How to spend less on food

With the price of food sky rocketing and many of us facing financial dire straits, spending less on food (with wise choices) is an important way to keep our heads above water. Here are my top tips for spending less money on food.

How to spend less money on food

1. Check your stocks
Know what you have stored in your cupboards, fridge and freezer and make an excel spreadsheet a note of it, then make use of it. There’s no point having a well stocked cupboard full of pasta and tinned soup if you’re never going to eat it.
2. Never shop hungry
This is such a cliche but it is worth mentioning because I know a lot of people fall down with this one. You have to have some serious willpower to enter a cathedral of food supermarket with a growling stomach and come out without at least two unnecessary items added to your basket. Even if it means eating an apple before you leave, make sure you don’t do battle with your food shop when hungry.
3. Meal plan
Planning out our meals works really well for us here at Thrifty Towers and it saves us a good amount of cash. We usually plan out meals for 5-6 evenings a week and are able to change them about fairly easily with basics like spag bol can easily changing to lasagna or similar. However if things are really tough that month we plan out every single meal and try our hardest to stick to it. It can feel a bit hard going but it certainly saves money.
4. Write a list and stick to it
Again a basic tip but one well worth remembering. Never enter a shop without a list in hand and don’t add a single extra thing to your basket unless y’know you spot fillet of beef marked down to £1.
5. Don’t browse
Window shopping for food? Really? This sounds like torture to me. If you’re struggling don’t torture yourself further. Get in, get what you need and get out. If you can’t afford to buy crisps, don’t torture yourself with that aisle in the supermarket.
6. Try a new supermarket
Drop down a rung on the supermarket ladder or even try a budget supermarket. Aldi and Lidl are definitely our favourites for weekly shops, we tend only to shop in the ‘big four’ once a month for things we can’t track down in the smaller shops.
7. Skip the branding
Move on from branded food and start eating no name or supermarket versions. I prefer some products in the value ranges to the higher priced branded foods. Maybe I should do a post about that at some point?
8. Grow your own
Even with very little space you can grow some of your food in pots. At one point we lived in a flat with no outside space and grew tomatoes and courgettes in pots next to the sunniest window. We spent about £5 on pots from pound shops, £2 on seeds etc., £2 on soil and about 50p on canes and string from which we gleaned about £40 worth of food and have gone on to use the pots and canes year after year. We now help out on our friend’s allotment and in return we take home fruit, vegetables and eggs each week.
9. Forage
This might seem a little outdated but honestly we forage a decent amount of food throughout the year. It’s imperative you know what you’re picking so you’ll need to do a little research, I highly recommend  Alys Fowler’s The Thrifty Forager and Food for Free for swotting up.
10. Make your own bread
Even what we here at Thrifty Towers call ‘plastic bread’ can be incredibly expensive at the moment so I highly recommend baking your own bread. You don’t need a fancy bread machine (although I often see them on Freecycle, so well worth a look if you’re low on time) just your two hands and a few basic ingredients. We make a loaf on a Saturday morning along with a batch of rolls we can freeze individually and take out one at a time for sandwiches so they’re not wasted.
If you do buy discounted bread in the supermarkets make sure to slice before freezing so you can take it out a slice at a time for sandwiches or toasting.
11. Make meals
Don’t buy meals, buy ingredients and make meals. I know if you’re in a cycle of not doing this it can seem a big waste of time but the amount of money you save will be huge. Learn to make basic meals and soups then slowly stretch your imagination. If we’re going to be stretched for time during the week we’ll have a big roast on a Sunday and use the leftovers to make quick meals like stir fry and curry during the week. We also make up a basic beef strew and freeze in batches of two portions, so we can pull it out and turn it into something interesting in under 20 minutes.
12. Buy spices
Don’t buy those packet mixes sure they seem cheap and easy but in the long run they’re not. Invest in one spice per week and gradually you’ll have a nice collection of spices which you can use to create dish after dish of exotic and interesting tastes on the lowest of budgets. Maybe I should do a post on our favourite and most useful spices too?
13. Beans and lentils are your friends
Not only do they bulk out a meal but they’re delicious. A favourite of ours is lamb neck curry with puy lentils and chickpeas. Lamb neck is a super cheap cut of meat but we stretch it further by using one person’s serving of meat between two and adding extra chick peas. The flavour is still there and it is plenty filling. It also works great the next day in a pitta for lunch. (I’ve since blogged the recipe for this lamb and lentil curry)
14. Shop local
Sometimes the supermarkets might seem the best option (and sometimes they are due to the hours we work etc.) but it is well worth trying your local markets, greengrocers and butchers. The prices might seem a bit steep sometimes but often you’re getting a larger amount of food for the price and you’ll find the fruit and veg doesn’t go out of date nearly as quickly as it does from some supermarkets. When we take the time to shop at a market once a week we can easily shave £5-7 off our already fairly lean weekly shopping bill.
15. Keep your receipts
Keep every single receipt for everything you buy during the month and work out exactly how much you’re spending. This will hopefully make you realise that when you nip to the shop for milk you’re also buying a packet of crisps and some bacon without really realising. Make sure you know where every penny is really going.
16. Always have something sweet in the house
This might sound an odd one if you’re struggling to make ends meet but I’ve often discovered that completely cutting back on anything nice can weaken you to a point of no return. We try to always have our cake tin stocked even if it is just with rock cakes or simple cookies. They usually cost no more than 50p to make and save us crumbling and dashing to the nearest shop to buy a piece of crap cupcake covered in so much icing it doesn’t really resemble a cake anymore.
17. Know the difference between need and want
When the financial doodah hits the fan it comes down to need and want and yeah it sucks and it isn’t going to be pretty for a while but realising you don’t need meat with every meal can end up saving you a good amount of money. I often hear women talking about this topic and saying their husband can’t eat a meal without meat (or those expensive meat-free but look and taste like meat thingies) in it. I understand that it can be a hard transition but when you’re in that tight a bind it’s a serious conversation you need to have. If cutting meat from 3 meals a week means you can have lunch this week then it isn’t a conversation you can afford to avoid.
18. Keep a spreadsheet
Sure I’m crazy when it comes to a bit of Excel but having a running total for each month and being able to compare previous months is really helpful. I wouldn’t be without our speadsheet now. We keep our spreadsheet on so we can both access it from anywhere when we’re not at home. It makes it easier to update and check which ingredients we need to prep or pick up. Life is so much easier this way.
19. Don’t waste anything
We throw out a lot of food in this country which I really struggle to get my head around, especially with ever increasing food prices. Keep an eye on everything in your house, if you really struggle – make a note of anything that will go off (going off an going out of date are very different in my mind) in the next 3 days and keep it on your fridge door. If you can’t use it up pop it in the freezer. If it can’t be frozen in its current state then cook it so it can be frozen/canned/pickled or otherwise used rather than wasted.
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P.S. Please share your tips below because they may help someone.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Please could you share your lamb neck curry recipe?! Great post.

