How to Save Money on Your Food Shop in 2024

With the cost-of-living crisis continuing into 2024 the public are feeling more pressure than ever to cut back where they can and find ways they can save on their monthly outgoings. We have worked with Personal Finance Expert, Alex Kosuth-Phillips from thimbl., to share his tips on how the public can get the most out of their food shop and make key savings.

There’s no denying that groceries take up a lot of our monthly budget. The cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks rose by a shocking 18.3% between May 2022 and May 2023. Among the worst offenders were basic staples such as cheese, yoghurt, and milk.

Food poverty is a huge issue in the UK. In January 2023, 17.7% of UK households were ‘food insecure.’ 16.5% said they had eaten less and skipped meals, 11% admitted that they had not eaten even when hungry, and 6.1% had gone a whole day without eating because they were unable to access or afford food.

Here, Alex Kosuth-Phillips has shared tips on how to save money on your weekly shop.

1. Plan ahead

“Planning your meals in advance will save you time, as well as money.

Before you head out, write down every meal you intend to make throughout the week and list exactly what ingredients you will need for each. Having a strict plan in place makes it easier for us to stay focused and buy only what we need.”

2. Never shop when you’re hungry

“Shopping when we’re feeling peckish is lethal for our wallets. We’re no longer thinking with our heads; we’re thinking with our empty stomachs.

How many of us have rushed straight out to the supermarket after work, stomach grumbling, and returned home with a multipack of doughnuts, some Pringles, a cheesecake, and seven bars of Dairy Milk?

… Guilty!

Reduce the risk of impulse buying by eating a meal or a snack before you head out.”

3. Own-brand brilliance

“This is perhaps one of the most cost-effective ways to ace food shopping on a budget. In the past, it’s possible that a fair few of us might have associated supermarket ‘own-brand’ products with low quality. A compromise in taste has surely got to be the reason these things are so much cheaper than brand-named versions, right? Wrong!

In fact, when put to various taste tests, it was revealed that many own-brand labels differ only in price, with numerous testers claiming not to be able to tell the difference.”

4. DON’T bring home the bacon!

“A vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone, but even adapting to a ‘flexitarian’ regime could help to reduce your household bills by 14%. It’s a common myth that vegetarian food costs more. In fact, many vegetarian dishes are considered to be money-saving meals.

Animal-based products are often the most expensive part of a meal, so swapping this for tofu, beans and pulses, or Quorn just once a week may save you money over the course of a year.

Adding tofu (99p) to your curry instead of diced chicken breast (£2.49) could save you £1.50, and swapping cooked chicken breast slices (£1.49) for falafel (£1.25) when making yummy wraps could save you 24p (based on Aldi prices, correct as of 5th January 2024).”

5. The late-date game

“It’s good to know the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use-by’ dates – this could help you keep food for longer and prevent you having to spend money on replacing food before it’s necessary,” Alex says. Best before means that the product will taste better in terms of quality and flavour before this date. There is no real risk if you choose to consume after the best before period, although it’s wise to check the product first – use the sniff test!

Use-by means that the product must be eaten before midnight on the date shown. Consuming after this date could make you poorly.”

“Supermarkets usually put products with imminent use-by and best before dates towards the front of the shelves. If we’re in a hurry, we may grab the first packet we see and later discover that to get your money’s worth, we are now faced with the prospect of scoffing 6 pork pies in 24 hours. It’s well worth rummaging around towards the back of the shelves to see if you can bag the latest use-by or best before dates. This means more time to enjoy the product, and less chance of having to throw it away in a few days’ time.”

6. Trolley dash

“If you’re searching for the best deal on a particular item and you’re curious to see how much prices vary between stores, check out It compares the cost of products across all major UK supermarkets and considers current promotional offers, potentially helping you to save money on food shopping.”

Eve Crabtree

Eve Crabtree is a journalist with a passion for interior design. She keeps up to date with the latest trends in the interior industry and regularly tests her hand at crafting and redecorating during her spare time.