Also see Frugal Christmas
1. One effective way to cut your grocery shopping bill is to do the bulk of your shop at cheap supermarkets. Lidl, KwikSave, Aldi and the like. Buy your basics there. Many items cost about half or a third of the ‘normal’ price in these shops. They sometimes have all their vegetables (which are usually class 1 so get rid of any notions of poor quality produce) at half price. Alcohol and household goods are also exceptionally cheap here. One little tip: we have found the extremely cheap tea/coffee and household cleaning/laundry products these shops sell to be…well…not good – other supermarkets own makes are a much better buy with these items.
Frozen food stores are often a great source of bargains for both branded and own label food. Iceland do free next day delivery on orders of £35 or over. Check out their offers section and their bulk packs for maximum savings.
2. Many non-perishable foods are fine past their sell by date. Check out the bargains available on clearance food and drink at Approved Foods – very impressive prices.
3. If you have some speciality items that you need/want to buy you may not get them in the discount shops but other supermarket’s own brand lables may suffice over the well known labels (if you’ve seen adverts for a particular product you will pay for those ads when buying it – thats the only difference!). The Tesco Value range is very well priced and good quality – their chocolate, soya milk, scourers, oven chips, loo rolls etc. are all great. It’s also worth taking up online supermarkets on their new shopper offers. Ocado are currently offering £20 off your first £80 shop.
4. If you want to buy organic produce the cheapest supermarket for this is Asda followed by Tesco. Some areas have excellent box schemes in operation – ask at your local health food shop.
5. Certain products have a very large mark-up when bought in tiny quantities such as dried herbs, spices, seeds, nuts and beans. If you have a whole food co-operative near you you could save a lot by buying in bulk. To give you an example: a typical 5g. jar of mixed herbs costs 80p – Goodness Direct do some good deals on bulk herbs and spices, also on beans and pulses – co-operatives do too. Most deliver over a very wide radius – see the links section for some good ones. If you can get together with friends and family on this, even better.
6. Soya mince is a lot cheaper than meat minces, a good source of protein and free of any disease or antibiotics. Health food shops and co-operatives typically have very reasonable bags of dried soya mince and chunks. Frozen vegemince is more pricey but available in supermarkets and still cheaper than meat.
7. Beans, beans, beans. Nourishing, filling, versatile and very cheap. The cheapest way to buy them is dried. You then soak the required quantity overnight and boil then next day. Black eye beans and lentils (lentils don’t need pre-soaking) are the quickest cookers, needing only about 30 minutes. They can then be used in casseroles, soups, pasta sauces, curries, chilli, pasties, salads – you name it!
8. Farm shops or markets can be very economical – a sack of potatoes for a few pounds can be the basis for many meals for a couple of months.
9. It may seem really obvious, but do take advantage of special offers if you need the product – buy one get one free offers are well worth it if it is something you would be buying anyway.
10. Don’t shop when hungry – well weve all done it!
11. Make a list for what you need for the week and stick to it. A weekly shop is much more economical than lots of little trips to shops.
12. Shop alone (if possible) – the more people there are the more temptations will be spotted!
13. Instead of buying several different desserts buy the ingredients to make a cake (see recipes section) – it’s not hard and, kept in the fridge it will give you pudding over several evenings (unless it’s too good of course and it gets quickly scoffed!).
14. Before you go on your shopping trip – check right to the back of your food cupboards and freezer. If you are new to the frugal lifestyle you could discover a veritable Alladin’s Cave of goodies that could be used up instead of items you were planning to buy.