With supermarkets constantly hiking their prices, energy bills spiralling out of control, and the price of living in general now higher than ever, disposable incomes ae dwindling fast.
As inflation comfortably hits double digits, more and more people are looking for ways of drastically cutting back. While we’ve all seemingly cut back on luxuries, some things we need to survive, literally. Food is one of them. In the UK, the average weekly food shop is now up roughly 17% compared with this time last year, and with other expenses on the up too, we need to make our money stretch further.
To help you bring your costs down, and help your budget stretch further, we’ve got some useful tips on saving money on your food shop.
While we can’t guarantee free food, we can help you enjoy the next best thing. Here are 9 fantastic tips for almost free food.
Sign up for online shopping
Online food shopping is generally not considered as cheap or effective as shopping in person, though if you do create a new account, it can be very beneficial.
Many online supermarkets in the UK offer welcome bonuses and offers to new customers. They want to entice shoppers in and encourage them to shop with them, rather than their competitors. If you create a new account with online supermarkets, they’ll often offer you a welcome bonus.
While the offers vary from chain to chain, typically you may find offers such as £10 off your first shop, £15 off when you spend £60, and so on.
Before you create an account, do your research and find out which chains have the best welcome offers. There’s also nothing stopping you from signing up with multiple chains and enjoying multiple bonuses as a result.
Use food waste supermarkets
Food waste supermarkets are very useful for people looking to save money on their food shops. While you likely won’t enjoy free food, you will save a great deal of money if you use these services.
Basically, food waste supermarkets work in conjunction with supermarkets to help reduce the amount of food being wasted every single day. These services will sell very cheap food that is either about to go out of date, is past its best before, or is damaged in some way but still perfectly edible.
If you want to enjoy free food, you can even volunteer with these schemes and work in the warehouse in return for your items.
Use zero-waste apps
Sticking with the theme of cutting back on food being wasted, zero-waste food apps such as ‘Too Good to Go’ are proving extremely popular.
With these apps, you sign up and can purchase food, meals, and other items which are due to go out of date the following day. You simply buy the goods, collect them, and can then enjoy them for a heavily discounted price. Typically, you can enjoy around 66% off, which is a great discount.
Depending on what you buy, you can either eat the meals when you get home, or you can freeze the, or the goods you’ve bought, and enjoy them as and when needed. It’s not free food, but it’s close.
Treat yourself to a welcome bonus with takeaway apps
Whereas many would consider takeaways a luxury, it’s important to treat yourself now and then, especially when times are as hard as they are now.
If you are craving a takeaway, why not create an account with a takeaway app such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo, or Food Hub, and enjoy a welcome bonus? The welcome bonuses on some of these apps can be very generous, so you can enjoy discounts of anything from 10% to 30% or even a free meal.
These apps are more expensive to use than ordering direct from the takeaway, but if you use the welcome bonus one time, you could literally enjoy free food. As you know, food always tastes better when it’s free, so why not give it a go?
Look for ‘kids eat for free’ offers
Assuming you have children, a great way to literally enjoy free food, or rather, for them to enjoy it, is to look for ‘kids eat for free’ offers.
A great deal of pubs, cafes, and chain restaurants have special offers where kid’s meals are free on certain times and days of the week, so see if there are any near you.
This doesn’t mean you can walk in and feed your kids for free, the free children’s meals typically come if you order an adult meal, or two adult meals. There are some exceptions to this however, where children can literally eat for free, so keep your eyes peeled. These offers and promotions usually run during half term when the kids are off school.
Assuming you know for certain that what you are foraging is indeed safe and healthy to eat, foraging is a great tip to literally enjoy free food.
If you live near woodland or countryside, chances are there will be blackberry or raspberry bushes close by, as well as wild mushrooms. Depending on the time of year, you can find all kinds of fruits, berries, mushrooms, veggies, and fresh herbs growing naturally in the wild.
If you do forage, make sure you know for certain what you are going to be eating, and do so responsibly. Don’t get greedy, only take what you need and be sure to leave plenty for others, and nature itself.
Use cashback apps
Cashback apps such as Quidco and Topcashback are very useful apps for people looking to save money and enjoy free food.
With every purchase you make through the app, you will be rewarded with cashback and other rewards, depending on which sites you buy from. There are also new members offers so you can enjoy even more bonuses.
Enjoy a freebie on your birthday
If it’s your birthday and you want to enjoy a treat without breaking the bank, look for restaurants and chains that offer free food for people’s birthdays.
A lot of restaurants, cafes, pubs, and food chains offer freebies for people on their birthday, so see if there are any near you. Even if they don’t advertise any offers, if you let them know you have a birthday in your party, you’ll likely be treated to a complimentary drink or dessert.
Use food coupons and vouchers
While food vouchers and coupons may seem a bit dated now, they’re still very much a thing and are great for people looking to enjoy almost free food.
Websites, newspapers, and magazines often provide food vouchers and coupons, which you simply need to print off or cut out and present to the cashier at the till as you pay for your food.
Before you use them, though, just double check the terms and conditions.