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

Shop around

  • Our Grocery Price Surveys have shown that the best way to get the best prices is through shopping around and spreading your spend across a few of different stores. Small local shops may offer convenience for consumers, which is great, but you may find prices are that little bit higher to pay for that local convenience
  • On the other hand, savings you might hope to make on a trip to an out-of-town discount store should be balanced against the cost of getting there and back
  • You can also check the larger shops' websites or use online comparison sites 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 (sometimes even the smaller size) may represent better value overall
  • Some items are usually 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 vegetables, can work out 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 a lot 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 can be more expensive when bought out of season and are usually imported
  • Buying seasonal fruit and vegetables means you get the best quality, locally produced food at a lower price, and you help support Irish producers. 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 may 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 you might be able to freeze it
  • Most supermarket and many local shops advertise their special offers in the media, on their website and in 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 own-brand product

Use coupons wisely

  • Coupons can save you money - but don't buy products you don't need just because you have a coupon
  • You can find coupons on the back of receipts from most of the major supermarkets and on lots of websites

Earn with loyalty cards

  • Never let a loyalty card scheme make the decision on where to shop for you – 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, or you can often swap the points for vouchers for restaurants, days out or hotel breaks
  • Be aware that the store collects your personal data and shopping details and may use it for marketing and research purposes 

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