18 Items We Cut From Our Food Shopping List To Save Big Money

Think about how much money you would save if you could be satisfied with just a rice and beans diet.

Sadly it’s unlikely many of us will have only rice and beans on our food shopping list.

You are much more likely to be aiming for a cheap weekly meal plan when you are building your master grocery list.

But there are plenty of things you can take off your food shopping list and save a ton of money in the process.

My basic grocery shopping list will never cost just a few pounds as we like our food and we eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.

However I have saved hundreds of pounds by cutting a number of items from my food shopping list and it was so easy, I know you’ll be able to save money too.

grocery items on conveyor belt waiting to be cashed through

Whether you are writing out a grocery list for two adults or aiming for the cheapest food shop you can do this week, there are items you don’t need to buy.

And dropping these items from your basic grocery checklist will help you to turn it into a fabulously frugal shopping list.

Always remember to bring your shopping list with you though!

You won’t achieve the cheapest food shop if you cannot remember what you need to buy!

Related posts:

When Money Is Tight, How to Enjoy A $35/£30 Grocery Budget For 2

13 Killer Ways To Save Money On Groceries – Save Hundreds Every Month 

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Your questions on how to cut down your shopping list

How can I cut down my shopping bill?

The first step to take is to make a meal plan. From that create a list of ingredients you need to make those meals. That list is your shopping list.

Add any non-food items like toilet paper and then when you go to the supermarket use this list to buy the food you need. Buy what’s on that list and no more.

How do I stop grocery shopping so much?

Meal planning helps to cut shopping down. As does using a shopping list. I know it’s hard but your shopping list is your friend. And of course, steer clear of the shops as much as possible. Better to go once a week for your food shopping than multiple times.

How do you simplify a grocery list?

When you meal plan you know what ingredients you need for the meals you’re going to make. Before going to the store, check your pantry for these ingredients and if you have it already, you don’t need to buy it again.

Eating from your pantry as it’s called helps to both simplify your grocery list and save you money.

how to save on groceries every month – cut these grocery basics from your food shopping list

1. Individual Portions of Food

Did you know a 1 portion porridge pot costs more than a whole kilo of oats?

If you want to take porridge to work, pot up some oats, milk and (maybe) sugar up and make it yourself when you get there.

Plain oats and milk need just a couple of minutes in the microwave.

No need to pay more to get someone else to put your porridge in a colorful pot.

You also gain eco friendly points for taking your own porridge, not a plastic coated pot to get rid of in the trash.

2. Stop Impulse Buying

You pop out for that missing ingredient for the meal you have suddenly decided to make promising yourself it really is essential and part of your cheap weekly meal plan.

And you end up buying a basket full of food. Which completely blows your plans to stick to a weekly master grocery list.

Bye bye food budget.

Not only do you end up spending money you hadn’t planned on but you waste time and use fuel to get to the shops.

Creating and sticking to a cheap weekly meal plan will stop you from having missing ingredients as your food shopping list will have listed all the ingredients you need for the meals you have planned.

You’ll save big money if you don’t shop midweek, after all it’s only a few days until you do your weekly shop isn’t it?

You may also like:

Your Simple Guide To Meal Planning On A Budget

How To Be Frugal: 200+ Best Frugal Living Tips To Try Today

3. Paper Towels

Stop buying paper towels and napkins and move to using cloths instead.

Cleaning cloths and napkins can be washed and reused many times which is better for the environment and better for your bank balance.

4. Plastic Shopping Bags

Save the 5p, help the environment and bring your own reusable bags.

When the UK brought in the 5p carrier bag charge there was an uproar from people feeling hard done by.

Yet now every week we hear another news item about how plastic rubbish is engulfing our oceans and we all want to do our bit.

Why not buy reusable cloth bags which are multi-functional for many other uses and you can bung in the washing machine to clean if they’re looking a little grubby?

You may also like: 50 Frugal Habits That Are Also Eco Friendly

market stall of fresh vegetables

5. Excess Food

Stop buying stuff! So many people keep buying more food than they need or want and end up throwing away the excess.

Reducing your food waste could shave up to 30% off your grocery bill!

The thing is you need to have a basic grocery list that you use every week and you bring that shopping list with you when you go shopping.

Without your shopping list you’ll never be able to remember everything on your list so you end up buying more.

At the end of the week if you do have food still unused, make a plan to use it up or freeze it.

Don’t waste it, eat it. Don’t put it back on your food shopping list if you didn’t eat it last time you bought it.

