How To Save Money on Food


Editor's note: this blog post was originally written in July 2014 and has been updated for clarity and with the latest information.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, repeat. It all adds up.

Birds eye view of 2 breakfast plates, with fried toast, sausages, scrambled eggs, bacon, coffee, fruit and granola.

Want to learn how to save money on food?

You're in luck!

We've pulled together all our top tips to get you saving money in the supermarket in no time.

Whether you're an expert in the kitchen or a novice cook, there's sure to be a useful tip for you.

Let's get going...

Be prepared

Quit panic-buying your lunch in the supermarket and always prepare at home.

We're lucky enough to have a proper kitchen at Magic Freebies HQ, so we can prepare meals here but not everyone has that luxury!

You could make a bit extra for your evening meal and have the leftovers for lunch the next day, or get into a habit of roasting some veg and meat on a Sunday for the rest of the week.

The amount of money you'll save is astounding and once it's part of your routine it won't take up much of your time.

Variety is the spice of life

Put down the recipe books and get experimenting.

Use up the leftover food in the fridge and in the cupboards before going shopping and you might find you'll get away with not doing a food shop at all.

Unleash your inner chef!

Carry your coffee

6 cups of coffee taken from birds eye angle

Spending £2.50 on a coffee every day very quickly adds up and is a huge dent in your bank balance.

If you're still in need of a daily caffeine fix, get yourself a reusable coffee flask.

It will keep your coffee warm for way longer than a paper cup and is infinitely better for the environment.

Like the sound of that?

Find out how to save money & go zero waste (in 11 amazing ways).

Make a shopping list

Instead of aimlessly walking into a supermarket and picking up the things that you think you'll need...

...write a list of the things you definitely do need.

It sounds simple, but it's a step that lots of us forget.

Making a list makes it much less likely for you to forget anything (or pick up things on impulse).

Plus, you can prepare meals for the whole week, saving yourself time as well as money.

Don’t buy pre-packaged meals

Cut up pieces of cooked chicken, red peppers and green broccoli on a white wooden table

Ready meals are both pricier and less tasty home-cooked meals.

So why do we waste our money on them?!

With a little bit of extra work, you can easily make a meal for your whole family. Avoid packets of pre-cut vegetables and pre-cut meat as these are also more expensive.

Enjoy the satisfaction of your hard work appreciated by your hungry family. Then you can make them do the washing up!

Shop online

Use the internet to do your weekly shop and you won’t find yourself being attracted to offers you don’t need.

Your food shop will be cheaper...

...and you'll save on petrol too!

Use your leftovers 

FACT: takeaway pizza tastes better the following day.

And did you know that this is often the case with a lot of meals?

Some of us are reluctant to reuse our leftovers, in favour of something different.

Try frying up some leftover pasta with a bit of garlic, pepper and salt to make a nice lunch...

...or if you've just had a Sunday roast, try making some chicken stock from the carcass to use in soups and gravy.

Grow your own

Home grown turnips, carrots and beetroot in a brown wicker basket

Everyone can be a gardener, even if you've got a tiny garden or just a front porch.

Potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and more can be grown in a small space that has access to sunlight.

Take a look online at tips for growing your own veg and you'll soon find yourself with an abundance of fresh produce.

Think you'd struggle with veg?

Herbs are very easy to grow on your windowsill and would make a delicious addition to your meals.

Time your shops

I try and visit my local supermarket at around 5 pm, as that's when they do the price markdown of stock that is going out of date that day.

I then either use it that day or pop it in the freezer for a later date.

Find out when your supermarket does its markdown and become a regular face to grab the bargains!

Do you have any top tips on how to save money on food? Let me know!

Colleen x