10 smart strategies to save money on food

Money worries getting you down? Struggling to keep up with skyrocketing food, energy and fuel prices?

You're not alone. Just when we thought inflation rates were stabilising, August 2022 showed a new distressing surge. Apart from crazy electricity and gas prices, we're being hit with the highest prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages ever.

So, since the weekly shop continues to become increasingly expensive, we have to be on the ball with our money management. We already explored how to take charge of our grocery bill with these 10 clever shopping techniques to keep your costs down.  But it's not enough. It's time to think out of the box and get smart.
*If you missed it, please do invest 10 minutes of your time, your wallet will thank you!

Take heart, it's easier than you think. Just by making some tiny tweaks in the way you manage your kitchen, you'll become a money-savvy master.

So check these out: 10 cost-effective ways to save money on food, incl. my 3 favourite budget recipes.

10 Smart Strategies For Saving Money On Food

After you've nailed your money-savvy shopping behaviour, let's look at other clever ways to save money on groceries. From easy budget recipes to grow your own, this list has got you covered.

1.    Get creative with budget recipes
The easiest way to save money on food, is to cook one of the following budget recipes. They all use cheap ingredients and contain carbs that make you feel full faster, allowing you to serve smaller portions.

Creamy pasta alla norma with aubergine
Sloppy Joe with hidden vegetables
Flavourful veggie traybake

2.    Plan pantry meals
Start mastering this fun cost-cutting skill: challenge yourself to cook a delicious weekly meal only using the items you already have available at home. Check the pantry, fridge and freezer and rustle up that cheap dinner.

3.    Incorporate meatless dinners
Let's face it: meat is painfully expensive. Simply by reducing your intake of meat, you're saving cash instantly. Try these meat substitutes: Portobello mushrooms (as a hamburger), eggs (who doesn't love eggs?) and lentils (for a hearty stew).

4.    Make your own (from scratch)
This is an amazing money-saving strategy. Ready-made products are costly, while the ones you make from scratch are cheaper, tastier and healthier. Think pasta sauces, taco salsas, guacamole and curry pastes, but why stop there? How about baking your own bread, making your own crunchy granola, popcorn and ice lollies? Goodbye expensive snacks! 

5.    Bulk it up
Use cheap pulses such as beans, chickpeas and lentils to give volume and texture to your dish. Added bonus: They're high in fibre, making you feel full for longer (and hopefully curbing those chocolate cravings later on!).

6.    Repurpose your leftovers (eat them)
Cut on food waste and cost by eating your leftovers. It's better for you, your wallet and the environment! Use leftover meats in sandwiches, chuck roast veggies into salads or freeze a portion for another day. Thrifty!

7.    Cook tempting takeout at home
Satisfy your craving for takeout by cooking it at home. Instead of ordering pricey pizzas, dust your table top and become a pizzaiolo. And get the kids involved, they'll love kneading the dough, trying to spin the base and dress it with tasty toppings.

8.    Use a Slow-Cooker
Even the cheapest and chewiest piece of meat will melt in your mouth after being slow-cooked for 8 hours. Don't own one? Don't worry, borrow your neighbour's or share the investment with your friends. Smart!

9.    Eat it all (yes, the entire thing)
Next time you're cutting broccoli and cauliflower, think twice before throwing out the stem and leaves. Just like the carcass of your roast chicken, vegetable scraps make great bases for stock and soup. And don't forget the pets - all our fruit and veggie scraps go straight to the bunnies, saving me money on pet food.

10.  Grow your own
Saving the absolute nr. 1 money-saving strategy for last: Grow your own. Plant your own herbs, vegetables and fruits in the garden, patio or window sill. Don't worry, green fingers are not required! For a high success rate, pick the easiest vegetables to grow (like sprouts, carrots and tomatoes) and vegetables that grow quickly (like pumpkin and radishes). Also, it's super easy to regrow food from roots and scraps like ginger, garlic and potatoes. It might sound daunting to start, but believe me, once you get the hang of it, you'll ask yourself why you didn't start sooner.

Ready to get started with these cheap dinner ideas?

Being strapped for cash is awful and can drain all the energy out of you.

But by making some tiny tweaks in the way you manage your kitchen, you'll become a money-savvy master.

Want to see how it works right now?

All you have to do, is to choose one of these 10 smart strategies for saving money, whichever one suits you. Start by cooking one of the budget recipes, be mindful of your food waste or maybe you'd like to give gardening a try.

Combine these rewarding tactics with these clever shopping techniques, and I promise, soon you'll notice your efforts are paying off. Literally.  


10 smart strategies to save money on food

Salad story by

Karin Louzado

Karin Louzado

Food blogger / food writer

Having two young children with table manners and great appetite, I'm always being eyed as some mystical mama with a secret sauce up her sleeve. Apparently it's a rare accomplishment to have... Read more

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