Ways to save on food
- Which? explains 10 steps that could help cut your food costs
- Tasty tips that will help your budget stretch further
- How using the web could help control your supermarket spending
10 ways to save on food
Here are 10 tips for cutting the cost of food and drink - whether you're eating in, dining out or taking away a morning coffee.
1. Cut the cost of your morning coffee
Cutting costs can mean skipping luxuries – like the morning coffee on the way to work. But if you can’t do without, you’ll probably get a better deal from an independent coffee shop. When Which? last compared the cost of take away coffees, we found that a medium cappuccino cost £2.29 at Starbucks, while independents were typically charging £1.48.
2. Buy what you can in bulk
Buying in bulk is a simple way to save. If you own or manage your own business, it’s worth signing up with a wholesale retailer such as Costco, which has more than 20 outlets in the UK. There is a £20 annual membership fee, but anyone with membership can add up to six additional members for £12 each. See Costco's website for more information. Other wholesale retailers to consider include Makro and Bestway.
3. Click to make supermarket shopping cheaper
Use the website MySupermarket.co.uk to compare the price of a basket of goods at the UK's 'big four' supermarkets - Asda, Sainsbury's, Ocado and Tesco - instantly showing you what you could save by shopping around. If you've selected your items via one retailer and discover another is cheaper, this nifty site will transfer all your choices for you - while its price and health checkers also suggest money and healthy-eating tips.
4. Try cheaper cuts of meat
Choosing a cheaper cut of meat, such as braising steak over fillet, doesn’t mean missing out on a tasty meal. A slow cooker can gradually break down the fibres in cheaper meat, giving great taste at a lower cost. If you're interested in buying one, make sure you check out our Which? Best Buys.
5. Be careful when buying organic
If you are going to pay extra for organic produce, you need to know what you are getting for your money. Products that claim to be organic must be accredited by a certification body, so check the packaging to make sure you’re not being ripped off.
6. Don't dismiss supermarket own brands
Buying supermarket basic and budget ranges can produce significant savings - and you may find that avoiding big brands doesn't mean compromising on taste. A recent Which? test found that supermarket tomato ketchups beat Heinz hands down, for example - while our champagne taste tests often see cheaper bubblies perform just as well as pricier bottles. Visit Supermarketownbrandguide.co.uk for a wide variety of information on the quality of own brand products.
7. Make your own
Many people drink smoothies as a healthy shortcut to their five-a-day, but there’s nothing healthy about the price of these drinks. Buying a smoothie maker and blending your own could save you a significant sum if you're a regular smoothie drinker. Read our review to find out which models our Which? experts rated.
8. Get great value in restaurants
Visiting a restaurant is likely to leave a dent in your wallet, so when you do splash out make sure you get value for money. The offers hundreds of recommendations, and also contains £50 worth of money-saving vouchers.
9. Get rewarded for your spending
When shopping for treats, choose retailers that offer good reward schemes. John Lewis/Waitrose typically perform very well in Which? satisfaction surveys, and offer a credit card reward scheme for customers that gives one point for every £1 spent in its stores and one point for every £2 spent elsewhere. Partnership Card points are then redeemed as John Lewis vouchers.
10. Don't be duped by discounts
Special discounts such as buy-one-get-one-free deals can offer good value, but be careful. Only buy items you actually need and are likely to keep and use – toiletries like toothpastes and shampoos are a good example, as are toilet rolls. Markdowns on perishables at the end of the shopping day are another way to bag a saving - but only if you know you'll use whatever you buy.