  2. Great post – food seems to be getting more and more expensive! My top tip is an extension of no. 12 – buy spices in the world foods section in the supermarket, or at your corner shop. You’ll find bigger bags for half the price of the teeny-tiny jars in the supermarket spices section.

  3. I started meal planning a year ago and haven’t looked back since. I always have the basics in (ie) pasta / rice and have a few fall back recipes that can create from my larder if I just don’t fancy what is on the planner (I always fancy a curry and I have a fab egg biryani recipe)

    Great tips I will definitely use in the future.

  4. Love these tips, and please do the posts you mentioned, especially the spices! I do have loads but its taken me ages to figure out what goes well together, what to use for what dish etc, etc, so it’d be nice to get another point of view. Also, would love your bread recipe, I’d love to make my own! Dan is obsessed with super thick ‘plastic bread’ as you call it and its just gross. How much dye is pumped into that stuff?! Yuck!

  5. Another tip I would say is if you shop at tesco, write your meal plan and shopping list alongside looking at your clubcard coupons.That way you make sure you really are getting the most for your money.Last week our vouchers were so good and I correlated our list around them which meant our shop was half the price it normally is! xx

  6. A tip for the spices also is search the internet there is probably a recipe for your favorite packet mix. Then you also aren’t getting the various chemical extras as well.

    In fact that tip works for most anything. You can usually, with a bit of searching, find a recipe for your favorite treat that you can make at home.

    With the thin blade on our food processor I can make home made ready salted crisps so it’s easy to avoid them in the supermarket.

