Food Shopping On A Budget — £20 A Week Food Budget For 2023

Sticking to a budget can be tough, especially if you’re experiencing academic burnout, have no idea how to really cook, or struggle to stick to a budget.

Do you need to stick to a strict budget when it comes to your food shop? We’ve got you. And no, there’s no room for boring meals here either. £20 on food doesn’t mean sacrificing the foods you love. We’ll look at how to shop for food on a budget, how to spend just £20 on a food shop and how to save money on food shopping as a whole.

Feeling ready to take on this challenge? You might like our 40p budget meals guide too!

How to food shop on a budget

1. Use a recipe book or videos

Pick out recipes from a book or your favourite TikTok videos which have the exact measurements you need to make your meal. This way, you stop yourself some buying one too many of an item you think you need more of.

Plus, if you’re not confident in the kitchen, food recipe videos are a fantastic way to keep you on track and teach you how to cook. The Student Beans YouTube channel is packed with cooking tips, such as how to prepare basics like pasta, chop vegetables, and easy recipes to follow too.

2. Plan your meals ahead of time

If you’ve got your food recipe videos and want to go out shopping to get the ingredients, just make sure you list out exactly what you need. It can be easy to go into a shop and come out with way more than you need — particularly if you’re hungry!

Write the ingredients on your phone in a notes app or checklist, and tick them off as you pick them up around the aisles.

3. Buy own-brand food

They’re really not that much different, if at all. Own-brand foods like tinned tomatoes, baked beans, and spaghetti are all incredibly cheap and can shave off literal pounds from your receipt.

4. Buy frozen fruit and vegetables

If you want to save money on food then this is it. Frozen vegetables can sometimes be better not just for price, but nutrition too. This is because they’re often frozen at the source.

Plus, it means you’re likely to reduce your food waste. We’ve all been there when we got a hit of inspo to shop healthy fruit and veg and left it in the fridge to wither away. Buy frozen instead.

5. Get a supermarket loyalty card

Tesco and Sainsburys are great examples of supermarkets that offer loyalty cards. The more you spend in these stores, the more points you rack up to get vouchers and codes off your food shop. This could be a game-changer if you’re really tight on money.

Other ways to save money on food

If you’re wondering how to save money on food shopping as a whole, we’ve got a ton of ideas below to cut down the pennies on your food shop.

1 . Regularly check your fridge, freezer and cupboards

Base your meals around what you have in already. This way you aren’t constantly buying new things and only purchasing what you need.

Take note of what you have and use an online recipe generator. Or, get creative! It’s the quickest way you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.

2. Cook everything from scratch

It can be cheaper to buy the ingredients to make a curry than to buy it in jarred form. Even if it’s just the paste.

Better yet, you could save yourself hundreds a year just by limiting how many takeaways you get a month. That’s money that could go towards food shops, essentials and your future.

3. Reduce your meat consumption if you’re open to it

Lots of people are reducing how much meat they eat because of the health and environmental benefits, but it’s a great idea for your bank balance too.

People are opting for meat-free alternatives or simply adding more vegetables to their routines. If this is something you’re considering but have no idea how to navigate, here are a few tips to transition to a reduce or meat-free lifestyle:

  • Ease yourself in by replacing the mince in bolognese or chilli con Carne with frozen veggie mince or onions, mushrooms and peppers
  • Make a stir fry with a ton of veg instead of your usual meats
  • Try cooking curries using beans and pulses, or using potatoes instead of meat.

A pack of vegetarian or vegan mince can be costly (depending on the brand and offers around at the time), but subbing more vegetables instead may work out way cheaper. Check out our five easy vegan recipes for some inspiration too.

Here’s a TikTok creator who shows some meat swaps you can make. You don’t have to stick to this to a T, but it should give you a decent idea:

How to spend a £20 a week food budget

Our essential food shopping list for students should have you covered, but here are a few more tips to only spend £20 a week on food shopping.

Look at the bigger picture

£20 a week is £80 a month. This is plenty for one person. If you’d rather spend £40 on a fortnightly shop (especially if you shop lots of frozen or cupboard foods) then this may work better for you than making the weekly rounds.

Order online

If you struggle to get out to a shop because of distance or deadlines, then consider doing an online food shop. You may expect to pay more in delivery, but our student food discounts may be able to offset the price of your order.

Which supermarket is cheap to order from? Check out our cheapest online supermarket delivery post to find out which supermarket offers the cheapest delivery, order amounts and more.

Plan your food shop around your schedule

It really is that simple. Look at your weekly schedule and plan your meals around them. If you know you can’t cook one night because of a deadline then make it a point to batch cook on the weekend. This can stretch the life of your food out and make it easier to just heat it up in the week and get eatin’ asap.

Simplify your favourite meals

Let’s say you’re a big fan of risotto, you don’t have to buy risotto rice to make it! Plain white rice of any kind can still mimic this epic Italian dish and it’ll still taste fantastic. You can do the same with subbing out pizza bases with tortilla wraps the possibilities are endless. If you’re really struggling for recipes, check out these posts:

Do you have any other hacks for saving money on your weekly shop? Let us know!

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