If you are looking for more help on budgeting and managing your money why not check out these posts:

How To Budget Your Money When You Don’t Know How

How To Live Fabulously On A Budget (And Save Money)

Cut Your Budget With Tips From The Experts

For more help, advice and tactics to completely overhaul your food bill click here:

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6. Premium brands

Brands spend an absolute fortune on marketing and making us believe that their brand is best.

Yet how many times have you seen blind tests where the big brand fails to be 1st choice?

Yes the premium brand may taste different but different isn’t necessarily better it’s just different.

And even if it is a little better, is it worth paying up to 400% more?

Years ago my husband swore by branded ketchup and it was a staple of our basic grocery checklist much to my frustration!

I eventually converted him and these days it’s Aldi’s own that we buy and we save £1.50 on every bottle!

Spread that saving across more brands and you can easily make significant reductions to the cost of your food shopping list essentials.

Related posts:

55 Easy Ways To Save Money In The Kitchen

a plate of muffins  to signify food shopping list

7. Biscuits & Cakes

I’m a sucker for a gorgeous biscuit at the weekends and tend to like the more expensive options.

These days the nicer packets of biscuits are nearly £2 and you only get 8 or so biscuits.

When you are trying to save money and aiming for your cheapest food shop, expensive biscuits are definitely not on the list.

Home made biscuits however are so easy to make, even for someone lazy like me!

They taste fabulous and cost pennies in comparison to those expensive shop bought ones.

Biscuits do not need to form part of your basic grocery shopping list if you can find an hour at the weekend to make some instead.

Cook a couple of batches of biscuits and freeze the extras. Stops you from eating too many and saves them for later in the week.

You may also like: 12 Traditional Frugal Living Tips To Supercharge Your Savings

8. Bread And Rolls

These days a decent loaf of bread can cost you £1.50 or more. Artisan loafs are upwards of £3 a loaf.

Many people don’t make their own bread or rolls because they think it takes a long time and it’s a lot of effort.

Nothing could be further from the truth! I’ll be honest and tell you that I cheat and have this bread maker.

I throw in the ingredients, turn it on and 1-3 hours later I have the most amazing smell in my house and gorgeous tasting bread.

If you don’t have a bread maker then there are recipes out there for 5 minute artisan bread.

These really do only take a few minutes to prepare as Mr2p can confirm. He prefers to make bread by hand rather than use our bread maker.

If you are baking bread, why not make a batch of loaves and freeze a couple? That way you’ll never run out of bread.

9. Pizza

Talking to DD1 it would seem pizza is the go to convenience food that forms a staple part of a food shopping list for students where ever they are.

But there really is no need to buy takeaway, pre-made or frozen pizzas as you can make your own very easily.

You can buy pizza bases and add your own toppings. Alternatively make your own pizza dough for the fully authentic experience.

You can even make pizza dough in a bread makerI can be very lazy sometimes!

Home made pizza tastes a whole lot better than store bought, it is often healthier as you are in charge of it’s toppings and it’s one less thing on your food shopping list.

happy young child making pizzas  to signify food shopping list

10. Pasta Sauce

I think pasta sauce is probably one of the easiest things to make and is perfect for making in bulk and freezing.

Make your own from tinned tomatoes, onion, garlic and a few herbs.

Freeze it in meal sized portions and you’ll never be stuck for a quick meal on a busy night.

You may also like: 10 Frugal Meals For When You Feel So Broke

11. Cartons of Soup

Soup is my go to comfort food on a cold winters day.

The choice of delicious soups you can buy made giving these up a little difficult but once I switched to home made I haven’t looked back.

Home made soup made with your own fresh stock cannot be beaten. Batch cook soup and it is a winter lunch staple, at home or at work.

12. Fresh Stock

Many recipes require a small or medium amount of fresh stock which is a pricey item if you are buying it.

I make our own stock from meat bones and freeze it in recipe size portions.

Fresh stock on tap means my frugal shopping list just got cheaper!

basket of harvest fresh foods

13. Fresh Herbs

Buying packs of fresh herbs that only last a week is such an expensive way to add flavor to your recipes.

Pot up your own herbs on your windowsill and have fresh herbs on tap.

Some herbs don’t do so well in winter in which case freeze enough to keep you going through the winter and start again in early spring. All you need is a sunny windowsill.

You may also like: 21 Benefits Of Growing Your Own Food

14. Meal Portions of Meat

Chicken forms the basis for our cheap, healthy weekly meal plan but the price varies significantly depending on whether you are buying breast (most expensive), wings or the whole bird.

