How to beat the rising price of food shopping

As we are all painfully aware, the cost of living is going up and up. Between February 2021 and February 2022, prices in the UK rose by an overall 6.2%.

Both fuel and energy costs are rising. We explored the reasons for this in depth in two earlier articles:

However, since then the conflict in the Ukraine is making the situation even worse due to restrictions on Russian oil and gas impacting supplies across Europe. 

The resulting increased transport costs and supply chain disruption are also contributing to rapidly rising food prices. Recent research shows that food prices are rising at their fastest rate in over 8 years, with fresh beef, savoury snacks and cat food seeing the largest increases.

In his Spring Statement on Wednesday 23rd March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out plans to support households cope with this rising cost of living. These plans included cutting fuel duty and raising the income threshold for National Insurance. But most people will still be worse off. 

So what else can you do to help manage the rising price of food shopping? 

Here are ten simple ideas that can help you to save money on food shopping.

1. Make a shopping list

It’s a really good idea to get into the habit of making a shopping list before you go. This enables you to check what you already have and only buy what you really need to supplement that. It also means that you can start being more creative about using up all your leftovers rather than ending up throwing them away. There are many websites that can give you ideas on how to do this, for example Love Food Hate Waste.

2. Shop around

It can be all too easy to get into a bit of a rut with your food shopping, and just go to the same supermarket every week. But it’s also worth looking out for special deals at other stores. With a bit of time and effort, you can get into the habit of rotating between different stores, and save money by getting the best deals from them all.

3. Use cash

Another great idea is to only use cash for your food shopping. This can be a very straightforward way of not overspending. If you only have a certain amount of cash, and no card, you will not be able to overspend. 

By using the supermarket’s scanner or shopping app to self scan your items you can keep a running total of what you are spending as you go, to ensure you are able to pay for your goods when you checkout.

4. Bag the mark down bargains

Getting to know a variety of local stores can also help you to bag their mark down bargains. Many large stores are open for extended hours, some even 24 hours. Every store has one or more times of the day when they reduce the price of stock that is approaching its sell by date. If the sell by date is the same day, you can buy things very cheaply indeed. Even if you can’t use them immediately, it’s a great opportunity to stock up the freezer for later.

5. Shop online

Another great way to save money on food shopping is to shop online. This can help you to be disciplined and buy just what you need, rather than throw things in the trolley on impulse. 

The extra cost of online shopping is the delivery charge, but this often works out cheaper than the cost of getting to and from the store yourself. Many supermarkets also offer a delivery pass where you can pay a fee and then get unlimited free deliveries for a specified period of time.

6. Buy in bulk

If there are items you use a lot of, and you have the storage space, it can work out cheaper to buy in bulk. For example:

  • Frozen, tinned or packet food.
  • Drinks.
  • Pet supplies.
  • Cleaning materials.
  • Toilet rolls.
  • Toiletries.

A good option for bulk buying is to team up with a family member or friend, especially if one of you has a card for a wholesaler such as CostCoCostco. You can share the cost of the shopping and both save money by getting items cheaper.

7. Batch cook

But it’s not only buying in bulk that can help you to save money. Try also to get in the habit of making double quantities of meals such as casseroles, lasagnes, curries etc. You can use one batch immediately and freeze one for later. It usually doesn’t cost significantly more to make two meals rather than one, and it can also help to reduce waste by using up leftover ingredients. 

8. Serve smaller portions

At the same time as cooking more, another way to save money is to serve slightly less. It’s often the case that people don’t quite finish a meal and the leftovers get thrown away. In fact, an estimated £60 of good food can potentially be wasted each month by an average family with children.

So it’s probably better to serve slightly smaller portions to avoid this waste. People can always have seconds if they want to. Otherwise you can freeze the remaining untouched food for another time.

9. Loyalty cards

Most of us underuse any loyalty cards we have, but they can lead to good savings. Depending on the store’s loyalty card scheme, the points you collect when you shop can be used either to pay for shopping, unlock special offers or exchange for gifts. 

Don’t throw away any loyalty card related vouchers that may be given to you on checkout, as these could either give you more points or special deals on items you buy regularly.

10. Get techy

There are a wide variety of shopping apps that can help you to save money with your food shopping either by giving you discounts or cashback on your purchases. Most of these work by scanning in your shopping receipts after purchase, and any discounts or cashback are then paid into your PaypalPayPal account.

Some of the most popular apps currently available are:

  • Shopmium
  • Checkout Smart
  • Quidco ClickSnap
  • TopCashback

More apps are being developed regularly so keep an eye on Apple’s App Store and Google Play to see what’s new.

We hope that the above ideas help you to save money on food shopping, and beat those rising prices.

For more financial and lifestyle tips check back here with us soon at Loans 2 Go.