  7. Good tips. Another spice/growing your own tip: recently I read that you can use ordinary mustard seeds (you can buy big bags from Asian/Turkish/Caribbean shops for the same price as the small supermarket jars) can be used to grow mustard cress. This only needs an old plastic tub, some kitchen roll, water and in 2 weeks you’ll have mustard cress ready to go in sandwiches and salads. Sowing the seeds THICKLY gives the best result.

  8. Thanks for these tips, I spend a fortune on food and waste a lot. I struggle as a single person, often go out last minute for dinner because of work. I try and make a few soups and meals up in bulk and freeze but always seem to fall back on chilli and shepherds pie as I know I’m safe freezing and reheating etc.

    It would really be great to have some tips from you or fellow readers on what meals/foods are great for freezing etc as often I’ll see a recipe but there are no instructions for what stage to freeze at and how to defrost and reheat so I avoid them.


    • I feel your pain! I’m a single pringle during the week, and cooking for just me is somehow way harder than cooking for me and the boyfriend! Food wastage is tricky, and cooking much of interest.
      I’ve found my slow cooker is great, I stick in on at the weekend with a big chili or something, which does dinner for me and the boy, then feeds me a couple of times in the week too. I freeze everything in single portions too.

      I’d love to see some tips for food planning for just you, and on freezer meals.

    • I’m glad it’s not just me! I just wonder the good old micro meals I buy and lazy food… can I make my own healthier versions, like freezing and reheating stir fries etc! I just find if I buy fresh I end up having the same thing for a few days on the run to use up before it goes off etc! And I’m quite lax with sell by dates at that!!

      V x

    • I can imagine it is very hard waste wise. I’m going to try and do some posts later in the summer about freezing and the stages at which is best to do that because I’ve learnt a lot from a friend who takes full advantage of her freezer.

  9. In addition to 4), can I suggest shopping by yourself (if possible)? I’m capable of sticking to a list but other people I know don’t seem to be and there’s nothing worse than having a massive row in the middle of Asda :(

    On the flipside of 6), M&S isn’t always as pricey as you might think. We get a lot of our meat from there (when it’s yellow stickered, obviously) and it’s much better quality than the other supermarkets. There are certain other products that are cheaper there than in Tesco even though you’d assume it would be the other way round. Also, as we mostly buy gluten-free free stuff which can be painfully pricey, their sausages etc are all made with rice flour and often on a multi-buy offer. Much nicer than the overpriced, nasty quality ones that are packaged and marketed in other shops as gluten-free!

    • Alex I feel your pain re: shopping with others! I’d like to do more shopping with my boyfriend (it’s easier to carry all the bags together, for one!) but we ALWAYS spend so much more money when we go together. I stick to the list, buy things when they are on offer, go from one shop to another (they’re very close to each other) and buy tomatoes in one, butter and cheese in the other etc., because I know it will cost less. But when we go together, he always says he doesn’t want to shop in three places and we end up getting everything full price at the supermarket! It’s a hard life 😉

    • Living in central London – and I mean right in the centre – means I usually only have access to ‘Local’ and ‘Express’ supermarkets where everything is so much more than in the giant warehouse-sized stores on the edge of town. Sadly this means that M&S and Waitrose are usually my cheapest option. Thank goodness for online delivery.

      That said, Waitrose are amazingly cheap for paper products. They save my life in winter when I want super soft tissues as they’re always on a brilliant offer.

    • You guys are full of knowledge.
      I can recommend the more expensive range of co-op sausages too (not for gluten free etc. reasons) – they are delicious and we heartily enjoy them and find them to be wonderful value.

  10. Apparently there are certain times of the day/week a supermarket will reduce it’s food, my mum’s partner has managed to work out all of the big four’s where they live, gets bargains galore and freezes them! Bit of an effort but it’s often good cuts of meat at knock down prices.

  11. I use free apps like Love Food Hate Waste and BigOven for recipes to use up leftovers. When I cut down on meat I found other proteins could expensive and not as filling. Now I buy eggs from local farmers/the butcher instead of the supermarket. They are much tastier and you can tell they’re fresher. Lentils are a great way to bulk out recipes, try the BBC recipe for sweet potato, spinach and lentil dahl. Really easy, cheap and delicious. Great to take to work for lunch too.