I used to buy my meat in small packs for one family meal but this works out the most expensive way.

When you are trying to save money and create your cheapest food shop changing how you buy meat makes sense.

Now I stock up when there is a sale on and split larger packs into meal sized portions.

Often I buy whole birds as these are much cheaper lb for lb and come with the bonus of being able to make my own stock from the bones which then forms the basis of our home made winter soups.

15. Chocolate and Sweets

I used to regularly buy these so there was always a supply – in case we needed/wanted something sweet.

Guess what? We always wanted something sweet so these became a staple of our not so frugal shopping list.

No more though as let’s face it, we don’t need chocolate or sweets.

I do still buy one bar of chocolate a week which we have a couple of squares after dinner each night.

It has helped my waistline not having these in the house as my will power is pretty low when it comes to chocolate!

boxes of prepared food to signify food shopping list

16. weekly Take Away Meals

Friday night takeaway was a staple in the Tuppenny household now it is off the food shopping list and we are saving £80 a month.

If we want takeaway food we make it at home. This book is great for all your classic takeaway recipes.

Friday’s are still fish and chip nights only it’s home made so better for both our waistlines and our bank balance.

We do still have the occasional takeaway but it’s more like every few months, not weeks.

17. Meals Out

Eating in a restaurant can be a very nice experience but if you just need a meal to re-fuel it’s a very expensive way of doing so.

Eating out for anything other than a special occasion does not happen in the Tuppenny household and we have saved a lot of money as a result.

You may also like: 10 Things I Don’t Do Or Buy

18. Processed Potato & Chicken Products

You know the types: potato waffles, face shapes, chicken goujons etc. These are what I call beige food and are not particularly healthy.

They are usually very processed, with chemicals and salt and sugar included.

They also cost a lot more than a wholesome potato or a piece of chicken taken from a whole bird.

Yes, they are convenient but at a cost to your pocket and potentially your health.

how can you cut down your shopping list? Get rid of these so called essentials

So there you have it. 18 items you can cut from your shopping list and focus on best value for money foods. You’ll be saving money every week as a result.

What have you cut from your grocery budget to save money?


Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

If you are looking for ways to save money and get your grocery list on a budget then cutting these items from your food shopping list will help! If you are food shopping on a budget then these frugal tips will really help you save money and stick to your budget. #grocerybudget #foodshoppinglist #savemoney #budget #budgeting #frugalliving #frugaltips #savemoney #savingmoney
If you are looking for ways to save money and get your grocery list on a budget then cutting these items from your food shopping list will help! If you are food shopping on a budget then these frugal tips will really help you save money and stick to your budget. #grocerybudget #foodshoppinglist #savemoney #budget #budgeting #frugalliving #frugaltips #savemoney #savingmoney
If you are looking for ways to save money and get your grocery list on a budget then cutting these items from your food shopping list will help! If you are food shopping on a budget then these frugal tips will really help you save money and stick to your budget. #grocerybudget #foodshoppinglist #savemoney #budget #budgeting #frugalliving #frugaltips #savemoney #savingmoney

Last Updated on 18th October 2021 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

28 thoughts on “18 Items We Cut From Our Food Shopping List To Save Big Money”

    • Hi Dani, thanks for popping over! Fingers crossed you save a little money if some of these are new to you. I’d love to hear how you get on.

  1. Great post! I have cut the majority of the things you have mentioned there and it’s really cut our shopping bill down too. The one thing we haven’t tried is baking our own bread so thank you for suggesting it, I’m going to give it a go. My mum sometimes makes her own and we make a bigger deal out of it than a shop-bought loaf because of the effort that goes into it, so hopefully mine will go down the same!

    • Baking bread rewards so many of your senses at the same time. The smell, the taste, the sight of the lovely loaf. And you get that warm, fuzzy feeling soc you made it yourself rather than buying it! I hope everyone enjoys your bread.

  2. yikes! #8, 1, 13…almost all… i still do… whoops… i heart my convenient life… if it got any less convenient… i may just combust 🙂

    • We both know your food shopping leaves a little to be desired on the frugal front, the cooking front and the healthy front. But I am much encouraged by the news you have a slow cooker and may even be using it. Baby steps and all that.

    • Sorry MERJ, tis your eyes, I haven’t changed owt recently! I’ve not yet made enough for next years hosting but getting there, slowly, and of course more than I was before 🙂

  3. I do some things that you might like also. I make about 5 quarts of soup at a time and freeze some in one cup servings.. Then for lunch or a warm up snack I just nuke it and enjoy.

