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.
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!
Grab your free menu planning mini bundle as your starting point to save money
(This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read more here)
Quick Money making tip
Scan your grocery receipt through Fetch
Fetch Rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you just for snapping pictures of your receipts. That’s really it.
It won’t reduce your grocery bill but you get free rewards on groceries on thousands of products every day, no matter where you get your groceries.
Just scan your receipts to receive rewards.
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:
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
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:
For more help, advice and tactics to completely overhaul your food bill click here:
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.
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.
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 maker! I 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.
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!
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!
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!
Last Updated on 18th October 2021 by Emma