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Could you really save money by… changing your diet?

4 min | 15 January 2024

The Chase team

Can adopting a plant-based diet, cutting out alcohol and shopping seasonally really help you save? We count the costs and offer tips for adapting your diet and maximising your grocery budget.

From cutting down on caviar to consuming only food you’ve foraged yourself, changing your diet can help you save in many ways.

And it doesn’t have to be extreme. In this article, we’re sharing a few changes you can embrace at a level that could suit you.

Switching to a plant-based diet

Whether you’re trying Veganuary or just cutting down on red meat, adopting a plant-based diet can offer numerous benefits to you and the planet – but what about your wallet?

Comparing the costs

If you prefer meals that centre on meat, going plant-based may not be very cost-effective.

Meat substitutes have improved recently, but they’re arguably not as tasty as the real thing – and they’re rarely much cheaper.

You’ll save more if you opt for fresh vegetables and look to legumes and grains for protein.

You might spend more time in the kitchen, but you could broaden your culinary horizons and make your grocery budget go further in the process.

How much you could save

The cost difference between meat and substitutes can often be negligible – we saw £3.38 for 225g of steak vs £3 for 227g of plant-based steak – to non-existent – £1.45 for 275g of bacon vs £1.99 for just 180g of plant-based bacon.

If bought every day over a week, you could save just £2.66 on steaks or end up spending over £10 extra to purchase an equivalent amount of plant-based bacon.

At the same time, a 390g can of lentils costs only 59p – £2.79 less than the steak.

Choosing beans and greens, you could save nearly £20 a week – around £1,000 a year.

Cutting out alcohol

Whether you’re doing Dry January or can’t make it through the winter without mulled wine, reassessing your alcohol habits could help you make healthy choices – at the pub and in your pocket.

Comparing the costs

But what about the cost to your social life? It seems obvious to say that you don’t have to drink when you go out, but it’s true. Meeting friends at the pub is often more about the ritual than the drink itself. 

You could also choose a day or two each week to opt for soft drinks or invite friends over for a drink at home (BYOB, of course).

How much you could save

Although a pint of beer in a central London pub could set you back £6.50, a lime and soda can cost a mere £1 (50p if you’re on halves). You could save over £10 by opting for the lime and soda rather than two pints. And this is just based on switching from pints. If you usually drink cocktails or fine wine, the savings could be much more.

By ditching the pints for lime and soda two nights a week, you could save nearly £600 to over £1,000 a year.

Shopping seasonally

Purchasing local, fresh produce in season can benefit farmers, the environment and your health. But can it help with your budget?

Comparing the costs

Although buying seasonal produce might seem synonymous with farmer’s markets, you can actually shop this way at your local supermarket.

We’re used to being able to pick up most fruits and vegetables year-round, but what’s in season is usually available at a discount during its peak time of year.

And shopping seasonally can be not just economical but also eco-friendly – out-of-season vegetables tend to have been flown in from wherever they are in season, often thousands of miles away.

How much you could save

Discounts may vary, but can be 20% or more. For example, a pack of six UK-grown apples regularly priced at 95p may go on offer at 69p – a 29% saving of 26p.

Although that may not seem like much by itself, it can make a big difference. If you spend an average of £10 on produce each week, saving 20% each time will add up to over £100 each year.

However you choose to eat, Chase current accounts make it easy to keep an eye on your grocery budget. You can open up to 20 accounts and start tracking what you’re saving – and spending – on groceries, going out and more.

18+, UK residents.

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