How to Save Money on Food Shopping

Posted on 15 Mar 2017 Posted in  'How To' Articles
How to Save Money on Food Shopping

Here at TopCashback, as well as offering great cashback deals which will save you money on your food & drink shop, we wanted to provide you all with some superb money saving tips which will allow you to eat well for less.

With food prices set to rise as a result of the weaker pound, the supermarket price war which has been raging following the emergence of the likes of Aldi and Lidl is set to come to an end, meaning it is more important than ever to be savvy when buying your groceries.

From making sure you compare prices and switch supermarkets or trying own-brand products to planning your meals, we have come up with some top tips which will ensure you keep the cost down and save money on your weekly shopping bill.

Shopping ListPlan Your Meals

The main reason people overspend when grocery shopping is that they go without knowing what they actually need or will use before their next visit.

The best way to effectively shop for groceries is to come up with a meal plan for the week, fortnight or month of what you are going to eat each day and compile a shopping list of the items you will need.

You should make sure you check your cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what you already have. This will allow you to plan meals around ingredients you have in your kitchen or at least ensure you do not buy something you did not need.

The other key thing is that, once you have written your list, to stick to it and not make impulse buys.

If you find you still end up buying too much, you will discover some great leftover food recipes at Love Food Hate Waste.

A report by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the waste and recycling advisory body, revealed that UK households threw away £13 billion of food which could have been eaten in 2015. This means the average UK household spent £470 on food thrown away which could have been eaten, with the figure rising to £700 for households with children.

Try Own-Brand or Basic Ranges

Do not get sucked into thinking that if something costs more, it has to be better as own-brand items are not only much cheaper than the branded equivalent, but are often great quality.

Supermarkets will separate products into various categories, such as premium, branded, own-brand and value, but do not be fooled by how expensive the packaging looks as you will not necessarily be able to tell the difference.

If you are usually a ‘branded’ shopper, why not, the next time you visit your supermarket, buy the own brand equivalent products?

While you may not like everything, if there are some items which either taste better or the same, you will be able to cut the cost of your shopping bill. This not only applies to food, but also cleaning products and toiletries.

Drop a brand level on everything you buy and you could save around 30%. This means that if you usually spend £90 a week on your grocery shop, you will save a staggering £1,560 a year by doing this.

Visit to read reviews of own-brand products in all of the major supermarkets and see how they compare to branded alternatives.

Buying own-brand is great with basic products such as flour, rice and salt as you will struggle to tell the difference between them and more expensive options. This also applies to toilet paper, kitchen towels and tissues, which you throw away after use anyway.

Take Advantage of Coupons, Reward Cards and Price Guarantees

If you have a supermarket loyalty card, make sure you use it to take advantage of the rewards it offers.

If you always swipe your card at the till but never end up spending the points, make sure you do so the next time you shop - no matter how many you have - as a small saving is better than no saving at all.

You should also keep your eyes open for coupons and money off vouchers being offered by your favourite supermarket, while they are also sometimes found in newspapers and magazines.

Some leading supermarkets also offer price guarantees. Tesco’s Brand Guarantee means that when you buy 10 or more different branded items, they will price match your basket if it is cheaper at Asda, Morrisons or Sainsbury’s. Asda’s Price Guarantee will see them give you the difference if they are not 10% cheaper than Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons or Waitrose on your comparable grocery shop.

Try a Cheaper Supermarket

If you usually shop at Waitrose, Marks & Spencer or Sainsbury’s, do not be put off by the thought of trying Aldi or Lidl one week.

They are often cheaper than the more established supermarkets, and even if you find that you would only be happy buying 75% of your regular items from there, you can still pick up the other 25% from your usual store and make a great overall saving.

You may find that many items are better quality, while the likes of Aldi and Lidl are great for continental alternatives such as Italian or Spanish meats and biscuits.

Buying the bulk of your shopping at one of the cheaper supermarkets and picking up a few branded items you cannot live without at Tesco, Asda or Sainsbury’s will see you cut the cost of your weekly shop significantly.

MarketGo to a Market

You may be able to buy everything you need from a supermarket, but it does not mean you will be getting the best deal on all of the items.

When it comes to buying fruit and veg, for instance, your local market is likely to offer better value produce as lower overheads should result in cheaper prices. What’s more, they will be just as healthy as supermarket alternatives.

Buy a sack of potatoes for a few pounds and this could form the basis for many meals over the course of a month or two.

To find out how much you could save, keep your supermarket receipt then make a note of the prices when you visit your local market to compare them.

Compare Prices

Comparing the price of your weekly shop at various supermarkets is perhaps easier than you think - and will certainly not involve you having to visit them all. is a great site to use if you want to compare the cost of your shopping trolley at all of the major online supermarkets, including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, as well as Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and even Poundland.

Click on an item you buy on a regular basis and not only will it show the price the other stores are offering it at, but you will be able to view similar products which may be cheaper, as well as the average price over the previous 12 months.

Select all the items you regularly buy and you will be able to compare the cost of your basket at the various stores, though you will need to check for any missing items or suggested replacements.

