Financial Leftovers: Saving Money on Your Food

Oct 23

I’ve recently got into the habit of closely monitoring all of my spending throughout the week, and was horrified to discover that, at the end of the first seven days, almost half of my total output was squandered on food alone. Let me get one thing straight; I don’t eat that much. So how could I possibly have been unleashing such a huge portion of my weekly allowance on all things edible? If you too find yourself in a similar predicament, you might find it helpful that I have compiled a few tips on food to help you discover what you don’t save on, and how you can.

Shop on a full-stomach

This is a technique that has emanated from the laws of common sense; if you start looking at food while you’re hungry, the likelihood is that everything will look good to you. Self-control is much harder to establish when your stomach is taking part in the internal wrestling match, so pacify these desires by shopping soon after a meal. This also helps you buy things in portions more appropriate to what you’ll actually need – it’s the difference between buying a medium pizza or a large one, for instance.

Use your use-by dates

Planning your meals for the week is a great idea, and one way to optimise this is by taking into account any use-by dates on your food and arranging meals chronologically. If you’re not so great at planning ahead, try to stick to things with long lifespans, such as cans of food or frozen food. If you find yourself throwing food away quite often due to their expiration date, it’s worth avoiding those tempting promotions, because you’ll probably be losing money on what you end up canning.

Leftovers go a long way

If you end up cooking more than you can stomach, freezing any leftovers – avoiding things that shouldn’t be reheated, of course – can make for an easy yet nutritious meal later on. Overall this costs a lot less than ready meals and can end up being just as fast to prepare, and as long as you’re a decent cook, is probably a lot tastier too.

Shopping list

This one is so obvious but so often overlooked. Write a list BEFORE you hit the shops, and stick with it meticulously. Take someone with you who you trust will help enforce this if you feel like you need them, until you feel confident that you can stick firmly to what you’ve planned. At the end of each shop, take a total of how much you’ve spent and set it to yourself as a target to beat next time. Don’t be afraid to try other supermarkets too, to scout out the lowest prices for each product on your weekly list.


David Ingram is a writer and blogger with a passion for frugal living. By day, he works for Hunters Estate Agents Marylebone, and by night he scours the net for new ways to save for his dream move to York.