Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features


To ask how you save money grocery shopping?

56 replies

IDoDaChaCha · 24/07/2017 07:57

Been finding the price of groceries ridiculous recently. I'm a fan of yellow sticker food shopping in major supermarkets and the rest in budget (Aldi, B&M etc). Interested to know your strategies for saving money on food shopping? Are you an extreme couponer?

OP posts:

bigchris · 24/07/2017 08:01

Buy the basic range
Buy cheap cuts of meat or go veggie
Don't buy prepackaged or ready meals
Don't shop on an empty stomach
Batch cook
Use your freezer
Don't buy snack packs of raisins , buy a massive bag and divide up yourself


SelfObsessionHoney · 24/07/2017 08:02

Meal plan and stick to it. It's the only way we've managed it.


Ifailed · 24/07/2017 08:03

meal plan, and always take a list and stick to it, do not be tempted by 'bargains'.


AwaywiththePixies27 · 24/07/2017 08:06

Buy the basics ranges. Some of the stuff is lovely. I find doing online shopping helps me. I'm not there in the supermarkets to be tempted by other offers and I usually stick to the list. Ocado do £20 off your first shop and a years free delivery. They also do a flash sale at the end before you check out. The other day they had things like whole poussins (?) in their flash sale for just under £2. Cakes for 60p etc etc. One time they ran an offer of £15 free groceries too.


Frouby · 24/07/2017 08:08

Meal planning and batch cooking.

Going back to basics foodwise if you have time. So simple stuff like stew, shepherds pie. Lots of vegetables rather than lots of meat or fish. Aldi super 6 is fab.

Also eggs are cheap and cheerful as are baked potatoes. And we actually enjoy something like frittata with salad and a baked potato.

And home baking is a lot cheaper than bought in puddings and desserts.

Use everything up in your fridge to reduce waste. Freeze left over portions for another day.

And I make a big pan of cheap vegatable soup once a week and freeze in individual portions for cheap, healthy lunches.


BeyondThePage · 24/07/2017 08:08

I shop online - away from temptations and I can go through the "basket" list and pare it down if it is a bit high.


ShowMeWhatYouGot · 24/07/2017 08:10

Another one for meal planning & bulk cooking :)

I also buy big joints of meat when they are on offer and cut them up into portions and freeze x


crapatpickingnames · 24/07/2017 08:21

If you're close to an area with local butchers, minimarkets etc, I'd recommend trying them out. I live close to a lot of multicultural food shops and have found a couple meat shops which are much cheaper and the meat is more fresh than some big supermarkets. (Had a few occasions where I'd bought meat from a major supermarket and when opened, it smelled rotten so had to find alternatives).
A lot of them also stock big bags of spices, flour, nuts etc for less than the 'standard' sizes you'd get in Asda etc.
Branded juice cartons, like Rubicon etc are always on offer for like 3 for £1 in the shops I go to. It's small things but the savings add up!
I can do a small shop incl approx 1.5-2kg meat, fresh salad stuff, fruit and soft drinks for around 15 quid. Equivalent would probably cost double in Sainsburys etc.
Sorry I know this is area specific, hopefully it helps.

I'm also an annoying customer in the big supermarkets and always rummage to the back of the shelf, to see if there are longer use by dates available for bread, milk etc. Grin


HipsterHunter · 24/07/2017 08:24

  • Eat seasonal fruit/veg
  • Eat less variety so make more use of bulk buying and batch cooking
  • Use frozen fruit/veg where suitable if it's cheaper. Also this has zero waste since you don't get any going mouldy.
  • Less meat and fish or cheaper cuts/frozen alternative.

HipsterHunter · 24/07/2017 08:26

Don't buy things you don't need eg juice cartons, packs of crisps etc


FlowerPowerPotter · 24/07/2017 08:40

Use your local fruit and veg market if you have one. Mine's incredibly cheap on a Saturday afternoon - last week I got a box of mangoes for a quid, 4 kilos of onions for £1.20, bowls of limes (15), green peppers (8) and aubergines (5) for £1 per bowl.

You can't always predict what's cheap /what they have and the fruit doesn't last as long as the supermarket's but I batch cook and happily substitute aubergines for courgettes etc. I mainly cook vegetarian too which really saves a lot of money.

When you do want meat, a good local butcher is also often cheaper than the supermarket - 1 kilo of lamb mince at £1.99 with the aforementioned aubergines made a huge portion of moussaka in my house which we've had two dinners out of and the rest is lunch today.

