Learn the most essential tips to save money on food without life becoming boring.
When you want to get serious about saving, food is one of the most crucial areas to look at. Although it’s one of my biggest expenses, for a long time it was an area that I was reluctant to cut back on. I wanted to eat well and to me, that meant spending. I’ve since discovered that saving on food doesn’t mean I can’t eat what I want. In fact, there are a lot of practical and easy things you can do to save money on food without scrimping on what’s important.
Related: 11 Smart Ways to Save Money Fast While Still Having Fun [+ printable]
1. Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
When you want to save money on food, don’t underestimate the importance of planning!
Believe me, I used to be the biggest culprit! I would wander around the supermarket, throwing whatever took my fancy into my trolley. Every single time I would get to the checkout and have a nasty surprise at the total cost.
The worst part of it was that without an actual plan for how to use the food, some of it would be wasted! I hadn’t considered which things went together or what meals they would go towards.
I inevitably felt guilty AND I wasted a lot of money.
Plan out your meals for the week at least. Keep a list on your fridge so you can note things that you are running out of. Figure out exactly what you need and what your budget is.
The first few months of doing this will allow you to adjust and fine tune your budget so it works for you.
The idea isn’t necessarily to eat more cheaply, but to eliminate waste by buying what you need and will definitely use.
2. Use Your Freezer
You will save so much money on food just by utilizing your freezer space. Try cooking double of what you will eat, and then freeze half. In the future you’ll have an easy meal that you can grab from the freezer and not have to think about.
Not only will this help you to save money on food, you’ll save a lot of time as well! There’s no limit- if you have a recipe you love, why not make a quadruple portion? Simply invest in some great freezable containers and fill your freezer!
Remember to label the containers so you can tell exactly what it is, how many portions are frozen, and the date you froze it. Plan it into your meal plan for sometime in the future (pick an evening when you have limited time- believe me, you’ll thank yourself!)
Make sure you don’t freeze it only to forget about it!
Check out BBC’s collection of family friendly freezable recipes.
3. Use Online Shopping
Not only will online shopping save you from having to lug heavy things around, it can help you to save money on food!
How will online shopping help you?
- You will be less tempted by impulse buys and attention grabbing products that you don’t really need.
- It allows to you to be more organized and systematic in getting what you need- you can compare prices, and see the best deals more easily.
- You can get exactly what you need- no checkout extras (or just as bad, forgetting to buy key ingredients!) This will reduce future trips to the store and further cut costs.
- It doesn’t cost that much to get a delivery (especially in the less popular slots) and what you save will make it more than worthwhile.
- You can skip the queues!
- Ultimately, you’ll save both time and money.
Online Shopping is a nice hassle free and stress free experience. Why not try it out and see how much money you can save on food?
5. Buy in Bulk
Have you heard the saying that you pay for packaging? It’s so true! Therefore, buying a large amount of something is a much more cost-effective way to shop.
But what exactly should you be buying in bulk?
Here are some of the main ones:
- Toilet paper
- Rice and pasta
- Canned goods
- Dishwasher and laundry detergent
- Soap, body lotion and shampoo
- Trash bags
These small savings add up and over a year can have a huge impact. Consider using online shopping to buy in bulk with ease!
4. Use Cash in Stores
When you do go into stores, try bringing cash instead of paying by card. Doing this will help you to stay within your allocated budget.
For me, I know that if I go into a shop with a set amount of cash, I won’t spend more. When I have a card, I’m much more tempted to blow my budget on things I don’t need. Using only cash really helps me to buy only what I need and not what tempts me in the moment.
Try setting a budget for your food and bringing this in cash to the shop. It’s a good way to stick to your budget and buy only what’s on the list and avoid impulse buys.
6. Make Your Own Meals
We all know that not eating out is one of the biggest ways to save money. But you still want to enjoy life, right?
I try to keep a balance here. I make a budget for eating out and choose when to use it. For me, I’d rather eat out on special occasions with friends and family.
I don’t allow myself to buy lunches every day of the week or to get takeout just because I don’t think there’s enough food in the fridge.
However, I do budget for lunch out on Fridays. I get sushi with my work colleagues and I look forward to it all the more for knowing that I’m saving money on food on all the other days.
If you’re serious about saving money on food, then you need to be intentional about when you eat out. Use it as a treat, budget it in, and enjoy it! Cut back on the eating out times that only happen because you’re too disorganized to make your own.
Instead, get organized! And if you don’t think you have anything in the fridge or pantry, look again!
Supercook is a smart website that helps you to cook from what you have. It’s perfect for the days when you want to cook something from leftovers or ingredients already in your cupboard, but you can’t see a way that these will combine to make something edible!
With Supercook, you can simply type in the ingredients that you have and it will match you with relevant recipes from the best cooking sites. They even have an app version so it really couldn’t be easier!
7. Eat Less Meat
Eating less meat is a lesser known tip for saving money. I’m not saying not to eat any meat. However, cutting out some meat from your diet is a very easy way to save money on food!
For me, meat was the most expensive part of my weekly shop. When I looked up meat-free recipes, I was surprised by how much I could save by using food like lentils and beans to bulk out my meals.
When I first heard this, I didn’t think I would enjoy this kind of meal, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! They are absolutely delicious and not that difficult.
And, even more surprisingly, when I made these sweet potato and black bean burgers, or this vegan chilli con carne from lentils and black beans, my family couldn’t even tell that it didn’t have meat in it!
Get inspired with these easy vegan recipes for a quick and healthy dinner.
IDEAS TO SAVE MONEY ON FOOD WHEN HOSTING
Throw a Pot Luck
If you want to save money on food, but love hosting and getting together with friends and family, then throwing a pot luck meal is a great compromise!
A pot luck is when you invite guests over, and ask each to bring a plate of food to share with the group. People love this kind of thing and are more than happy to bring a plate of nibbles. The food is always amazing with lots of variety. And there is no pressure on one person to make everything! You can even take turns hosting.
Have a Picnic
A picnic is a fun way to make your meals special without actually eating out. This is especially good if you have a special occasion coming up, but you really need to save money on food.
A picnic is a fun way to have a party while saving money. Bring along blankets, special food, outdoor games, and any other little luxuries you can think of to make it truly special. Picnics are quaint and even idyllic, so it won’t even feel like you’re celebrating on a budget.
Check out Little Miss Party’s video on hosting the perfect picnic.
And that’s it!
I honestly believe that rethinking how much you spend on food is one of the best ways to cut back on spending and save money fast. These ideas are easy and practical things you can do that will help with spending in this area.
Remember that saving money is only one part of the picture. When you need extra cash, why not look into simple ways to make money? There are so many options to make money online.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- 11 Smart Ways to Save Money Fast While Still Having Fun [+ printable]
- Make Money from Writing Online (5 easy ways)
- 7 Key Secrets: How to Write an eBook and Make Money
- 4 Fun Ways to Make Money Online With Amazon and Create Passive Income
- 11 Ways To Make Money Online
I’d love to hear from you- how do you save money on food? Do you have any extra tips? I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading!