Look out for supermarket special offers.
Remember that prices change daily at supermarkets and can also fluctuate between stores.
Consider using a cheaper supermarket such as Aldi or Lidl.
Plan ahead, write out a shopping list so you know exactly what you need
Share - have you thought about sharing dried herbs and spices with a neighbour? We often buy dried foods such as herbs and spices that we might not use regularly, swapping and sharing is a great way to increase your options of flavours without impacting on your finances.
Consider going down a brand
Why not try one of the supermarkets’ own brands?Lots of their own brands and value ranges are just as good as the leading brands.
Use cheaper cuts of meat
Try shin of beef, brisket and skirt cooked slowly, as it will be really tender and tasty. Use leftovers in pasta or with salad for lunch.
Consider cheaper alternatives
Vegetarian protein is cheaper than chicken, but it is tasty and easy to cook with. Look at substituting Quorn for chicken in your recipes or go half and half.
Be inventive – substitute expensive ingredients in recipes with a similar, but cheaper, alternative – eg tinned pilchards or mackerel in place of fresh mackerel.
Chicken thighs are cheaper than breasts and can be substituted in recipes. Thighs are cheapest with the skins on, but always remove the skins before cooking to reduce fat.
Bulk-out meals with cheaper products
Beans and pulses are good (especially red lentils as these take on the flavour of the foods they are mixed with)a healthy way to bulk out meals, and also provide a good source of protein for vegetarians.
Add grated vegetables to casseroles, chilli and curries
Buy products when they are on offer
Buy potatoes when you can get 2 packs for the price of 1 and store them in a sack in the shed or garage – they will keep for ages. Try not to be tempted to buy if something just because it is on offer, always ask yourself will use it and do you need it?
Use local markets
Shop at local markets for fresh fruit and vegetables – buy locally grown fruit and vegetables, which are environmentally friendly and cheaper than something which has been flown thousands of miles!
Shop just before they finish for the day when very often they will sell large amounts cheaply.
Why not take a look at your local Facebook/social media groups where you live, as often people have grown more than they can use and often give away their surplus or sell for very low prices.
Use foods in season
Again, being locally grown they are probably cheaper than something that has been flown thousands of miles.
If you know someone with an allotment, see if they will share their produce with you. Many allotment holders are proud of what they grow and happy to give some to people who will appreciate it.
Use the freezer
Fresh fruit, particularly berries, can be expensive but buy them frozen and the price goes right down. Defrost them and serve on your cereal or with low-fat yoghurt, or warm them and serve with frozen yoghurt for a quick, low-fat dessert.
Frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh, so buy in large quantities when on special offer. They’re always quick and easy to cook.
Try buying bags of assorted frozen fish as a cheaper alternative to fresh fish.
Get the most out of everything you have
Cut an assortment of root vegetables (whatever you have in the house) into large chunks, place a chicken breast/pork chop etc on top, cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes at Gas Mark 4. Remove foil and bake for a further 10 minutes to add a bit of colour and then serve. For meat-free alternatives roast the vegetables on their own for 20 mins, add your meat-free alternative, cover again and roast for a further 20 mins. Remove foil and bake for a further 10 minutes to add a bit of colour and then serve.
Cook a chicken, take all the meat off the bone and use for a roast dinner, pasta dishes, casserole etc and use the carcass to make stock for homemade soup. It’s easy, filling and cheap
Go back to basics
Low-fat sausages with mashed potatoes and vegetables make a great quick, easy and cheap low-fat meal. Baked beans on toast is a great low-fat lunch.
Casseroles, stews, Bolognese and chilli are all good comfort food, low fat and can be made relatively cheaply. Add extra vegetables to make them go further.
1 can of chopped tomatoes mixed with some dried herbs makes a great basis for a pasta sauce and is really cheap too!
Make the most of leftovers
Cook extra portions for your evening meal so you can have the leftovers for lunch the next day. Any leftovers can be frozen for another day. Eventually, you'll have a freezer full of homemade ready meals on tap
Budget meal suggestions