Being thrifty with good food

by - July 23, 2015

The increasing cost of food is something that concerns many of us and looks unlikely to stop rising. Volatile weather affecting crops and demand from a growing population are all factors and there are tons of percentages and bar graphs you could analyse, but at the end of the day, the cold hard fact is that our money isn't going as far as it used to.

I'm coming across a lot of blog posts that try and and address this by doing a "living on £10 a week" piece and then skirting scurvy on tinned spaghetti hoops and processed bread but I'm not sure how helpful that is to anyone. I would use that budget for nutritious basics and get more creative with shopping (I'm hoping to add a post where I devise a meal plan week on £10 myself). Luckily the majority of us are not on that tight a budget but still need to tighten belts due to extra mouths to feed, redundancy or even living on maternity pay as I am now (it's hard!).

I think being smarter about shopping and cooking is the way forward and eating fresh and nutritious food where possible. People say it's more expensive to eat healthily but all I know is that a huge bag of veg and packet of lentils for a nice soup, or a bag of flour and eggs for homemade pasta costs far less than a salt laden ready meal. Anyway, here are a few tips I've leaned to help my family out when sourcing our food.

Shop around
I never get my shopping from one source. I use independent, budget and higher end supermarkets. And yes, I have a job, two kids, a blog and a busy life but I make time because food is important to me. I've found the fresh fruit and veg at Lidl really good value and they sell the best supermarket vine tomatoes. They also have fantastic guest cheeses like Piave and their chacuterie is great. On the other hand, I prefer to get my meat from the butcher and bread from the bakery, buying infrequently but buying quality. I will also use a little local health store to buy grains like farro which are cheap, filling and nutritious. The local market is also your friend for fresh produce. I made a ton of caponata for something silly like £5 with produce I bought from The Open Market in Brighton and that lasted us 4 meals!

Use comparison sites
There are sites where you can get up to date prices on supermarket goods. I'll use this when I go to bulk buy quality tinned tomatoes or my favourite De Cecco pasta. I will normally buy about 10/15 packets at a time (I love carbs!) when I catch it on offer so will save a third at least.

Online voucher codes
I never buy anything online without having a look for a voucher code. Even just for free delivery! But it's not just handy for shoes and TVs. Places like will help you save on certain Food and Drink brands and services to get you a better deal. Always worth a check before you checkout.

Time your shop
I drop in daily to a major supermarket on the way back from work and will always pick up a few bargains like pitta breads for 30p or bags of veg. These are handy for freezing or batch making mid-week lunches.

Use an app
Ok, Mr Graphic Foodie put his foot down and made me install a budget app (we use GoodBudget) on my phone as I can get carried away in the supermarket. This has really made a difference as you can lose sight of that £5, £10 or £15 here and there. Result? Monthly food bills are a fraction of what they were. Once they make a GPS app that alerts him when I go near Waitrose, I'm sure he'll make me install that too. And my bonus of being under budget is that it pays for luxury items like nice wine, steak or decent balsamic vinegar!

Meal Plan
Food waste is a crime to the Earth as well as your pocket. Here in Brighton the seagulls will frequently go for the bin bags in the street and the contents get strewn around the street for all to see. I'm staggered at what people throw out really. Every week the chalkboard goes up with the weekly plan and I can shop only for things I need. A little kill joy maybe but by heck this will save you £££s over the course of a year and it's kinder on the environment. Another bonus is I never have that blank fridge face if I come back late from work. I mix up nutritious vegetable dishes with two or three meat or fish dishes every week to keep it cost effective too.

This is a sponsored post by Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create original content like this for The Graphic Foodie. All content, ideas, and words are my own.

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