5 Great Tips on How to Cut Down Supermarket Spending | #ThisGirlEats

Lots of people said they found one of my recent posts about saving money on our weekly shop pretty helpful (‘We Cut Down Our Family Food Shop to £25 Per Week – And Now There’s No Looking Back! Here’s How…‘) which is, obviously, bloomin’ awesome!

So I thought I’d follow it up (sort of) with a few little tips and tricks on exactly how we stick to our shopping budget. I touched on a few things here in the previous post, but hopefully this goes into a little more detail and is useful enough to perhaps give you one or two ideas on how to save a few extra quid on your own food shop.

Make full use of scan ‘n’ go.

Many supermarkets now offer an in-store system where you pick up a little handset and scan the items yourself as you shop, then simply connect the scanner to a till at the end of your shop and pay the total.

As well as being super quick and convenient, this fairly new way of shopping can really help you save money. As you scan the item, its price will show on the screen and you can keep an eye on the total cost of your trolley as you go. This can be incredibly useful if you’re trying to be mindful of how much you’re spending and can stop you going over budget. We all know how easy it is to just pull things off the shelves and end up spending way more than planned, so these scan and go systems are a pretty handy tool.


Stay away from the reduced section, unless you have lots of willpower.

This might sound like an unusual one. It’s fair to say the reduced section of the supermarket does have some great price cuts and if you stumble across a good bargain then it’s well worth it.

But the problem with the reduced section is that it also persuades us to buy things we don’t really need. I don’t think I’ve ever been lucky enough to find anything from my shopping list hidden in the reduced section, but I have found plenty of other tempting treats lurking there, like half price ready meals and cream cakes. That’s all well and good, but if you’re looking to keep costs at a minimum you’re likely to be swayed into spending unnecessary pennies in this aisle so, unless you’ve got tremendous willpower, I’d say you’re better off just steering clear altogether.

Don’t forget about the world food aisle.

You might think that going for supermarket value brands is always going to be the cheapest options and, in the majority of cases, you’d be right. But there are a few ingredients you can actually pick up at a cheaper price if you just check out the world food aisle.

Black beans, for example, are 65p in ASDA if you go for the supermarket brand. However, in the world food section you’ll find a tin of Sammy’s Black Beans exactly the same size for 50p. Again, 400ml of ASDA coconut milk will cost you 79p whereas 400ml of Caribbean Choice coconut milk comes in at just 63p. This isn’t the case with every product, but it’s a similar story in most major supermarkets and is worth having a look to save some extra money. Check on comparison websites (mysupermarket.com is always a good shout!) to find the cheapest option before you shop.

Be careful bulk buying fruit and vegetables.

Large, prepackaged bags of onions, potatoes, apples, bananas, etc. can seem quite good value for money, and that’s because they often are. If you quite regularly use fresh ingredients when you cook, or your family eat quite a lot of one particular fruit or veg, buying in bulk is great value for money.

But be careful with this. If you only need one or two portions of a certain fruit or vegetable, it’s probably worth just picking up exactly what you need. It might not strike you as the best value option at first, but think about whether you’re going to actually eat it all. If it’s going to go off and get thrown out, then that’s the absolute opposite of saving money. Basically, the advice here is if you’re using a large quantity of a particular produce then buy in bulk but, if you’re not, just pick up what you need from the loose fruit and veg crates so nothing goes to waste.


Don’t buy so much meat!

I’m not just saying this as a veggie – I’m saying this as someone who only turned veggie because they literally couldn’t afford to buy meat! Even without taking anything else like ethics or the environment into consideration, you’ve got to admit that cutting down on meat will almost always equal cutting down on costs.

Even if you don’t go full-on veggie, you can always just consider making some swaps here and there to save a few pennies. For example, in ASDA (I’m using this supermarket again because it’s my local), 500g of even the cheapest, fattiest mince costs £1.89, while a 454g packet of their own brand meat-free mince costs only £1.50 and has waaay less fat in it (500g of leaner, lower fat mince ranges from £2.28 to £3.31!). Also, you can get 6 Quorn Meat Free Chicken Fillets (approx. 300g) for £1.70, whereas 250g of actual chicken mini fillets costs £1.99. See, we’re not just pushing an agenda – it really can save you money!



RECIPE: English Breakfast Bake | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 2
How much does it cost? This recipe cost me less than £1 per person.
What are the benefits? This dish provides three of your five a day, is low in fat, and is suitable for vegetarians.

Brinner. Breakfast for dinner, right? I like a fry up, but I don’t like how bloated and gross I feel afterwards, or how the guilt lingers with me all day (unless I’m hungover, in which case it’s not an indulgence, it’s a necessity!).

This oven-baked, breakfast-inspired dinner is a healthier, fresher version of your typical greasy spoon serving and makes a great evening meal – although I suppose you could always save some up for breakfast too!

It’s a brilliant source of veggies with three of your ‘5 A Day’ in there (baked beans count as one, how bloody great is that?!) so it feels like a fry up but you’re actually feeding your body total goodness. And, hey, at only 93p per person you can get your fill of “brinner” for only a fraction of the cost!