    Also for a superior loaf of bread use the dough setting and then put the dough to rise in a bread pan. Pop it into the oven and the whole house smells really good and the bread rises higher and lighter than it would if baked in the bread maker.
    I hope I am sharing something useful to you.

    • Hi Carol! Batch cooking of soup and then freezing it in portions is a great way to have yummy home made soup whenever you want – great idea. Your tip for using the dough setting but baking it in the oven is a great one! All the smell of the home made bread and I bet it has a slightly crispier crust. I shall definitely try that this weekend. Thanks so much for that tip. Thanks for stopping by!

    • I bake my own bread by hand and it’s finish in half the time it takes the bread machine. I will buy a 5lb bag of flour for about$3. And it will gave me about 5 loaves which will normally be $3. Per loave that’s a savings of $12.

      • Hi Lafleur! Sounds like you have your breadmaking down to a fine art – I’m jealous (or just lazy!) Love the savings you make with each bag of flour, just goes to show you what a mark up there is on everyday products. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi, new to your blog. Love it! I also am loving the fact that so many young people on both sides of the pond are interested in becoming more frugal and living a more sustainable lifestyle. Through necessity we’ve practiced almost all of your suggestions for the past 38 years, but recently my husband has become addicted to candy and other snack food and sweets. As you can expect, this blows my food budget every week. Not sure what to do about it, as talking to him hasn’t helped. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Pat! The younger generation will definitely feel the benefit for embracing frugality and it’s links to sustainability. Sugar in all its forms is super addictive isn’t it? I speak as a chocolate lover so understand your husbands cravings. Because hubby and I have different priorities for treats and their cost what we have done is agree that most of these items do not come out of the food budget. Instead if I want more chocolate then I buy it out of my fun money allowance. Perhaps taking his candy and sweets out of the food budget and having him buy it from an allowance might help? Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  5. This is the first time I have read your information. I bake my bread from scratch and grow a garden so grow my own vegetables to make my soups. I freeze the vegetables in small packages when they are plentiful in the garden and have enough for my winter use. I also grow fruit so have berries and apples which also go into the freezer for winter use. My grocery list is very small as I only purchase things like milk, sugar,eggs and meat. I live in town so can not own animals or I would have my own there also!!

    • Hi Vivian! You sound super organised and very frugal. My freezer is often full of fruit and vegetables that we have grown as well. There’s nothing as satisfying as making a meal out of food that you have grown and made yourself is there? Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I really love your blog! I am having a big economy drive so that I can afford to take off in my camper van before its too late. Unfortunately I already practice most of the frugal living ideas I’ve read about. I cant do proper gardening (I have CFS) but I do grow herbs in pots and I’m thinking of trying salad leaves as well. Making my own bread is beyond me now but I do remember I ate far too much when I did!
    Not a tip I’d advocate for everyone but I had an inflamed gall bladder in January and I’ve been advised to cut down on fatty foods like cheese and chocolate. I dont eat meat at all so cheese was a source of protein for me. I dont do cutting DOWN so I only eat cottage cheese now (so boring) and absolutely no chocolate. That was easier than doing without cheese. No biscuits at all and I snack on frozen grapes.

    • Hi Grace! I am so with you on not cutting down. I’m a bit all or nothing, especially with food and diets/healthy eating. So chocolate is now in my regular diet but when I needed to lose weight it was completely out. See now, I really like cottage cheese but hardly ever buy it as it doesn’t fit with my daily salad but do agree it is not at all like ‘proper’ cheese like cheddar.
      Salad leaves would be great in pots, easy to grow and cut without much effort. Bread in a bread maker could be an option but I hear you on the eating too much of it, you could make a loaf and cut it up into slices and freeze most of it?
      I really hope you can get away in your camper van – I am positively jealous. Keep plugging away at saving each penny, they do add up. Take care!

  7. I’m a real sucker for point 4 – buying excessively! A shopping list helps a great deal for us, but still end up buying more than needed!

    One thing that works well for us though, is frozen vegetables. We used to be terrible in not using the odd onion up or leeks in the fridge and soon to find them ‘gone off’. Now with frozen veg our wastage is literally 0 on this side of things!

    • Hi Jase – you and me both on point 4! Still my weakness especially if I see a ‘bargain’. Frozen veg definitely helps cut down waste. The alternative is to make soup with the odd veg lurking in the fridge bottom – better in winter than summer though 🙂 Thanks for stopping over!

