How to save money on your food shop

Five smart ways to eat for less

Faced with rising food prices, it can be a challenge to make all the meals you need while balancing a household budget.

If you’re looking to find a way to keep you (and your family) well fed without further strain on your wallet, we’re here to help. 

Watch financial adviser Emmanuel Asuquo and rapper chef Big Zuu swap strategies for cheaper eats, then explore our healthy, filling recipes and get great ideas for making your meals and money go further. 

1. Prepare to plan ahead

Meal planning can help you save cash, because you’ll only buy what you need. Plus, you might be able to rustle up a few dishes from what’s already in the cupboard. It doesn’t matter how you write your plan – whether you’re a spreadsheet whizz or wedded to pen and paper, it’ll get you back in control of your weekly food budget. 

Got the shopping.

Come on in, come on in.

Let’s do it.

Obviously, I know I'm cooking for you and the family today.

So I thought I’d go to the High Street and get some beautiful, cost effective ingredients to make a beautiful meal.

They don’t cost too much.

I appreciate you.

You in the shop thinking about your family, How does that work for you every week?

We get the kids involved.

They help pick it.

Also it kind of teaches them about money and the fact that we have to pay.

So what are you going to make of all this?

I'm gonna make for you and your amazing family, a Mexican, one pot chicken and black bean stew.

It's already got warm in here.

Are you feeling the salsa vibes?

Let’s do it.

Time effective, cost effective, flavour effective.

Everything you want from a dish.

Gunna get this chicken in.

Skin down.

So obviously right now, things cost more than they used to.

So what would be your advice for, like, you know, people in their families being cost effective with their money?

What we've done in our house is look at what are the meals that we're going to have and then shop to our meals.

Rather than just buying what we used to buy before.

And then also, we look at how can we make them cheaper.

Are there different proteins that we can use?

Can some of these meals be over a couple of days?

Yeah but planning is everything and you'll save yourself a lot of money.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Been doing it for years.

Been doing it for years.

What we have here is our onions and garlic.

This is going to sweat down and be the base of our flavor.

When it comes to cooking, sometimes when I'm outside man, I'm in the supermarket and I’m just lost, I always forget what I have in the yard and I end up double buying things.

It’s so important to open the cupboards.

My kids we do a raid.

It's like a game, go through cupboards.

What can you see?

What do we need?

We have a list.

Tick it.

So we know what we need.

And so it's a good way to save money.

A good way to make sure that you're not spending when you don't need to.

Do you know what I mean?


We're going to go in with these.

All the juice as well.


Give that a stir chef.

Yes chef.

The way you stir, I can tell you don't do this.

Hold it.

Oh you got to grips it up.

Grips it bro.

Oh grips it.

There we go.

Also the heat comes from the seeds.

If the seeds ain’t going in there, you're not going to get all that heat.

Give the beans a little mash.

Just a little one.

Now it’s going to help give us different textures of the beans.

Is he talking about budgeting?

I've got better at it.

More and more I've learnt to understand what can I spend this month?

What can I enjoy?

What can I not enjoy?

And what can I put away.

When it comes to the budgeting what kind of tips can you give to people then?

A great tip is that your banking app a lot of these apps can help you do that.

So it’s not like you have to now go start learning spreadsheets and all this type of stuff.


I won’t go get a degree in economics.

Nah you ain’t gotta be that guy.

Because they got a breakdown of your spending and how much money is spent on food.

How much money is spent on your bills.

So use that as a reflection of where you should save your money.


You're like a guru.

I try my best, trying to be like you.

Gunna start making a little salsa now.

I’m not talking two step.

I’m not talking two step no.

I'm talking a punchy salsa to go with that.

Look at that fresh little salsa.

With the more simple ingredients.

If you're trying to cook on a budget, you're trying to make things better, especially in times like this, sometimes you got to go with the own brand.

Get that own brand baked bean.

Get that own brand ketchup.

What do you think about like the yellow stickers.

It's just as good.

And you're going to save money.

Feel like we could you know.

Dinner ready.

It's time to serve up.

Come on.

My brother.

Here we go man.

Let’s do it.

Love it.

Oh, my goodness.




I’m alright.

My tongue is doing this.

Spicy, punchy.

Fresh, with all the ingredients.

No waste at all.

Alright, is it time to feed the fam?

You got me feeling like a chef.



Let’s do it man.

It’s time.

Hold it ready for the flavours boy.

Come on, guys.

Dinner’s ready.

Let's do this.

You’re gonna love it.

2. See if you can squeeze more from your grocery shop

You could also try to stretch each food shop. If you’ve got space, it often works out cheaper to buy bigger packs of beef or chicken. Put what you don’t need in the freezer or cook it all in batches and find clever ways to use up the leftovers. Meaty Bolognese sauce is just as tasty on nachos as it is with spaghetti. And leftover chicken can be shredded for pasta or splashed with mayo for a super-speedy sandwich filling.

3. Try cost-conscious food swaps that could save you money

There’s no need to reinvent your kitchen repertoire – simply see if you can think about clever cost-conscious food swaps when making meals instead. For example, chicken thighs are usually cheaper than breasts, and often more flavourful too. In winter, fresh berries tend to be expensive but they’re often cheaper per kilogram in the freezer section.

Swap for supermarkets’ own-brand alternatives too – almost every big-name item in a can, bottle or box has a cheaper option to try.

4. Be a ‘strategic shopper’

The golden rules of savvy food shopping? Always write a list first and never shop when you’re hungry. 

Supermarket loyalty schemes can help save you money, but you’ve other thrifty options. Live near a cash-and-carry? Bulk buying could save you heaps on your essentials (and consider splitting your biggest buys with a friend). And sometimes it’s cheaper to shop small. Your local butcher or greengrocer often let you buy the exact amount you need, so you won’t waste a penny.

