How to save money on groceries

5 min | 12 February 2024

The Chase team

The rise in the cost of living is affecting prices for everyone, from suppliers and supermarkets to the end consumer. Government figures show food and drink prices rose by almost 20% in the year to March 2023.

Finding ways then to save money when you’re buying food and groceries could add up to big savings over the course of a year. Thinking creatively, planning meals and budgeting can all help you make the most of your time and money.

If you’re looking for some simple but effective ways to cut down your weekly grocery bill, here are some helpful tips.

Before you shop

Plan your meals. Check what you have in your kitchen first before planning your main meals for the week ahead. Think creatively to cut down on food waste. For example, you could bulk up a Bolognese with leftover mushrooms.

Go meat-free. Meat tends to cost more than plant-based alternatives, so try a meat-free day or two every week. You could save money and open yourself up to some tasty vegetarian alternatives.

Make a shopping list. Using your meal plan, write down what you’ll need to buy, along with any other items you need that week. You could use your phone or old-fashioned pen and paper. The main thing is that your list helps you avoid buying stuff you don’t need.

Use price comparison tools. Price comparison sites and apps work by scanning the price of items across the various supermarkets. Use them to find where the product you’re after is available at the best price. The Office for National Statistics has launched a shopping prices comparison tool (Opens in new window) so you can see how the prices of hundreds of items are changing. This might help with deciding which items to prioritise.

Try a supermarket's own brands. An effective way to save is to switch to a supermarket’s own brand range. You could discover products that are similar to – or better than – the branded versions.

Let’s talk money

Try to set a food budget. Start by scanning your bank statements to see how much you roughly spend on groceries over a typical month. If you think you can trim your spending, set a target and record each food shop over the course of the month to see how you do.

One way to stick to your food budget is to just take cash to the shop. Another way is to allocate a separate account that's only used for groceries. With Chase you can open multiple current accounts quickly and spend from any of them with one card.

When to shop

Aim for once a week.This is trickier if you get to the supermarket only to find wilting veg and empty shelves. But by keeping your shopping trips to a minimum, you’re less likely to overspend on impulse items. If you go in the evening or early morning, you could grab reductions and mark-downs too.

Where to shop

Choose superstores over local branches. If you compare the price of some items in a large branch of a supermarket to one near a station or on the high street, there could be a price difference simply because one location is more convenient.

Find your closest farmers' market. Weekly markets can offer bargains on fruits and vegetables, as well as other produce like fresh fish and whole foods.

Shop online to avoid overspending. Most supermarkets offer cheaper delivery if you choose a slot that’s a few days away or at an off-peak delivery time. Shopping online also means you’re less likely to add items you don’t need – and more likely to stick to your budget.

At the supermarket

Compare prices by weight. Could you save money by opting for loose fruit and veg instead of pre-packaged? Use the weighing scales in the store to measure and compare. This could also apply to other items like cereal or flour, where buying a larger pack could be cheaper.

Don’t shop when hungry. This is a no-brainer. You’re more likely to buy things you didn’t intend to if you’ve arrived at the shops hungry. Have something to eat beforehand and avoid overspending on snacks you don’t need.

At home

Make the most of your freezer. Batch cooking and freezing meals in advance is not only convenient for when you don’t feel like cooking, but it also preserves the nutrients and freshness of the ingredients. You can freeze fresh herbs and fruits with a short shelf-life, like berries, too.

Explore cheaper alternatives for cleaning products. There are plenty of cleaning hacks using simple ingredients like vinegar and baking soda that could save you money and cut down on the chemicals you’re using around the home.

Tackling your shopping list using some planning and budgeting could help you make savings and discover a different approach to your weekly food shop.

Looking for somewhere to keep your savings? Bank with Chase and you can open a saver account. Start saving with as little as you like, and we’ll calculate your interest daily and pay it monthly.

18+, UK residents. A Chase current account is required to open a saver account.

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