For the rest there's Lidl.


senua · 24/07/2017 08:43

meal plan, and always take a list and stick to it, do not be tempted by 'bargains'.

I meal plan and make a list but I am always prepared to be flexible if a good bargain comes my way.
Get the biggest freezer you can. I don't know how I would survive without my freezers.
It used to be a good idea to make 'peasant' food - a dish that turned cheap ingredients into great food by long, slow cooking - but a lot of that is quite expensive these days eg pork belly, pizza, etc. Don't have preconceptions.
Know when your supermarket does its yellow stickers. Round here Asda does it just after school-chucking-out time, Morrisons does it just after commuters-going-home time.


Toadinthehole · 24/07/2017 08:44

Buy whatever raw ingredients are best value and fashion your meals from them.

Make a shopping list for basics (milk, porridge oats, eggs, bread) and stick to it.

Buy cheap cuts (e.g. shin, blade, cheek etc) and slow cook in batches.


FruitBadger · 24/07/2017 08:49

Meal planning, batch cooking and online shopping all make a real difference for us (they also all help with time because DH and I both work full time). I do our online shop via I find it very good for suggesting swaps to cheaper alternatives and I have price alerts set up for more expensive items so I can stock up when they're on offer.


WonderLime · 24/07/2017 08:52

All herbs, spices and most veg is bought from local multi-cultural shops.

Yellow sticker food where possible and into the freeze.

No premade sauces - make all from cheap ingredients (supermarket own tinned tomatoes, stock, etc).

Buy frozen 'bulk' veg (butternut squash, etc)

Combine offers for online meat shops (like musclefood) and bulk buy meat. Also buy whole salmons when on offer and cut into steaks to freeze.

Never buy cakes but keep well stocked pantry - so will make large batches of cookie dough and freeze what I don't intend to eat.

Buy as much wine as I can carry by combining new customer deals with 25% off spends at online supermarkets.

We still spend too much on food though!


MaximaDeWit · 24/07/2017 08:58

Meal planning and using the same ingredients for more then one meal so we can try and stretch what we have out and nothing goes to waste. I.e. Buying mushrooms for homemade pizza and also using in a mushroom and spinach pasta sauce. Buying mussels and using those with pasta and some garlic and wine and saving some to put in a sauce with some fish. Means we can be a bit more interesting than "beans on toast, jacket potatoes" but without much more cost.

It does mean we can't be massively spontaneous with food, snacks or baking but we will allow ourselves one or two indulgences if we have a bit of room in the budget.

We also do the first shop at Aldi or Lidl (because they are v conveniently located close to DH's office) then do a top up at Tescos with a pre-loaded card which we get % discount on the value we top up.


MaximaDeWit · 24/07/2017 08:59

Oh, and also not being brand loyal for most things so we buy whatever is cheapest in the quantities we actually need it (not being seduced into spending more to get more than we need even if the value per unit is cheaper overall.


lmer · 24/07/2017 09:04

Meal planning, batch cooking, I online shop and use mysupermarket to find the cheapest for that shop, I've managed to half our monthly shop doing it like that


chipscheeseandcurrysauce · 24/07/2017 09:12

I shop at Aldi and Iceland mostly, but if I'm near a Tesco I go for their everyday value range and look in their reduced section especially for things that can be frozen.

I buy a lot of tinned stuff for the cupboards, as well as pasta, rice and grains such as couscous and quinoa. I buy frozen vegetables and fruit as I find it's a lot cheaper and eat a lot of meat substitutes such as Quorn, Linda McCartney, supermarket's own meat-free substitutes.

Occasionally I do batch cooking like bolognese and chilli, as well as soups and stews in winter! And if I want some salad vegetables, I go to a green grocers as you can negotiate prices there and it's much fresher!


headacheschmeadache · 24/07/2017 09:37

I have switched to more frozen products. E.g. I currently have frozen salmon fillets, frozen pollok, frozen chicken breast, frozen butternut squash, frozen broccoli, frozen chopped peppers, frozen peas, frozen carrots, etc. Cheaper in the first place, less (no) waste and can all be cooked from frozen so it's no less convenient. In fact, the chopped things like butternut squash are a whole lot more convenient!


IDoDaChaCha · 24/07/2017 09:44

headache I agree on the frozen veg no waste idea. Also saves a lot of time preparing veg that might otherwise go off if not pounced upon!