2 Baking Potatoes, Cubed
2 Onions, Sliced
10 Mushrooms
1 Tin of Baked Beans
4 Eggs

When the potatoes go into the roasting tin, they’ll want to be seasoned pretty heavily – you want a good heap of dried rosemary or dried thyme (or both!) all over them, as well as some dried garlic, salt and pepper. Make sure whenever new vegetables are added to the tin they are seasoned with a teeny tiny bit more salt and pepper, and also add a pinch to the fried eggs.

So, this is how I did it…

1. Add the potato cubes to a large roasting tin, coat with a drop of oil or cooking spray and all of the seasoning, and cook on 200°C for 40 minutes.

2. Add the onions to the roasting tin for the last 20 minutes of cooking time. Then, 5 minutes later, add the mushrooms for the final 15 minutes of cooking time.

3. Heat a large frying pan with a very small amount of oil or some cooking spray, crack the eggs into the pan once the oil is hot, and fry until cooked (on a high heat this should only takes 5 minutes or so).

4. Empty the beans into a bowl and microwave according to packet instructions (usually a couple of minutes minutes), or heat in a saucepan on the hob – whichever you prefer!

5. Remove the roasting tin from the oven, pour the beans over the potatoes, onions and mushrooms, and place the eggs on top. Perfect! 🍳

Tips & Tricks!

  • Mix things up! Give it some more veggie goodness by throwing in both sweet potato and normal potato cubes 🍠
  • You could easily downsize this and actually make a tray bake breakfast out of it! It is the most important meal of the day, after all.
  • If you have meat in the fridge that needs using up, sausages and bacon could obviously be included with this dish and make a very tasty addition – but, of course, it won’t be quite so low fat so bear that in mind 🥓

We Ate Like Students For One Week in Our Mid-Twenties. It Was Pretty Grim. | #ThisGirlEats

Times are tough, guys. I’m skint. You’re probably skint too. Affording food has become somewhat of a ridiculous luxury. Spending £50 on fresh ingredients every week makes my foodie heart very happy, but leaves my bank balance severely unimpressed.

broke dude.gif

In order to cut costs, my boyfriend suggested a break from creating blog-friendly food for a week (HOW VERY DARE HE?!) and make a “student” shopping list. Unlike myself, he’s never actually lived a student lifestyle, so I was given the task of creating a shopping list to feed us both, three meals a day, for a week, for £25. I did it – but how did he cope with our budget banquet? And how did we feel after a week living like students in our mid-20s?

First, I’ll give you a little run down of what we actually ate for the week:

Day 1
Bowl of porridge made with water
Jam sandwich, packet of crisps, cereal bar, last week’s grapes
Frozen pizza, oven chips, baked beans

Day 2
Bowl of porridge made with water
Wrap made with whatever I could find in the fridge (some slightly out of date veggies), cereal bar, and an orange
Went to a student pub with some mates and ordered a “Burger and a Pint” meal deal from the menu

Day 3
Bowl of porridge made with water
Another leftover “whatever was in the fridge” wrap, packet of crisps, cereal bar, and an orange
Frozen pizza, oven chips, baked beans

Day 4
Bowl of porridge made with water
Chocolate spread sandwich, packet of crisps, cereal bar, and an orange
Small takeaway pizza for one, using a (fake) student discount code

Day 5
Bowl of porridge made with water
Chocolate spread sandwich, packet of crisps, cereal bar, and an orange
Plate of chips at Spoons (£2.99, what a bloody bargain)
Frozen microwave ready meal – chicken & bacon pasta bake – bought from the reduced section of the supermarket

Day 6
Bowl of soup
Another microwave ready meal – sweet and sour chicken this time

Day 7
Beans on toast

How did I feel after eating this? Malnourished. Tired. Gross. Oh, so gross… I’m not sure I even managed five a week, let alone a day, and I’ve consumed more bland, processed, souless food this week than I have in a long, loooong time. I’m not proud of myself.

ryan gosling

There are a few plus points to eating like a student again – it’s cheap, it’s quick, it gave me more time to get other stuff done and, yeah, eating pizza midweek is kinda fun. For a day. Maybe two.

But feeling like a sad microwave meal or beans on toast are your ONLY options is a bit disheartening. For a food lover, someone who loves being in the kitchen, having no tools to work with left me at a bit of a loss. I felt like I was doing absolutely nothing in terms of therapeutic stress relief, let alone for my health!

How did my boyfriend get on? Well, to be completely honest, I don’t think he really noticed. He wasn’t a fan of the tasteless breakfasts and he practically begged me to never get a block of value cheese again but, at the end of the day, as long as a plate of food is in front of him and we never run out of coffee, he’s happy.

I think he’d get on alright as a student. Me? It was great at the time – about four years ago! – but these days all I want is an hour to myself in the evening to prepare and eat fresh, tasty food. Now, hand me the avocados!