I’ve tried a ton of different ways to save money, and cutting the cost of our monthly shop is easily the biggest saving we are able to make. Before I went on maternity leave, we didn’t have a budget or shopping list, and would spend anywhere between £250-350 a month. Now we are spending around £150 a month and that’s with one extra mouth to feed!
It might seem impossible to cut a huge chunk off your monthly spend but there are actually a lot of things you can do:
- Meal plan
Planning our meals out for the month has really decreased the amount of food we waste and saved us a ton of money. Try and plan meals close together that use similar ingredients so you won’t have to throw anything away. Use your meal plan to write a realistic shopping list and only buy what you need.
- Batch cook meals in advance
This really ties in with meal planning. I spend a day at the beginning of the month cooking a ton of food to freeze and eat throughout the month. It saves us money because it ensures I use fresh products up before they go out of date, and I can buy ingredients like veggie mince in bulk which is cheaper than smaller bags. There’s always something healthy and quick to prepare for days I really can’t be bothered to cook. It saves the temptation of buying a takeaway or ready meal too!
If you haven’t got time to batch cook all in one go, just make a bit extra anytime you make meals that freeze well – things I’ve found freeze really well are bolognese, chilli, stew, curry and yorkshire puddings!
- Try the downgrade challenge
Instead of always buying branded products, try the supermarket own version and see if you can tell the difference. There’s certain things I will always buy branded because I love the products, but we’ve saved about £25 a month just by switching to supermarket own versions on everything else.
- Buy in bulk to save big
Certain products are cheaper if you buy in bulk, such as toilet roll and washing powder. If you’ve got the storage space, check out bigger pack sizes and see how much you could save.
- Try out discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl
I have never shopped in either of these shops until the beginning of this year, mostly because I was a snob and thought they wouldn’t be any good. I was so wrong! I LOVE Aldi, they have some great products and everything is so cheap! Keep an eye out for super cheap products during their baby events.
- Use coupons to cut your monthly spend
Keep an eye for coupons online, in supermarket magazines such as Tesco and Asda, in newspapers and on packaging of products you already buy. This month I got almost £30 off our food bill by using coupons.
- Get discounts and freebies with cashback apps
There a loads of cashback apps out there that offer money off groceries or even free products. My favourites are Shopmium and CheckoutSmart.
Use MySupermarket to compare prices
MySupermarket is a great app that compares prices of products at all the major supermarkets. If I’m buying an expensive product like spirits or washing powder, I always check the app first to find out where it’s cheapest and if there are any offers on.
- Get money back with Asda’s price guarantee
If you’ve bought at least 8 items at Asda, use their Price Guarantee tool. If your shopping wasn’t 10% cheaper than Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons or Waitrose, you’ll get a voucher for the difference which you can print off and claim off your next shop.
- Buy wonky fruit and veg
Supermarkets like Asda and Tesco have been in the media lately as they’ve started to sell ‘imperfect’ fruit and veg. You can save a fortune buying these products, and who cares what they look like anyway? Especially if you’re just going to chop them up to go in a stew or bolognese anyway.
I recently tried Tesco’s ‘Perfectly Imperfect Apples’ for free through The Orchard. My son has a huge apple addiction at the minute. He doesn’t care what they look like, and these are the perfect size for him so we aren’t wasting anything. They’re only 60p for a big bag, normally I would be spending around £2.50 on apples so it’s a huge saving. The Orchard is also a great way to save on your shop as you receive money off coupons when you take part in their programmes.
- Look out for yellow labels
Supermarkets discount products for loads of reasons, and you can make HUGE savings. Products like bread and meat are discounted heavily because the supermarket can’t sell them after their Sell By Date, but as long as you freeze them or use them straight away they’re a great way to make massive savings. I also bought a load of baby food jars for 10p each instead of 65p just because the company was changing their packaging.
- Track your spending by ordering online or scanning as you shop
Shopping online or using a handheld scanner in store allows you to see how much you’re spending before you get to the end. That way if you’ve overspent you can decide where to make a cut back before you get to the till!