Here are some easy ways to help manage your weekly food bill:

Shop around

  • The best way to get the best prices is through shopping around, and buying different things in different shops. Small local shops may offer convenience for consumers, which is great, but you may find prices are that little bit higher
  • You can also check the larger shops’ websites to check prices before you go shopping

Check the unit price

  • Always check the unit price of what you are buying to work out the best value for you. Buying another size may be better value overall
  • Some items are cheaper when bought in bulk, but this only makes sense, value-wise, if you’re going to use it up before it goes off
  • Some items, such as fruit or vegetables, may be more expensive when bought pre-packed than if you buy them by weight from the “loose” vegetable section

Make fresh meals from scratch and buy in season

  • Take-away, frozen, pre-packed or ready-meals can work out more expensive than making fresh meals yourself. Meals made from scratch are generally healthier too
  • If you don’t have time to cook every day, make several meals at the one time and freeze them
  • Buying raw, whole fruit and vegetables can be a lot cheaper than buying prepared ones, as you are paying for someone else to do the washing and chopping for you
  • Fruit and vegetables may be more expensive when bought out of season and are usually imported
  • Seasonal fruit and vegetables are often on special offer in shops. To find out what is in season, visit Bord Bia’s website

Buy only what you need

  • Don’t buy too much of items that will go off
  • Plan meals and make a shopping list of what you need
  • Keep an eye on “use by” and “best before” dates on food packaging, even after you’ve bought it. If it looks like you’re not going to use it before that date, freeze it for use at a later date

Buy discounted items and look for special offers

  • Keep an eye out for discounted fresh food – it might be near its use-by date, but should still be ok to eat
  • Most supermarkets and many local shops advertise their special offers in the media, on their website and on flyers dropped through your door. These can help you compare deals across a number of shops in your area, choose what to buy and where, before you even leave the house

Don’t be a brand slave

  • You don’t have to stick with the same brand of particular products
  • Ask yourself whether your usual brand offers you good value
  • The best-known brands can be the most expensive, but this does not necessarily mean that they are “better” than others. You might make savings by choosing a less well-known brand, or an own-brand product

Earn with loyalty cards

  • Don’t decide where to shop based on your loyalty card – they can be useful but they should never become the only reason to shop somewhere
  • Some supermarkets allow you to accumulate points, which give you money-off vouchers for the same store

Last updated on 16 July 2020

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