How we reduce our Grocery Spending

I don't know about you, but I am spending an eye-watering amount on food at the moment. Inflation hit my grocery shop hard, and we're having to re-implement old frugal hacks in an attempt to bring the monthly shopping budget back down to a level that doesn't make me wince every time I see it. Since becoming a second income family we relished in being able to buy extra items and loosen the reigns a little when it came to buying our weekly ingredients, but life is expensive again and there are things we want to save for, so frugality is coming into play in full swing and we'll be embracing it as best as we can. There will be some adjusting for sure, but needs must, and life isn't always bougie -  sometimes you're counting pennies and hoping for the best. 

Here's what we're implementing over the coming weeks to attempt to bring our weekly shop down. A word of warning, this isn't 'here's a coupon I found for my favourite expensive item'. This is sacrificial, self-control inducing rules for shopping. It means missing out on things, and being proactively organised. It isn't the fun way of saving money, but it is helpful, and with the rise of people falling into debt, and the average household debt increasing by almost £5000 yearly, there will be some who want to know how to do this. I hope this helps in some way. 

1. Shop your pantry first

Before you decide what to eat, look at what you already have. Prioritise things that are going out of date first - vegetables, fruits and older tins of things in the cupboard - and then meal plan around those. There are recipe building websites that can help as sometimes you end up needing to create a meal you've not made before for the sake of using up the random end of cabbage you have, but try to use up anything that isn't going to last. On the weeks when my cupboard is lacking I literally write everything down that I have. From there I can then work out what to build my meals around, and sometimes my meals end up being a little whacky as I use things up that need to be finished, but having it all written in one place really helps me understand how much I have in the house to begin with - surprisingly it often ends up being more than I thought! 

2. Meal plan each meal

When I don't meal plan I throw random things in the basket and get home to realise I don't have full meals, or half the ingredients I need to get me through the week. This then often turns into me throwing food away that I bought excessively, and it feels wasteful on all counts. Write down what you're going to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then write out how much of that you'll need. If you know your family is going to need 3 loaves of bread that week, then write that down so that you're not left short. Go shopping with a full idea of what you'll need and how much. 

3. Stick to your list

In the process of meal planning, write down those things that you like to eat too. There's no point not writing crisps on the list when you know full well you like to have a packet at lunchtime. Similarly, decide on some items that you want. You might want to put a limit on this (say 3 things each, for example), but having some things which feel a little more special, and don't mean you are so heavily restricted means that you're more likely to stick to the list, rather than throwing in the towel and getting rid of any sense of self-control. 

4. Start at the basic supermarket range

Honestly, the amount of products that will pleasantly surprise you! There's a stigma around the supermarket own brand items, that they are poor quality and taste bad, but in reality most are just a more simplistic branding package! With every item, try it from the bottom range and work your way up. Some things won't be to your taste, but others will be perfectly suitable (if not more agreeable!) in your kitchen, and when you find our that most are also healthier you'll be winning! Top tip - if the look of your home is important (let's admit it, we love it when the Lurpak is in the fridge when guests come over!), then decant! Cheap value pasta can be decanted into a beautiful glass jar and nobody would be any the wiser!

5. Shop in one store consistently

This seems counter-cultural because we love hunting for a bargain, but when you factor in time, travelling expenses, and the extra items you inevitably end up buying, shopping around actually ends up costing you more. Stick with one shop (and the loyalty scheme on offer there) and over time you'll end up saving more.

6. Once you've run out, you've run out

This is where meal planning really takes precedent - and I mean good meal planning, where you are factoring in breakfasts, lunch and any snacks you may need too. Try to plan for exactly what you may need but, once it's run out, make do without until the next shopping session. This gets really interesting as you learn to cook meals using different ingredients, or make random snacks out of what's left in the house - that learning curve is so beneficial for being able to put meals together when you are short and have 6 seemingly uncoordinated ingredients left in the house! Aim to be shopping once a week so you only have to wait a maximum of 6 days for the item, and then see it out. 

7. Remember to drink enough

Without meaning to be crude about eating, the majority of us aren't actually getting enough hydration in and so are confusing thirst for hunger. Make sure you are getting the recommended 2 litres in each day and the snacking may slow a little too - helpful for penny pinching times! (whilst we're on that subject, keeping yourself occupied is always good too - boredom eating is a killer!).

8. Home make as much as you can, where it's cheaper

Even cooking fancy meals at home ends up saving you money in the long term, so this is where you get to utilise any culinary skills you may have. In an ideal world, the cheapest way of eating would be to do all the prep work and cooking yourself, using low cost ingredients, but life is busy and sometimes needs must. The more you can cook and prep from home though, the more you save. Cut and peel your own vegetables, boil your own pasta and potatoes, and make your own sauces....everything ends up working out better for your wallet (and you'll probably find it healthier too!)

9. Contact people for help if you need.

It would be foolish of me to write a list of ways to reduce grocery spending without recognising that, for some of you, this is a really difficult season and you need some serious help. A few years ago I remember having almost nothing in the bank and needing to feed my kids, frantically YouTubing cheap meals. I cooked hotdogs, onions and potatoes for three days straight after seeing the wartime recipe on a budget cooking channel. There is help out there for you and, if you can, please use it. I've listed at the bottom of this blog some helpful places you can go for support - and my inbox is always open if you want some extra support in that too x

What are some of the ways you reduce your grocery spending? I'd love to hear from you! Send me an email on and let's get in touch!

Until next time...

Helpful Resources:

Citizens Advice -

Trussell Trust -

Salvation Army -

UK Debt Service -


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