  8. Hi, I like that your article applies to us Brits! Rare these days!!
    We have embraced Fake-Aways for years. One of our favourites are homemade Pizzas. Instead of a yeast dough we opt for a great alternative two ingredient dough which makes a fab Stone-baked pizza. The recipe Serves 2
    155g Self Raising Flour mixed with 185g Fage Total Yogurt ( or similar alternative!). This dough rolls out and crisps up great.
    Another tip is PLANNING. Planning meals in advance reduces outgoings and makes the week easier to manage instead of the ” whats for dinner” question from kids and adults. Get the kids involved, they learn how to cook and it encourages conversations especially with tweens and teens. Good luck ??????

    • Hi Ness! Thanks so much for your comment! And a huge thank you for your recipe, I’m going to try that at the weekend, I’m all for easy and simple recipes. Planning is absolutely key isn’t it? If you know what you are having for dinner temptation doesn’t rear it’s head. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I so enjoyed your article. I’m glad to see that living frugally is thriving in so many people and places. Three years ago I faced a major health crisis and decision since my type 2 diabetes had become uncontrolled. More meds said the doctor. I think not, said I. After research, I began eating ketogenically. My diabetes reversed, my health improved…and my grocery bill plummeted! Today, I eat One Meal a Day (OMAD) with a small snack tucked in somewhere. The upshot, my already frugal lifestyle got even more frugal. I eat less food of higher quality now. As for my overall level of frugality, I now never buy bread, rice, potatoes, corn, cereal, flours, sugars, or any high carb foods. I stopped all fast foods, take outs, and most restaurants but for the occasional special time. I had already stopped purchasing all plastic food containers, bags, aluminum foil, paper plates and towels, basically anything disposable. I reuse almost all glass containers and jars. On average I eat about $100 of food per month. My refuse from food averages about 2 cups a month since i save every bit for stocks and broths. Only spent vegetables and bones go out. And since I live in the woods, the raccoons eat that! My savings on keto combined with a frugal mentality are tremendous. I do believe if society could and would return to a simpler, slower life so many would return to better health.

    • Hi Nan, thanks so much for sharing your frugal life experiences. I love that you did your own research to find the best healthy eating way for you. so much better to eat natural foods than fill up on meds. And raccoons in the woods? Just wow!

  10. I have two things to add.I make my own yogurt and it saves me money. Making yogurt is easy. I have found homemade yogurt last much longer than store bought. If you have a oven light just leave the heated cultured milk in jars overnight in oven with light on, or use your crockpot/instapot. I preplan meals and use crockpot to cook meals. A good way to use cheaper cuts of protein and your odd and ends of veggies. It is lovely to come home from work and the meal is ready and the house smells wonderful.

    • Hi Texas Nana! Thanks for the tip on making homemade yogurt, such a simple thing but obviously effective. I love my slow cooker (crockpot) and it’s my staple in the winter for cooking meals for similar reasons, coming home to a cooked meal after you’ve been out all day is extremely welcoming. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I found that we spent a lot on sandwich meats and cheese. I am going to buy a whole ham and a whole turkey at the beginning of the month and freeze in 1 quart freezer bags. Besides providing the sandwiches we love, we also have ham for omelettes and various soup, bean and rice recipes we like. Besides sandwiches, the turkey can be used in Mexican recipes, sandwiches, soups, casseroles food salads, etc. I’m experimenting with making cheeses. I was motivated by prices of American, Swiss and cottage cheese. Seven or eight dollars for a pound of sliced cheese, $4.50 for a pound of cottage cheese. My husband is diabetic and he’s better off without highly processed foods. Can’t harm me either. I stopped buying a multitude of expensive special use cleaning products and now make environmentally friendly cleaners from vinegar, water, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol. These are all very cheap. I buy spray bottles from the Dollar Store. I now but Mr Clean micro-fiber cleaning cloths. They clean well and wash beautifully. I have cut paper towel use in half and I working on eco-friendly alternatives on the other 50%. I was forced into frugality by Retirement but now I regret not paying attention to the value of money when I was younger. by Mr Clean

    • Hi Kathleen. Buying a whole ham and turkey is a great idea and I love how you already know just how you can make them work for your existing meals. I’ve made butter before (lots of shaking!) but never cheese which is something we get through quite a lot of – it’s my staple protein for salads if we have no left over ham or chicken from the weekend. I swear by microfiber cloths, they’re so easy to use, leave no smears and leave surfaces almost dry. Thanks so much for stopping by!


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