OP posts:

BahHumbygge · 24/07/2017 10:08

Shop for final yellow sticker bargains, last reductions are often down to 10p.

Look out for discount food shops that sell shortdated/slightly out of date packaged food. Online there’s Approved Food.

Don’t drink anything at home except water, tea, herb tea, coffee, milk and one bottle of wine per week (or equivalent size of nice cider/ale). Soft drinks, juices and booze quickly add up. If your water tastes yuck and you buy bottled water, get a filter jug.

When vegetables are marked down, buy a couple of extras and make pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi etc. Also make up a batch of vegetable soup and freeze in portions.

Downshift a brand level on everything till you can notice a difference.

Cut out virtually all sugar at home (just have sweet treats at celebrations and days out etc) and cut back on processed/starchy carbs… eating carbs, especially fructose based sugars, sets up intense carb craving cycles and you can easily get into an expensive snacking habit Wink This article on the subject is good

Make your own cleaning products. Use an empty spray bottle, fill 1/3 way with white vinegar, top up with water. Don’t use on surfaces like marble and stone. Bicarb is great for shifting stubborn grubbiness… scum line on bath or greasy baking pans. A damp microfibre cloth with a drop of washing up liquid is great for cleaning surfaces. Look up zero waste/frugal cleaning products on blogs and youtube.

Cut dishwasher tablets in half… I use Lidl 3 in 1 and they still work great… just saw the top with a serrated knife, hold the tablet over an edge and press down.

Eat mince… lots of great recipes which are cheap and tasty such as lamb koftas, shepherd’s pie, chilli, thai curry with HM turkey meatballs, HM burgers etc.

Eggs are cheap and nutritious. As is tinned fish.

Lentil dhal costs pennies, is nutritious and delicious.

Buy dried pulses in bulk. You can cook up a big batch and freeze some to save on the energy costs next time.

Make use of any growing space… even if you just have a windowsill you can grow microgreens and herbs. Sprouts in jamjars. Work up to cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets, strawberry planters on the patio, tubs with kale, cut and come again salad leaves, growbags with courgettes etc. Get your own compost heap or cone going so you won’t need to buy next time. The best investment you can make is a fruit tree if you have space… decades of crops for the price of one takeaway!

Toothpaste - either use Morrisons value 30p/equivalent. Don’t pay 10x over the odds for heavily marketed pretty stripes! Just use a pea size amount on the brush… just enough to ease the bristles around the mouth. Or you can make your own - 2 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp of bicarb, 10 - 15 drops of peppermint oil. Mix and put into a small glass jar.

Deodorant - put a pea sized amount of bicarb on the corner of a damp facecloth and rub onto armpits. Or try one of those salt sticks you can get from health food shops - they last for years.

Shower gel and hand wash - swap for bar soap. Just have a bottle in the downstairs loo for guests - Aldi is under £1 and very lovely smelling.

Shaving - get a safety razor and a job lot of blades. Keep the blade bone dry after use and it lasts much longer. Costs the same as a couple of packs of expensive branded disposables, and they'll last for many years. Or buy an epilator... get it when Boots or Amazon have a heavily discounted sale day.

Monthly stuff - invest in a mooncup for around £20… it pays for itself in a few cycles. Either buy washable san towels on etsy/ebay or there’s tutorials online to make your own. Save a packet and zero waste!

Have the odd expensive takeaway? buy a copy of The Curry Secret (or The Takeaway Secret). Make up batches of curry sauce and keep in freezer. Have meat/chickpeas/vegetables on hand, and you can quickly make up a curry house style curry in the time it would take to ring up and wait for delivery.


IDoDaChaCha · 24/07/2017 11:04

BahHumbygge your thriftiness is inspiring Wine

OP posts:

JennyBlueWren · 24/07/2017 12:11

You mention "yellow stickers" but is that where you buy something which has 10p taken off a very high price (as my DH does "ooh it was in the reduced section") or do you target shops at the times you know they do their really big reductions (buying the £2 ready meal for 9p.)

I often go to a supermarket at about the time they do these big reductions (4:30 for Co-op, 6pm for Morrisons -although it's not an exact art) and get some bits. My usual rule is to buy what I will eat the same or next day or that can be frozen.


Admirablenelson · 24/07/2017 12:50

Avoid Waitrose.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?