  12. I think I’d keel over without my spreadsheets and my organiser. Most of these tips I have been following ever since I moved out of my parents’ house, but it baffles me that so many other people don’t. Great tips, thanks a lot!

  13. really great tips! i always make sure to bring a list with me to the store and tell myself to only get what i need.
    Rebecca @ tr[i]b[e]cca

  14. Great post, I do most of what you recommend already! Love excel!!

    The boyfriend has just moved in, and slowly house training him, he came home with yellow sticker items the other night I was so proud!

    I stretch things out, and look for bargains. I bought 1.6kg of lean steak mince off the market last week for £10 at closing time, froze into smaller bags and even then have stretched it out. I used 200g the other night to make four good helpings of chilli by adding grated carrot, onions, passatta to bulk out. You can also use porridge oats and lentils to cheaply bulk out too when times are tight!

  15. Something my family often laugh at is how much food I buy from the foreign foods sections of the supermarkets. They may laugh but while they’re paying 60p a can for chick peas I’m buying 4 cans for £1. Things like spices, tinned tomatos, pulses, rice etc are a lot cheaper in the foreign food isles than on the regular tinned pulses, pasta isles etc, and the offers are always better too. If you’re buying rice or pasta, buy it by the sack full rather than the bag, it saves loads in the long run and you can always split it with housemates so you both save money.
    Love your posts. xx

    • I’m having terrible pasta flashbacks now. My old flatmate accidentally put on of those giant sacks down on the hob when it was still hot. The plastic stuck, pulled the bottom of the bag off, and to cut a long story short we were finding bits of pasta under the cabinets for WEEKS.

  16. Don’t forget to look at the bottom shelf at supermarkets. The cheapest items are nearly always to be found there. I find this really useful especially for everyday things like pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes etc.

  17. Great post and relevant to just about everyone! We have 2 meat free nights a week, the husband loves quorn fillets when they’re hidden in a heavy sauce and I make one night an Indian veggie feast night with mushroom curry, pakoras made from frozen veg and home made yoghurt dip etc which keeps him distracted. Making your own probiotic yoghurt is a good money saver for breakfasts/dips/pudding/treat for the chooks

  18. Thanks for the tips Thrifty – I never shop on an empty stomach, it’s dangerous!

    I love a voucher for shopping, especially Nectar points. I did watch extreme couponing the other day and this coupon freak woman got $500 worth of shopping for $50. She stockpiled big time. It was a little mental.

    I need to meal plan more, but finding it trickier and trickier now I am on weight watchers and the boy isn’t and he often has to work late meaning different meal times/reheating.

  19. I thought our family were the only ones who called it Plastic Bread!

    Great tips thanks
    Sarah xoxo

  20. Great post! I would love to see a post on your thoughts on budget ranges in supermarkets.
    My tip? My slow cooker is my best friend. Chuck in a load of veg, cover with water, throw in some herbs and six hours later, a very tasty vegetable soup :)
    Best wishes.

    • Yes slow cookers are a winner! I’m at home a lot so I use a heavy bottomed pan on the hob with some cheap cuts of meat bubbling away for hours. Delicious and wonderful for winter.

  21. Brilliant tips! I’d also really like to see the budget brand best of list for various supermarkets cos some are brilliant and some are awful.
    My top tip is to go to a less affluent area for the butchers and greengrocers as they can be so much cheaper!

    Rachel xx

  22. Very helpful tips! Thanks Thrifty :) I shall be sure to start implementing these immediately!

    Imogen – A Rendezvous with you

  23. Great tips! Thank you! :)
    Amy |

  24. The value ranges are often hardly different at all to the usual supermarket ones. The plainer packaging cuts the cost a lot, so quite often you’re buying the same thing, just in a less pretty packet!

  25. i love these posts, i recently wrote about buying meat from the market on but most tips i have learnt from you! i think the recipt on is great & keeping sweet stuff in, because thats were i crack xxx

  26. What can I say, great ideas as ever. Jaffa cake fiends like me should note that tedco everyday value jaffa cake may look a little rougher but on my own personal taste test, they score 9/10 which is good enough for me when they are less than 1/3 the price of the branded ones.

