I'm Karen!

I am a blogger and finance coach. My specialty is helping couples get on the same financial page and win with money and marriage. 


Personal Finance


Financial Planning

Reduce your food bill

Would you like to know how to reduce your food bill? I’m going to share with you how you can save money on your food shopping.

Let’s face it–food is expensive. The average family spends just over 10% of their household income buying groceries and even while average wages have gone down, the price of food keeps going up.

When you are just trying to feed your family, that is a pretty scary prospect. Read on to find out how you can reduce your food bill.

With the cost of living biting, households are looking for cheaper ways to do their food shopping.

Thankfully, there are some easy and simple steps you can reduce your food bill.

Reduce your food bill

Set a Budget:

Creating a budget is a great way to reduce your food bill. Start by working out how much you’ve spent on food over the last 3 months. You can check your transactions and bank statements to help you with this.

Are you comfortable with that amount, or do you want to spend less? If so, by how much? It can be helpful to set yourself a goal.

Then, each time you make a budget set aside a certain amount for food. Make sure it’s realistic – it’s fine to include some luxury items as long as you’re spending within your means.

Go with Own Brands:

When you are tying to reduce your food bill, going with own-brand foods can be worth it.

Often, own-brand foods taste just as good as the branded ones. Most importantly though, own-brand foods come in at a significant discount and can cut your food bill by large amounts.

If you aren’t doing this already, make sure you check the shelves for your supermarket’s own-brand foods.

We know that we’ve saved a lot of money by buying own-brand labels.

Plan Your Meals and Buy Only What You Need:

Make a list of your main meals for the coming week, including the ingredients you’ll need. Check which ingredients you already have in your cupboards and freezer and add the rest to your shopping list.

I also find it helpful to have a running shopping list on the fridge door.

Once you’ve made a list, try to stick to it. Don’t get drawn into those special offers and discounts for things that you don’t really need.

If you’ve already got food in, try to account for it in your weekly meal plan. Are there items you could add, or substitute, into the next week’s recipes to save you buying more?

Think about the types of ingredients on your list and try to include some cheaper meals. Is there anything you could batch cook to cover 2 dinners?

The main thing is to know why you’re buying each item. Have a plan for how and when you’ll use it. This will prevent you from buying more than you need.

Reduce Your Food Waste:

Did you know that the UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food every year?

According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme, this wastage has a value of around £19 billion.

It’s estimated that as much as 6.4 million tonnes could still have been eaten. That’s enough to feed the entire UK population three times a day, for 11 weeks.

Here are some common reasons why we end up throwing food away:

  • serving bigger portions than necessary
  • throwing away leftovers instead of eating them
  • not keeping things in the fridge
  • letting food expire without using it
  • not making the most of ingredients

Reducing your food waste means avoiding throwing money in the bin every year.

Make sure you’re using as much food as you can. Try to find ways to recycle food where possible.

Use the Freezer:

Lots of food can be frozen and reheated at a later date. If you’re planning on cooking your lunches and meals ahead of time, consider whether you could do a big cook. You can freeze your food so that there’s plenty for you to eat over the week.

This helps you avoid buying individual meals and lunches, which can often be expensive.

We love batch cooking and our favorites meals to make in bulk include chicken nuggets, curries, and bolognese sauce!

Cooking in bulk also means cutting down on the washing up…what’s not to love!

Look out for discounts:

Many supermarkets offer discounts for customers that shop regularly with them.

You can usually find these discounts given in the form of coupons or on the back of your receipts.

But, as always with loose pieces of paper, these can be easy to lose. Consider downloading apps that can store your discounts easily.

If you are heading into supermarkets though, you could choose to go later on in the evening.

Not only are shops less busy during these times, but you’ll also find foods at significant discounts.

The only thing to watch out for, is that they may be best used before the next day. So if you are planning on finding some discounted bargains for yourself, make sure that you’re planning to eat it soon. Or you can pop it in the freezer to use at a later date.

Beware of the Multi-Buy:

Sadly, sometimes multi-pack puchases aren’t always as good value as they first appear.

Take a moment before you throw a multi-buy pack into your trolley. Ask yourself whether you’ll really come round to using it. After all, the surest way to cut your food bill is to not buy things you’re not going to use.

Beware Of Supermarket Sales Tactics:

Supermarkets know all too well that people are more likely to buy products that can be found at eye level.

They make a point of putting the most expensive products at eye level – where customers will most likely see them. Slow down and take a look at the shelves above and below.

You can often find similar products for much cheaper prices if you take the time to find them.

Think About When and Where You’ll Shop:

Shopping less often can help you think more carefully about what you buy and save you money. You may find it easier to stick to your budget if you shop once a week.

And try to find the right shops for you – ones that have prices that fit with your budget.

Another idea is to shop on a full stomach rather than an empty one, so you’re not hungry and you don’t get tempted!

Normally, I go shopping monthly. I always have a good breakfast before I go!

I try to be at the store when the doors open.

I leave my family at home (a great tip by the way!).

I go in with my list.

I get out again.

Buy Meat Wisely:

Meat can be expensive. So, eating less meat is a good way to cut back on your grocery bill.

Be brave and try some new, meat free recipes! Ask yourself whether you could have a meat free day from time to time.

I know that meat-free Mondays were once a thing. However, we always had leftovers from the Sunday roast, so that wasn’t a good option for us!

Here are some of our favorite family-friendly meat-free recipes:

Jacket potatoes – always a winner in my house

Homemade quiche and salad

Cheese pizza

Store Your Food Carefully:

Don’t you hate it when someone doesn’t store the cheese correctly. You have to cut half of it off because it’s gone bad!

Train your family to store food carefully so it doesn’t go off before you use it.

Check use-by dates too. If you don’t have a plan to use something before its use-by date, can you freeze it?

Batch cooking and freezing portions will also help you save money and preserve food. And then when you don’t have time to cook, you’ve got a ready-made home-cooked meal. Just don’t forget to defrost it.

Shop Online:

I have always found that shopping online is a good way to manage your budget. Before we moved to rural Africa, I used to go online for our weekly shop every week!

I used to sit in my office, with my list and as you add things to the online basket, you could monitor how much you’re spending.

Plus, some stores have exclusive online deals which you can’t get in the physical store. And here’s my personal favorite: shopping online helps to stop impulse buying as well.

Pay in Cash …And Put the Treats to the Back of the Conveyor Belt:

For the last few years, I have been paying cash at the grocery store. The simple reason is that if I only have cash, I can’t spend any more.

I always tell the cashier that I have X amount to spend. Please can they let me know if the bill is nearing that amount.

I also put all the ‘treats’ at the back of the conveyor belt. Things like chocolate, sodas and things I don’t really need… but I would like.

If I have enough cash, then that’s great, I can buy them. If I don’t then I leave them at the store.

It sounds harsh but it’s a great way to ensure that I don’t go over my budget!

I do hope that you have found some of these tips helpful.

If you have any more ideas on how we can reduce our food bill, then please do share them in the comments below!

Are you ready to get a handle on your finances? Crush your money goals and finally stop worrying about where your money is going?

If YES! then contact me and let’s create a budget that works for you – in less than 60 minutes!

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