wrapped packs from the Supermarket. As I’m the only one who eats it and it doesn’t go with every meal we have, I would often end up throwing half the pack away, so I stopped buying it. Now I have just discovered frozen beetroot I am definitely going to give it a try. I literally spotted it today, as I was researching another post.
Benefits of frozen foods:
- Stays fresh – no spoiled food
- Use what you need – no food waste
- Saves time – vegetables are ready prepared so no peeling or chopping required
- Great for batch cooking, especially in the slow cooker – just pop in and cook
We have found that shopping around can save loads but it has the disadvantage of being inconvenient. We are quite lucky that we have Aldi, Iceland and Poundland within walking distance of each other and we use these shops the most.
Any foods we cannot get from there we get from Tesco which is on the way back home. Week on week using four shops has definitely saved us money opposed to just shopping at Tesco.
If you have the time, you can also use My Supermarket to check the prices of the items you plan to buy and really find out who has the best deals at the time.
If you really want to save money on your shopping download your FREE Meal Planner to get started. Add in a FREE Spending Diary sheet and you will have all your spending under control.
Remember to pop back and let me know in the comments, or over on any of my social media channels, how you are getting on or if there is anything else you would like me to feature on the blog.