    Also ‘foreign food aisle’ food. Have you seeen the price of Tilda or even own brand basmati rice? OWIE! And have you seen the price of the huge bags of it in the foreign food aisle? If you have the space for 5-10kg of rice and the family will eat basmati, tis the way to go!

    As a disabled person who can’t always get out to shop, I do lists a lot and give them to the OH. I also tie them into our clubcard coupons and take a look on facebook pages such as extreme couponing uk for extra coupons. I also do short surveys online which gets me luncheon vouchers, spendable at many supermarkets and some restaurants (but check before you order in restaurants as many are franchises).

    My list problem is that if the OH is shopping alone, he adds stuff to the basket and messes up the menu planning. So frustrating!

    Thanks for the ideas as ever,


  27. My tips would be to compare prices in the supermarket when buying nuts and dried fruit. The prices can vary depending on what section they are in, like the baking/snacking/wholefood sections. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy 2 smaller items instead of one large item if they have an offer on. Therefore always check the price per kg.

    Also check out Asian supermarkets for cheaper spices, etc. Factory shops are good for stocking up. Online discount suppliers like Approved Foods can have great bargains. Finally, look on sites like Money Saving Expert or Hot UK Deals or in newspapers/magazines for discount coupons. The Mirror often has £5 off coupons for Aldi on the last Thursday of the month.

    Hope my tips are useful to someone!

  28. Great tips! As a student, I love to shop at aldi, think I usually get a weeks worth of food for about £15. I also plan meals too, it really does save a lot of money and the aldi I go to is opposite my student accommodation! Also, I don’t know if people are aware of this (maybe everyone is, or it’s just in Sheffield) but you can get a free tea or coffee in Waitrose by collecting a free card at their desk.. I have a free coffee every morning before uni! It’s great haha!

  29. Fab tips Thrifty!

    We try to be super thrifty with food and I defintitely second all those saying to check out the world food aisles – amazing value on spices / tinned toms / chickpeas /sweet chilli sauce / oyster sauce etc.

    Also agree with trying to ‘downshift’ your brands – we’ve made it a bit of a ‘how low can you go’ challenge, and whereas we’ve discovered that it really is worth spending a little more on mayo, Tesco’s 25p value slaw is just as good as their ordinary coleslaw and has less fat/calories to boot (even than their lighter choices range! Always worth checking the nutritional information!)

  30. Theses are great ideas and I actually do quite a few of them myself. I do need to employ some kind of cake/treats tin though as I’m always tempted to go to the shops and buy something sweet and when I’m hungry or craving it I’m far more likely to spend more than if I had planned to stock up. We also always decide our meals for the week and do one big shop buying only the things we need. It means that we throw less food out and don’t over spend on junk.

    I really love these posts!

  31. Your post is absolutely useful and already one of my favourites! I am looking forward to moving in with my hubby to be next October, so that I will be a thrifty mrs! I am already on the thrifty wagon, but when having to shop for my family storage it’s not always easy to be as thrifty as I would like to be because my parents and sister mostly are for brand food and products and they are not really cheap!

  32. Your post is absolutely useful and already one of my favourites! I am looking forward to moving in with my hubby to be next October, so that I will be a thrifty mrs! I am already on the thrifty wagon, but when having to shop for my family storage it’s not always easy to be as thrifty as I would like to be because my parents and sister mostly are for brand food and products and they are not really cheap!

  33. This looks fab, I know I struggled when we were students to buy food cheaply and use up all our stocks. I’d buy essentials like chopped tomatoes every week, but wasn’t using them every week so we’d get a bit of a stockpile. I mean that’s great if there’s an emergency but not when you have 6 cans and nothing else haha!
    Love your tips, helpful as always.
    Charlotte xxx Something Special To Say

  34. Thanks for these tips, they couldn’t have come at a better time as I’ve been wondering of late how to get our grocery bills down. For two people we seem to spend a lot on food so I’m looking forward to trying some of these out :)

    • We also spend too much on food ..I blame my boyfriend, he just needs too much food! 😀
      He’s really skinny, and eats like a MUTHA!
      Can’t starve him though, so will have to get organized

