How to save money on food

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Saving money and reducing costs can be tough, especially when it comes to cutting down on the essentials. And there’s nothing more essential than food. 

Here are some tips on how to save money on food shopping:

1. Go food shopping with a budget and a meal plan

Creating a food budget before you start food shopping can help save you money. A budget sets out how much money you expect to get and spend over a certain period of time. 

First, work out how much of your income you can afford to spend on food, taking into account other essentials like bills.

Thinking about meals in advance and creating a weekly meal plan can be helpful too. In your meal plan, take into account the ingredients you already have at home, so you only need to buy the missing items.

You can use Monzo to set a food budget and track your progress every month.

We automatically put all your spending into categories like groceries, bills or eating out, and you can set budgets for each one. We’ll tell you whether or not you’re on track too and if you’re spending too fast (if you want it!).


Open a Monzo Bank account and start budgeting today!💰

2. Buy 'own brand' products 

Lots of people think that if something costs more, it must be better. But this idea is an expensive one! Brands use packaging and language like 'luxury' to make a product look better (and more expensive!) than the cheaper or more 'basic' version of the same thing. 

When grocery shopping, make sure you look out for own brand products over branded or premium products. It's always worth checking what's in them to see if premium or branded really does mean a change in ingredients or quality.

If you want to give it a go, try taking on the Downshift Challenge. 

How to start the Downshift Challenge

The Downshift Challenge puts all grocery items into different 'brand levels', and the challenge is to drop a level lower than you'd usually buy.

The next time you go food shopping, try to buy products one level lower than you usually do. If you can't tell the difference,  stick with the cheaper one!

Brand Levels:

Premium: Will often include words like 'finest' 

Branded: This can be products like Kellogg's cereal or Perrier sparkling water

Own brand: The supermarket's own brand product 

Value: Often include words like 'savers' or 'basic' 

If you're food shopping for your family or your housemates, you could even get them to test the same food from different brand levels as a 'blind test', with no packaging, to see if there's a difference in taste!

According to the Mysupermarket comparison website, people can cut the bill on their weekly shop by up to 30% trying the Downshift Challenge! 

3. Compare the cost of your trolley

Mysupermarket can also help you compare everything on your shopping list, to make sure you're getting the best deal. It includes big supermarkets like Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Waitrose, Morrisons and Sainsbury's, among others. 

Mysupermarket can also look at Superdrug, Amazon and Boots for things like toiletries. It also shows alternatives of things that might be cheaper!

4. Go to a local market for your food shopping

Another way to save money on food is shopping from local market stalls. 

Prices can vary, so it's important to do your research and work out if food shopping at your local market is cheaper than doing  a weekly shop at a big supermarket. 

It might be helpful to keep receipts from your supermarket shop, so you can compare it with prices from the local market.

5. Waste not, want not

Throwing away food that’s still good to eat is one of the biggest ways people end up wasting money on food. Understanding exactly what the 'best before' and 'display until' dates mean can make a difference to your grocery bill and can help you save money.

'Use-by' dates mean chuck food away after this date, as otherwise it's a health risk.

'Best before' dates mean food is usually still okay to eat after this date, so don't waste money by throwing perfectly edible food away.

'Display until' dates are just instructions for the shop staff so they know when to take something off the shelves!

Monzo makes it easy to budget, set savings goals and track your spending. Find out more about saving with Monzo here! 💪