At Mysupermarket, you can save a shopping list and it will tell you which supermarket is the cheapest for those items that particular week. You can also set up alerts for when the price of a particular item drops.

You should bear in mind that a supermarket may change the prices of thousands of products each day, so you should make sure you compare on the day you are going shopping if possible.

Comparing prices will also help you take advantage of any promotions and discounts being offered by the various supermarkets.

BOGOFs - The Good And The Bad

Buy one get one free offers are great - as long as they are on things you would buy each week anyway and products which will not go off before you use them.

They are often used by supermarkets to tempt you into spending more than you need to, so you need to be strict.

They are great for bulk buying items which are not going to perish quickly, such as pasta, rice and frozen veg, but you should always check your maths if you are tempted by what appears to be a good deal as you may find a ‘two for £2’ deal on an item which costs £1. This could result in you buying double what you need and not saving any money.

MeatBuy Cheaper Cuts of Meat

Using a cheaper cut of meat is not necessarily a bad thing, as it depends on what you are using it for.

If you are planning a few slow-cooked dishes, the higher fat content of less expensive cuts such as braising steak, lamb neck and ox cheek are ideal for stews and casseroles as they will produce more flavour.

Slow cooking also gradually breaks down the fibres in cheaper cuts of meat, meaning you will still enjoy great taste at a fraction of the price.

To find out how you can make the most of cheaper cuts of meat, visit the BBC goodfood website.

Buy In BulkBuy in Bulk and Freeze

Buying more of something can often cost you less in the long run, especially if the item in question is on offer.

If there is a three-for-two or buy one get one free deal on mince, for instance, at your local supermarket, you can freeze what you don’t need that particular week.

Alternatively, cook three lots of what you are making with it and freeze two for future use, or use it for three different meals throughout the week. In the case of mince, these could be shepherd’s pie, chilli con carne and spaghetti bolognese.

You can also cook extra portions when preparing an evening meal and eat the leftovers for lunch the following day.

If you need any advice on how to store food and leftovers safely, you will find some great tips on the NHS website.

Some items, meanwhile, have a large mark-up when bought in small quantities, including dried herbs, spices, seeds, nuts and beans, meaning it is always worth buying these items in bulk.

Other Quick Tips

Grow Your Own: wherever you live, you will probably be able to find some space to grow something. This could be a veg patch in your garden, a greenhouse for tomatoes and lettuce or even a window box for herbs.

Don’t Buy Pre-Packed Food: buy pre-packed food and you will pay more, as well as having to dispose of the packaging. This does not just apply to fruit and vegetables, however, as cooked meat could be cheaper from the deli counter, while ready meals are also likely to prove costly.

Buy Reduced Items: reduced items may be close to their sell by date, but you can freeze them and use them later if you don’t need them in the next couple of days. You will find more reduced items if you go to your supermarket later in the day, while you can earn cashback when buying close to or past their best before date items at Approved Food.

Check the Per Unit Price: when it comes to choosing between packs of goods and individual items, checking the cost per unit price is vital if you are to ensure you get the best deal.

Frozen FoodBuy Frozen: frozen fruit and vegetables are often cheaper than fresh, and are just as good for you, as long as you avoid those with added sugar or salt. Frozen vegetables are picked when they are at their freshest, then frozen to seal in the nutrients, while they come pre-chopped and ready to use.

Don’t Shop When Hungry: this may be stating the obvious, but you are more likely to buy snacks and other items which you do not really need if you go shopping when you are hungry, meaning you will end up spending more than you have to.

We hope this has given you some food for thought. Don’t forget, you can earn cashback if you do your grocery shopping online at Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose when you go through us, while if you have any great food shopping money saving tips of your own, post them in the comments section below to help fellow members save even more.

Tonin 07 Jan 19 - 17:51How do I submit receipts from places to earn cash back? I shop at Aldi so not able to do it online, also i’Ve done a shop at Iceland but can’T find out how to do it? Thank you
Toni x
You can find our snap and save offers by visiting :)

Best wishes,
flaherty16 Mar 17 - 15:10Saving a fortune on food bills by going to lidi and aldi
souzza16 Mar 17 - 14:00I didn't know about cash back with grocery shopping! I shop online with Tesco, how do I register for cash back?
Saving in any way is a bonus, so please advise of other companies that are registered for cash back! Do you have an app that can be downloaded, or a site?
Thanks again
Looking forward to saving!
Hey souzza ,
We have different cashback rates for different merchants, with Tesco at the moment we have cashback on a new grocery shop and also when you are an existing customer buying their delivery pass. You can find more info on their cashback rates on their page here: You just need to click through and purchase like you would with normal cashback.

We also have cashback available for certain grocery items, some are exclusively on the app by downloading the app and clicking groceries and some are available to submit on the app and on the desktop site and you can find these offers here: These offers are redeemable when you have a receipt as you have to submit the receipt in order to be rewarded with the cashback.

I do hope this helps!
Best wishes,