With the cost of living going up, some savvy shoppers have shared their tips to drive down the cost of their groceries – including 10p spuds and 3p cucumbers.
Households have been contending with the soaring cost of food, energy , petrol and diesel .
But by picking up discounted items, planning shopping in advance, batch cooking and more shoppers can save a serious wedge on their outgoings.
For example, meal planning can cut the cost of grocery shopping and the time taken doing a weekly shop, according to Gemma Brooks, 32 from Hertfordshire.
Brooks, a member of money saving forum Latest Deals , said: ‘I don’t spend more than £50 a week for all of our shopping needs.
“It’s easy if you plan your meals in advance – I write mine up on a whiteboard in the kitchen. If you plan ahead and get creative you can make food stretch. I always know what meals I am buying ingredients for ahead of time so I can find the cheapest options.’
To get started, Brooks advised shoppers to scan their cupboards and create a meal plan.
Then they can do a grocery shop which only involves getting the ingredients they are missing.
Buying frozen instead of fresh goods can also drive the cost of groceries right down.
Fruits and vegetables, plus some meats and fish can be much cheaper to buy frozen.
Furthermore, you won’t risk wasting anything you don’t use as you can simply freeze it for a later date.
Brooks added: “You don’t need to avoid items typically seen as pricier, such as fish. I recently prepared baked salmon with lemon, new potatoes, peas and green beans. Frozen salmon fillets are a great way to be able to get salmon into your diet while sticking to your budget.
“A pack of frozen fillets costs me £3.30 in Tesco but buying similar amounts in the chilled section easily costs a couple of pounds more.”
Lauren Roddick, is a 33-year-old elderly care assessment nurse from Glasgow, who said she uses her freezer to make food last for longer.
Roddick said “I’ve got two fridge freezers so I freeze the majority of my items. In a Too Good To Go bag I recently got passion fruits, so I scooped out the pulp and put it in ice cube trays, then added them to cocktails which was lovely.
“I always freeze my bread so I will make sure it’s sliced before it goes in the freezer.”
Buying fresh fruit and veg that is in season can also save serious cash on grocery bills.
Laura Bailey, an NHS PA from Leeds and mum of one, said: ‘It is important to have good knowledge of food so you know what you can make with it.
“One summer I picked up several cucumbers at 3p each and lots of tomatoes. I made gazpacho and froze it in containers which I then took to work, and had the perfect chilled soup, as it defrosts during the day.
“Sometimes I just cook any vegetable I have to hand, chuck in some herbs with homemade stock and blend for a quick cheap hot soup in winter.”
Cooking in batches can also help drive shopping and energy bills right down.
Liane Greenly, 38, from Lincoln spent £137 at Aldi for a mega batch cook which lasted her and her partner for three months.
She said: “I made meals which were all similar in their base ingredients and altered by the herbs. For example, spaghetti, lasagna and cottage pie are all similar until the last few ingredients. Batch cooking is easier than cooking each night.”
Other savvy shoppers with access to a garden say growing their own vegetables has cut their bills over time.
Kat Phoenix, 28, from Blaenau Gwent, shared how she started her vegetable crop on a budget.
“Every three months or so, I get reduced potatoes, usually for 5-10p a pack,” she said. “I put them in the back of the cupboard for a few weeks until they sprout and then plant them.
“The tips of leeks, spring onions, carrots and parsnips can be placed in soil of varying depths and go on to grow new produce. Spring onions are particularly useful as they can be placed on the windowsill in just a small amount of water.”
Another tip is to look out for coupons, vouchers and cashback.
Jo Bohm, 36, from the Isle of Wight and mum of two children aged 9 and 12, said: “I find discounts by going to money-saving websites for discount codes.
“It’s always worth checking if you can get cash back on a purchase from Quidco. By combining all of these tricks I have saved loads of money over time.”
Discounted items are also a big help to people trying to save cash on their bills.
Karen Kirton, 59 from Newbury and a grandmother of four, shared her tips:
She said: “I’ll usually shop in Sainsbury’s around 2pm on Wednesday or Thursday. Yellow stickers are being applied for the first time that day, so not the best bargain but still cheaper than if I’d shopped an hour earlier.
“Going later in the evening can be much cheaper. I’ll buy yellow stickered everyday vegetables and meat and fish that I can put straight in the freezer once I get home.”
Tom Church, co-founder of Latest Deals, said: “So many of us have gone into supermarkets intending to buy a few things, only to leave with an entire trolley full of groceries. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to handle the rise in living costs and keep your food bills down.”