My brother Big Zuu.

You look like you've done this before.

Yeah, I've made some dates at home.

So talk to me about your dating.

Big Zuu.

My guy.


Feeling quite, quite sensual right now.

Got a little candles.

Love a candle.

You got a shirt on.

It’s feeling quite romantic.

Talking of romantic, I need your help.

This month - loads of expenses.

Kids birthdays, holidays.

I need to think about ways to cut back.

Dating’s one of them.

Like, I love taking the Mrs out, but if there's a way for me to kind of do it at a cheaper cost but still give her the same experience and love, I'd love to be able to do that.

I’ve come up with the idea for you.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It's called a fakeaway.

Come on.

A fakeaway.



Instead of getting a takeaway, it'll cost you a fraction of the price, but you’ll have all the vibes.

Nervous about the the cooking element.


Well, don't worry.

I am here.

Alright bam.

So we got some lamb mince.

Alright show me how to bust this thing.

Palm, hand.


I think for every food tip I give you, you've got to give me a money tip.

Go on.

When you dine out, you can use a credit card that gives you cashback or points.

So when you spend, you get something back.

This is what I need Eman.

Come on I’ve got you.

So part of our kebab, will be some beautiful fresh herbs.

Let me get a bunch of that, please.

Come on don’t be scared.



Now, the star of the show, I'm a big advocate of going to your local corner shop, and buying these beautiful packets of seasoning.


Another financial tip we’re doing tip for tat.

Some banking apps allow you to set up savings goals.


You can name that account date night, family holiday, whatever it may be.

And then you can put money in and build it up and then use it for that savings goal.

Into our next part of this beautiful dish.

Come on you got this.

There we go.

There we go.

Big chef.

And obviously with the kebabs, if you don’t want to use all these kebabs today, Yeah, yeah, yeah.

you can freeze them.


You can use them for another day.

Your dry herbs are going to elevate that salad, and give it that restaurant quality feel.

Also, I’ve given you a tip, so you gotta give me another financial tip.

A lot of the time, people don't know how much it cost to live their lifestyle.

Now, if I asked you how much have you spent on haircuts this month?

Mmm didn’t know that one.

Or how much do you spend on food?

So, it's really important get into your banking app.

Look what's happening.

Understand where your money is going and that will put you in a better position.

Now it's time for the main event.



You look like you've done this before?

Yeah, I’ve made some dates at home.

So talk to me about your dates.

I live with three of my friends, so when I’m trying to have a cute date at home and they all walk in.

They like to do that awkward stuff.

Like oh we’ve got another one here.

Or, have I met you before?

No, it's the first time we've ever had a date.

You've got the chili sauce and the garlic in there.

It’s the third date.

You know, we’re a bit further now.

Big chilli in there.

And then bam.


Date night vibes, little fakeaway.

Come on.

Only thing left to do, is get the mood right.

I've got a little surprise for you.


Some flowers for us.

How sweet.

Alright, cheers.

Cheers to kebab.

We cooked together.

We ate together.

I've learnt some tips from you.

I've learnt some cooking from you.


I'm gonna go set some saving goals.

Don't take away the fakeaway.

Come on man.

5. Harness your tech to help take control of your cash

The Barclays App1 could help you get to grips with your money – it has a handy feature that breaks down your spending by category, so you can see how much your food shop costs you each month. In turn, that could help you work out where to cut back.

You can also use our app to set a savings goal2. With meal planning and savvy shopping part of your cost-cutting, you could have more left each month to set aside for a savings goal such as an emergency fund or holiday.

More money ideas

Discover budgeting basics, smart ways to save and tools to help you take control of your cash. 

Chicken and black bean stew

Serves 4

Money workout cards and web-based workout on a phone

2tbsp oil
3tsp smoked paprika
6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
2 large red onions, peeled and chopped
Coriander, stalks and leaves separated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 x 400g tins black beans (don’t drain them)
1 scotch bonnet, pricked
1 chicken stock cube
6 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 lime, juice only
1 tin sweetcorn, drained
Olive oil 



Mix half the oil with the paprika and toss the chicken thighs in the mix to evenly coat. Then brown the thighs all over, starting with the skins down. Remove from the pan.

Add the remaining oil to the same pan and heat over a medium heat. Add one of the chopped red onions, the garlic and the finely chopped coriander stalks. Fry the ingredients for a few minutes until softened, then add the black beans and their liquid. Crumble the chicken stock cube into the pan. Bring the liquid up to a simmer, then use a potato masher to crush some of the beans, to thicken the stew.

Drop in the scotch bonnet, lay the chicken thighs back in, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the chopped tomatoes, lime juice, drained sweetcorn and the reserved coriander leaves to make a salsa. Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Serve the chicken topped with the salsa. 

Lamb kebabs with Greek salad

Serves 2

Money workout cards and web-based workout on a phone

500g lamb mince
2tsp ground cumin
2tsp ground coriander
3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
1 cucumber, seeds removed
2tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried mint
Pitted black olives
2 tomatoes
Spring onions
Olive oil
Hummus to serve
Chilli sauce to serve
Flatbreads to serve



Mix the lamb mince together with the cumin, coriander, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well then shape into six koftas (like short sausages). Cook the koftas on a griddle pan over a medium to high heat.

While the koftas are cooking, roughly chop the cucumber into chunks along with the tomatoes and spring onion. Add the dried herbs and black olives and mix. Crumble in the feta and toss together with a good splash of olive oil.

Warm your flat bread.

To serve, spread your warmed flatbread with hummus, lay the koftas on top, pile on the Greek salad and dress with chilli sauce.