Grocery shopping on a budget, this is really an area you can save yourself hundreds of pounds on over the course of the year. Lots of people have asked me how I keep my food expenses so low. Easy, I don’t eat out often, and all the food I eat is home cooked. Last month, my food bill, for 2 people was £60, thats about £40 for me, and £20 for my girlfriend.
You are probably thinking you people must only eat noodles! Well, no actually, I eat as healthy as I can, last night I had pasta with meat in some kind of sauce, the night before, chicken korma.
We spend money here and there on things like milk if we run out, which is usually no more than £5/£10 a month, totalling at £65/£70. Still, not bad for a months worth of eating. This is all included in my budget, and I always keep within it.
Check out my other posts on budgeting.
Grocery Shopping on a Budget
So, how can you keep your food expenses low? Well, there are a number of way to do Grocery Shopping on a Budget, I will outline them below.
Stop buying branded items
A great tip when grocery shopping on a budget is to stop buying branded items. There are a few things I still buy, that are branded, like Heinz baked beans, as I don’t like other beans. Maybe I am imagining this, but sure. I used to buy branded chocolate biscuits, which where about £1.80 a pack, now, I buy Tesco’s own brand chocolate biscuits, and honestly, I like them better, plus, they are only £0.44! That’s a saving of over £1 per packet! £1 may not sound too much, but buying Tesco’s own brand literally cut my food bill in half, so I’m pleased.
Keep left over food/Cook in bulk
When grocery shopping on a budget, keeping left over food is a great way to help save some money throughout the month. Usually, we will cook up a big batch of food, for example chicken korma, take some of it for dinner, then store the rest in food storage containers, and my girlfriend usually takes these to work for her lunch, or I eat it the next day for my lunch.
This is a great way to still eat good food for lunch at work, and also a good way to cut back on food wastage, and save some money in the process. It also helps cut costs on electric as the cooker/oven isn’t being used as much if food is cooked up in larger quantities.
If I find I don’t eat all my dinner, and there is enough for a munch before bed, I will store it, and eat it later that night, as I usually get hungry before bed, so this saves me making something else, and also saves me money, as I don’t use more food.
There are a few different food storage options we use, some good, others, we have found to be not so good.
Find the items on sale/deal items
Usually when shopping, my girlfriend looks for items on sale, or that have a deal going. This is a great way to save some money over the space of a month, for example, she knows I like baked beans, and as I said before, I only eat Heinz, so, anytime Heinz baked beans are on offer, or have a multipack deal, she will usually buy them.
If you see something on sale, but already have plenty of it at home, buy it anyway, you are getting it at a better price, and as long as it will keep long enough, then it is worth storing away for when you need it.
Grocery shopping on a budget for expensive things like washing powder, batteries and other generally, more expensive items can be a little harder work, and it pays to shop around for these items. We have found that pound shops, or other cheapskate shops, as I call them, do items like washing power, polish, air freshers and what not, far cheaper than shops like Tesco.
As for batteries, I now use rechargeable batteries, this has saved me a fortune, as I was replacing the batteries on my bluetooth keyboard once a month, at least. I still use normal batteries in TV remotes, clocks, and other low drain items.
I use Duracell Ultra AA batteries for my keyboard, and they last nearly the full month without a recharge.
I use the AAA batteries on my torches, and so far, they are great, they last ages, and recharge right and fast.
This is the charger I use, it is great, can charge 4 batteries at once, and has auto charge cut off… my last charger didn’t, and I was using a cheap battery, and the whole thing exploded one night when I was in bed, I nearly shit myself…
Don’t buy pre packed/ready meals
You end up paying loads more if you buy pre-packed food vs a DIY meal. Yes, pre-packed food is great if you are in a rush, and I do keep a few pre-packed meals in my freezer, though these may sit there for a few months before I actually eat them.
When I say pre-packed, I also mean items like bananas, apples and other items that you can buy loose. It is nearly always cheaper to pick your own fruit and veg, and bag it yourself, plus, you can choose all the best ones in the pile 😀
Another example is ham, I have found that you can buy ham from a deli counter for around £6/kg cheaper, compared to buying it in those little packets found down the isles. When grocery shopping on a budget, every little bit of saving really does help in the long run.
Keep an eye on how much you are spending as you shop
This is a great way to make sure you stick within your budget. Tesco have those hand-held things that you scan your items with, and it shows the total of your current trolley load. My girlfriend always uses this thing, and it also rewards her with points which can be put against another shop when she get enough built up.
Write a shopping list
We do our shopping every other week, so during the course of the two weeks, as items run out, we make a note of them, and then when the times comes to do the shopping, we know near enough everything that we need to buy. Having a list, and sticking to it, means you can potentially save yourself some money too, as long as you don’t get swayed by those flashy special offer signs (unless of course you need the item).
Plan your meals for the week, or 2 weeks, then list the items you need to prepare those meals, and buy only that, and whats on your list already.
Glass over squeezy bottles
Buying items in glass bottles, such as ketchup, is usually cheaper, though those squeezy bottles may look cool, they also cost you more of your hard earned money.
Don’t just throw out food when it reaches it’s use by date
Instead of throwing this food away, cook it up, and freeze it, then you can use it at a later date, instead of wasting it, and your money. There are some foods that are just fine after their use by date too, I would keep Chocolate and some other things, just smell it first.
I buy the cheapest toilet roll I can get, would you wipe your arse with £5 notes? I think not, therefore, why spend loads on nice soft TP when you can get stuff that does the same job, for half the price. After all, you are throwing it down the toilet anyway. It’s like throwing money down the toilet!
Anyway, hopefully this list will give you some ideas as to how you can do your Grocery Shopping on a Budget, and save some money in the process.