How to save money on food- from everyday cooking to eating out

Posted on 20 Aug 2020 Posted in  TopCashback Tips & Updates, How To Articles & Handy Tips
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Healthy Food

Food is one of the biggest and most unavoidable expenses in our daily lives. And if you don’t watch how often you’re spending money on grocery shopping or dining out, it can quickly burn a trolley-sized hole in your pocket.

It’s easy to spend more than you bargained for on food when you’re constantly on the go. But saving money on food doesn’t have to be a chore! Here are five simple habits you can integrate into your daily routine which could save you some serious dollar in the long run.

Sign up to restaurants newsletters and apps

When it comes to eating out, if you’ve got a favourite chain or independent restaurant, signing up to newsletters and apps is definitely worth it.

Loads of restaurants, cafes and fast-food chains offer free food or drinks when you download their apps. For example, Pizza Hut’s app offers points to customers each time they spend over £10. Collect six points you get a free main - result!

Following chains on Instagram and Twitter is also a great way to keep in the know, and to be number one in the queue for those first come first serve offers.

Downshift to supermarket home brands

Most of your basic kitchen staples can be bought from supermarkets’ home value brands, and taste just as good as the more expensive stuff.

Supermarkets will generally have their own slightly cheaper version of household favourites, e.g. Tesco cornflakes. They’ll also have no-frills value products with very basic packaging, for example, Tesco’s everyday value brand Stockwell & Co.

Everyday value-type products might not look as glam as branded products at first glance, but none of that matters once it’s in your tummy!

Go shopping in the evening

The time of day you choose to go food shopping is crucial when it comes to discount-hunting at the supermarket.

Supermarkets tend to put their reduced items out first thing in the morning or in the evening from around 8pm onwards. This is because these are fallow shopping times during which they experience less foot traffic.

Remember, you can always freeze anything you buy from the reduced items section if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat it straight away. Reduced sections are great for getting discounted meat which you can shove in the freezer and save for a later date.

Use zero-waste food apps for groceries and local restaurants

Zero-waste food apps are a great way to get cut-price food. Two of the most popular are Olio and Too Good To Go.

Too Good To Go is used by restaurants and popular chains like YO! Sushi and Costa Coffee to get rid of food they haven’t managed to sell at the end of the day. Once you’ve downloaded the app, it will show you listings for all the places local to you who are selling food at a discounted price. Then simply reserve and pick up!

Olio is slightly different in that it allows people in your area to advertise food they have too much of but don’t want to throw away. People advertise everything on there, from wholemeal bread to fresh courgettes, so it’s definitely one worth checking out before you head to the supermarket.

Plan your meals

Planning your meals can make a world of difference to your monthly budget. Shopping with a meal plan in mind, even if you’re only pre-preparing one meal a day can save you some serious money in the long run as you won’t have to make as many “quick trips” to the supermarket, leaving you less of a margin to splurge.

Batch cooking lends itself to a cheaper food shop as you’ll end up buying in bulk (which is often less expensive than buying small quantities of a particular item), and can freeze anything you won’t eat in the next few days.

The supermarket Iceland are great for stocking up on frozen goods. They’re excellent value for money anyway, but if you are yet to sign up to TopCashback, you can get £15 back when you spend £35 or more on a shop too. Just make sure you have enough room in your freezer!

This post was written by guest author Jessica Aszkenasy, Lead Editor at the UK's number 1 student money advice website.

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