family cooking a meal

How to eat well for less

If we’re trying to Think Bigger Than Bills, saving on food is a good place to start

We’re all facing rising energy bills this autumn and inflation is now above 10 per cent. But our new campaign, Think Bigger Than Bills is about looking beyond energy costs to find other ways to improve our finances.

It turns out there are a few ways we can cut back on our food spend. Some retailers are helping out with cost-of-living offers. And we can also get to grips with the cheapest ways of cooking.

Asda has been blazing a trail to help us fight rising costs. As well as an extended range of no-frills products, it also recently said that over-60s can get soup, a roll and unlimited teas and coffees for just £1. The deal is offered in all of its cafes in November and December. Kids can already eat for £1 in Asda cafes – and the adult with them doesn’t need to buy anything.

And Iceland has been pitching in too. It teamed up with energy firm Utilita to work out which cooking methods are cheapest. They found that air fryers and slow cookers worked out cheapest (£53 and £60 a year). An electric oven and hob costs £317 a year to run, on average.

The supermarket is going to change the cooking instructions on its own-brand products to show the cheapest ways for us to cook them.

Healthy Start

If we get Healthy Start vouchers, Sainsbury’s is now topping up the value. The vouchers, available to pregnant women or those with a child under four, are worth £4.25 each per week.

If we have a child under one we can get two vouchers a week. We can spend the vouchers on healthy foods like fruit, veg, milk and infant formula. Lots of us who are entitled don’t claim them – so if we’re not sure we should check!

When we check out with our Healthy Start card, we’ll automatically get a £2 voucher. The offer is due to last until April 2023.

Waste not, want not

There are some great ways of grabbing a food bargain if we know where to look. Lidl do boxes of wonky veg for £1.50 – the scheme is called Too Good To Waste and the boxes are usually by the tills. 

Apps like Too Good To Go and Olio sell on food from cafes and other retailers that would otherwise go to waste for a fraction of what it would usually cost. There’s usually more choice if we’re in a big town. 

Best before?

Another way to make big savings is to use a ‘best-before’ warehouse. Like the name suggests, they sell food that’s close to or past its best-before date.

That’s not the same as a use-by date – it just means the manufacturer won’t guarantee it’ll be perfect.

Again, they tend to be in bigger towns and cities. But Approved Foods offer a delivery service and they say their customers can save about £60 a month.

Get social

Social supermarkets are somewhere between a foodbank and a supermarket. We’ll pay for what we buy – but because it’s mainly surplus stock the prices are really low.

We can have a look online to see if there’s one in our area. And for a roundup of the best weekly deals at all the supermarkets, check out Love Money’s tool.

Image: August de Richelieu / Pexels

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