  35. just what i needed! thank you

  36. This is one of the most helpful blog posts have ever read, thank you so much! I’m trying to live on little money at the moment and keep getting suckered into buying things I just really fancy to eat over what is cheaper. This has really inspired me to get on top of it now. We have mine and my boyfriends anniversary this weekend so I may just spend a little bit on ingredients for that, but after I think meal planning and the whole lot will be need to be worked on. Thankyou again!
    Jasmine xo

  37. Some great tips. Chinese supermarkets are also pretty good for getting cheaper bulk spices and herbs and other long shelf life stuff. It’s especially good for buying Jasmin rice in big bags and it tastes so much better than the supermarket rice and there are so many meals can be made with it and fills you up for longer (meaning no devilish snacking). Chinese supermarkets also have the best pot noodles! not that nutritious on it’s own but very tasty combined with other meat and veg.

  38. This is a great post. I’d love a post about supermarket value ranges as I’m all for them but tend to use them mostly for cupboard essentials (tins, porridge oats).
    Being a vegetarian I have to say this: eat less or no meat and you’ll save loads of money! And stop eating (and drinking coffee!) out, that hurts your wallet more than you realise.
    Also, being such a thrifty person, I’d love to know if you rent or own your place and if you own it, how did you save for a deposit? I’m trying to save for one at the moment and I’d love some tips!

  39. This is beyond helpful. I recently moved to Canada from the U.S., and the price of food is insane here. A gallon of milk is almost $9 versus $3.50 in the States.

    This is so helpful, thank you!

  40. I totally agree with your point about buying a spice per week. I got into the habit of buying a little own brand bottle of spices each week in Asda when I had first got my own place. They were less than one pound each (usually around 60p), they soon built up, and they look so pretty lined up in my cupboard (….ok so I’m a little obsessed with them now!) When cooking, I started off by googling “basic version of (insert name of recipe)”, and progressed gradually to cooking more complex recipes as my store cupboard built up. It sounds obvious, but for anyone who is moving out for the first time I would say: remember that you don’t need every single exotic ingredient that the celebrity chefs suggest!

  41. PS. like Alice, I’m also saving for a house deposit (and a car- eep- thrifty days ahead!!) and would love to hear how you saved for a deposit (or similar big purchase) or any tips you have about renting.

  42. Great tips. A fair few I hadn’t thought of there. Must put these into action as the bf and I are terrible at wasting food and need to save money. Thanks! :) x

  43. Anonymous says:

    Try flipping your supermarkets if you have a choice. I often stop using tesco/sainsbury and then when I go back after a few weeks am given a voucher to persuade me to return. Not a lot, usually 10% of a spend but worth having as I’ve got an ever-hungry teenage boy in the house. My other tip? If you like ice lollies – buy them from the freezer in multipacks NOT from the local shop!

  44. Lovely post Mrs T. It took me aaaggggeeessss to persuade him indoors to change to Aldi. The clincher was a £95 bill from Morrisons on a food shop that was nothing special. We have found that by switching our bill is coming out around £50-60 per month which is a massive saving. Well worth getting over the snobbery and people are amazed that we can feed a family of 4 for this much x

  45. Really useful post :) xxx

  46. Anonymous says:

    People think i’m a bit mad, we have a whiteboard in the kitchen which has a calender section which i fill in every month with what we are doing, any birthdays or things we need to remember on the other half i write each weeks meals – it means we can see at a glance what is for supper and stops the annoying “what do you fancy for supper?” conversations when get in from work and are tired – also every month or so I batch make staples like bolognaise, curry chilli and portion them up in old butter tubs (perfect for the job, stack well as we have a small freezer and cheaper than buying loads of tupperware!) – However loving the spreadsheet of what we have in – going to have to try that one.
    Keep it up Mrs Thrifty – love your blog, gets lots of great hints and tips from you and the comments of other readers :)

  47. Anonymous says:

    Never underestimate a good cheap marinade. It can turn boring dishes that you’ve had a million times like baked chicken into your new favorite!

  48. Anonymous says:

    I work in Waitrose and can definitely offer a few hints and tips when shopping somewhere a bit further up the market. I work on the service counters (meat/fish/deli) and every night we have food that we need to sell by 8pm otherwise it goes in the bin (ridiculous, i know). We have regulars who come in every night to snap up the bargains- and im talking aberdeen angus steaks for £2.00. If you can, try shopping later at night and you are definitely likely to pick up the basis for some proper meals. If there are beef joints, grab a couple and freeze them for sunday dinners.

