Friday, 31 March 2017

How We Cut Our Food Bill By 50%


A couple of years ago, after I had Mabel, we decided that we really needed to save money if I was going to be a stay at home mum. One of those areas that we needed to save on was our food bill. It had to come down drastically because I could not see why we were spending £120-£140 a week, around £500-£600 per month when there was only 2 of us and a little baby. 

Now today we are a family of 4 and our food shopping bill has been slashed in half. There are weeks that are more expensive than others but overall it evens out. In 2016 our average weekly food bill was £65 per week, £282 per month which means we have saved 50% off of our food bill, from what we were originally spending. 

So here are some tips on how we did it.

Meal Planning
This is a must if you are wanting to save money on your food bill. If you have a meal plan then you can plan for your shop and therefore not buy anything extra or buy more perishable products than you need. You know exactly what you are having and know that every day there will be a meal. We never used to meal plan and looking back we were going to the supermarket literally every day. Even if we did a large shop, we would be going back and doing 3 or 4 more top up shops for things we needed. Now as you go through my blog you will see I put up a Meal Plan every week and I check through my cupboards before I go shopping to make sure I do not buy extra.

Make a Shopping List
This is easy. Once you have your meal plan then make a list of all the things you need. Do not stray from this list if you can, because you could quite quickly turn your £60 shop into a £90-£100 shop. Make sure you have rummaged through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and cross off anything you already have because you do not want to be buying double.

Shop Around
Check out some other supermarkets by comparing them on websites such as Mysupermarket, it could suprise you how much you can save by shopping somewhere else. Aldi has been a favourite for many people including myself, but I am unable to shop there with two kids because I will have a melt down. I now do my shopping online from many different supermarkets which makes a difference because I know exactly how much I will be spending and so can make changes if it is too high. 

Don't Shop on an Empty Stomach
Make sure you eat before going shopping, otherwise you may find your trolley piled high with things that you don't need. I do my shopping online so if I do need to make a change because we don't need something then I have until the night before to make them.

Have a Meal using Leftovers Once a Week
Every week you should plan a day to have leftovers from something that you are having. It means you will only be needing to buy ingredients for 6 meals rather than 7. We tend to have leftovers with jacket potatoes, but you can do anything with it really, even having the same meal again. By doing this you will be wasting less. For inspiration on what to cook with leftovers a great website to use is Supercook.

Waste Less
Wasting less food will save you money. That leftover chilli you might have thrown in the bin can actually be frozen and used at a later date. Buying just the right amount of perishable products for what you need means that it won't go off and you shouldn't then need to throw anything away.

Cook from Scratch
I hold my hands up and say I never used to cook from scratch. It was all about convenience for me because to be honest I wasn't in the slightest bit interested in food and could not be bothered with wasting time. But, cooking from scratch you learn very quickly that it tastes better, it's rewarding to see something you have made, and it is cheaper than the ready made meals. Plus I learnt that it doesn't take ages to do.

Take the Downshift Challenge
The downshift challenge is where you try the same product but the next brand down in price. If you like it then great, you have saved some money. We actually went full blown into trying the value products and if we were not happy with it then we would move to the next brand up. By doing this we were able to see that a lot of the products taste the same and therefore saved us money.

Use Less Meat
When I say use less meat, I am not talking about going vegetarian the majority of the time by using Quorn meat, although you can if you want. I mean in a sense of half the meat in a recipe and bulk it out with lentils or vegetables. It is a cheaper way to still do the same meal. In our household lentils have been a new thing for us and we have thoroughly loved using them in our recipes. 

Use Coupons
There are many places that you can find coupons such as looking online, free supermarket magazines, even on the supermarket website. A lot of the supermarkets do an introductory offer where if you spend £80 on an online shop for example, then you will get £20 off. I have used these offers for almost all supermarkets and it is a great way to save money.

Cashback Sites
When you know what supermarket you want to shop at then checkout Topcashback or Quidco (if you sign up to Quidco via the link then you will receive 50p), as you may be able to get paid cashback. I am still new to both those sites but they have been working out great so far. Also check out apps such as Shopmium (Use code KYUEFHMQ for a little treat) Shopitize and Checkoutsmart for cashback on certain items, including getting items for free. I use these two apps all the time and I have saved around £100 so far. You can find out more about them over on my posts Extreme CouponingCouponing November 2016 and Mini Couponing Shop

Grow Your Own
If you have some space in your garden why not try growing your own vegetables, or if you want something a little bit smaller then you can always grow herbs on your window sill. My husband started growing vegetables and herbs last year with some successes and some failures, but we are going to attempt some more this year.

Do you have any tips to save money on your food bill?

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