    If you go in often enough, counter staff will recognise you and will be more likely to haggle the price of reduced stock…

    happy shopping and thankyou for all of your thrifty tips! you’ve definitely helped me to save my student loan..

  49. Anonymous says:

    I like to buy the Asda tray of chicken pieces, it has a couple of quarters, about 4 thighs, and a pile of drumsticks, and I find I can make many meals from one tray, which is about a fiver. stick some in the slow cooker and make a curry or stew or soup, bulk out with lots of veg etc, and freeze leftover portions. Roast some, fry some, you can make a variety of meals, sky is the limit. It also saves on power bills to do one big batch and then freeze portions, especially if you have an electric oven (like me) which I hate switching on and warming up for just a few bits. Another tip? Keep your eye out for promotion people in your local supermarket/shopping centre/street when they are giving away samples. Don’t be ashamed to go and say hello, ask what they have, and have a little convo. They often end up giving you several samples because a) they just want to get rid of them! and b) instead of just walking past you actually stopped and smiled and said hello! My mum scored a handful of those cook in the bag spice mixes you get now in a packet for free, gave some to me, and I was able to use them. I used the bbq rib seasoning or chicken but hey, it was delish! Also, try and use things in inventive ways. Just because you have a spice mix that’s recommended for steak, try sprinkling it onto potato wedges as they cook, or chicken pieces. And lastly, google is your friend. If you look in the cupboard and all you have is pasta and tinned peaches someone out there has no doubt cobbled together a palatable meal from them and then promptly posted it online. I also have a really easy basic muffin mix that you can add almost any fillings to, and it’s a great way to bake up a cheap and easy treat while using up some soft/sad looking fruit or that half a bag of sultanas you found in the back of the cupboard. I often substitute the sugar for honey or whatever else I have on hand (brown, caster, golden etc) rather than use just white sugar. Chopped mixed nuts, grated carrot, sultanas, chopped apple, and some cinnamon make a yummy healthy version that my husband (a personal trainer) loves. Great way to use over ripe bananas too.

  50. I’m not majorly adept at growing things, and we currently live in one room in a London flatshare- no living space, but with regard to fresh food- and especially if you’re buying local, try and buy what’s in season, seasonality means less likely to have been transported, which means longer life span, fewer costs (ever looked at the price of strawberries in December…), and I guarantee it’ll be tastier for being naturally ripe and ready to eat. Also, if you live or work or walk your dog or know where local allotments are, keep your eyes peeled for people selling produce from them- often v cheap way to get super yummy fresh.

  51. Remember that the freezer is your friend – not for buying frozen convenience foods, but for saving food that is on offer and freezing left overs and when cooking in bulk. Such a wonderful sensible useful post Mrs T.

  52. Kathryn says:

    We love bread in our house, my partner and daughter anyway. It is so easy to make by hand. My daughter loves making them too so it’s something we can do together. We find it easier to make baps or rolls and then freeze them the you can just take them out individually when you want them. You can also control the amount of salt and sugar that goes in them. If you have no time to wait for yeast bread to rise soda breads are an easy substitute.

  53. Could you do a post to make bread?? Such a great idea & something I have never thought of before!

  54. Oooo could you do a post on making bread?? It’s such a good idea and something I have never thought of before!! :-)

  55. Love this post, found it very helpful! I am about to move out for the first time and in a bit of a pickle since I have no began my new job next! I will definitely be using your tips to keep me going until my firsy pay check :)
    -Sarah x

  56. I’m so glad I’ve found this post… The tips and comments are so helpful, especially if you’re heading to university & want to keep an eye on your pennies.

  57. I always buy my soy sauce/noodles etc from the oriental/asian section of the supermarket as it tends to be a whole lot cheaper! I always look out for reduced fresh veg and buy some frozen veg too. Every little helps.

  58. The tips and the comments on this post are so helpful! We are hoping to get a mortgage in the next year so I want to get things in order. Plus I am always looking for ways to be more thrifty in general :)

    Can I ask how much detail you go into on the spreadsheet? I love a good spreadsheet and have recently started using google docs myself but looking for inspiration for making a useful food one (e.g. how much detail to go into etc)

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