How to save money on rising grocery bills: Money Saving Amy shares her latest hints and tips

As families struggle to get by through the cost of living crisis, the Star has teamed up with 'Money Saving Amy' in a bid to help families with some handy hints and tips.

Amy Grayland has teamed up with the Express & Star to help readers cut costs
Amy Grayland has teamed up with the Express & Star to help readers cut costs

Hello everyone. I wanted to start today with a quick round-up of the latest freebies on offer, writes mother-of-two Amy Grayland.

This week I’m bringing you some tips and tricks on saving money on food shopping. I think you’ll all agree the prices rises are quite shocking currently, but there are a few ways to beat the rising costs.

Firstly, I want to talk about the Olio app.

This is an app that people can give surplus food, drink and more away on. Along with anyone being able to list items they’re clearing out, the app has lots of “food waste heroes” and these are people who very kindly donate their time to go and collect surplus supermarket food that hasn’t sold and then list it on Olio for people to collect.

Supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda and more are on board with this, which is fantastic seeing the supermarkets joining the fight to stop waste.

I have spotted a wide range of food and drink on there from plant-based milk, meat, vegetables, desserts and more. And there’s always a big surplus of bread. With items such as bread and vegetables they last way beyond their best before dates and so even though the best before may be dated the day that they’re listed, they’ll last much longer. I’ve had bread last another week or two, and vegetables last weeks. Plus of course you can freeze the food.

Learning about freezing food

I wanted to mention an Instagram page that is fantastic for learning about freezing food, the page is called Canifreezeit, Kate Hall, who runs this page also runs the page @thefullfreezer. I am always amazed by what food can be frozen, in general it’s pretty much everything, when it’s done in the right way! She showcases how to freeze things such as peanut butter, cake batter, lentils, kiwi, herbs and spices and so much more, things that you would necessarily think could be frozen.

I have been trying to learn to freeze more, especially since sometimes collecting items from the Olio app. Lately I’ve frozen things such as berries, to later add to smoothies, bread rolls that were left over from a pack, naan breads that were again left over from an opened packet, and I’ve sliced up left over lemons and limes and frozen them, to then add to drinks as ice cubes and to add flavour.

So I highly recommend downloading the Olio app and having a browse, plus of course if you’re having a clear out, you could list your items on there. You can also list non food items on there plus Olio has recently added a section for people to lend and borrow items and there’s a “wanted” section where you can post a listing detailing an item you are looking for.

The app is free to download and free to use. There is a section that people can sell things, which again was recently added, but there’s no obligation to buy/sell on there.

This app is where shops, restaurants and cafes can list “magic bags on”. Magic bags contain food that is left over at the end of the day, and usually going out of date that day (sometimes, it’s the next day!). There’s a wide range of eateries and shops on there including Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Costa, Morrisons and lots of small independent business’s. The pick up times vary and will be detailed on the listing.

There’s a couple of important things to know about this app, I personally think paying attention to the star ratings is advisable, the higher the rating, the better the bag is likely to be. I would strongly advise sticking to 4 stars + on there, and although ones with lower ratings may sometimes be okay, just bear in mind these could be not quite as impressive as the other bags. Another thing to bear in mind is that a shop may list a bag the day before, and you may claim it, but it could be cancelled if the shop doesn’t have surplus food that day, but you get an automatic refund and luckily, this doesn’t seem to happen too often.

I have personally had great experiences with Medicine bakery, Starbucks, Costa and Pound Bakery. And more disappointing experiences with Morrisons. Of course, the experience of each bag may vary Store to store and area to area. My Starbucks bag contained lovely fresh cakes, that I popped in an airtight container and saved for the next day for a picnic. My pound bakery bag was the most stuffed one and contained lots of sandwiches and cakes. The medicine bakery bags have always been fab, I love to eat in there but also love picking up a magic bag for an extra treat at home.

The idea of the app is to not waste leftover food, so not only is it great for a bargain but also great for saving food waste.

Finally today, I want to mention the Jam Doughnut app.

I use most days and absolutely can’t recommend enough. The reason I’m mentioning it today is that they have boosted their supermarket cashback for the whole month of September! So it’s a great time to sign up and take advantage of the boosted cash back. If you use my referral code “EHRY” when signing up, you’ll receive a £2 bonus on your first purchase.

The app is very simple, you can buy a gift card from a wide range of retailers from supermarkets, shops, restaurants and pubs, there’s very few that are not on there! My personal favourites to save money on are Primark with eight per cent back, Costa, also with eight per cent back and most of the major supermarkets including Aldi, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

The gift cards are just like physical gift cards, but on your phone. They have long expiry dates leaving you lots of time to use them and they gain you instant cash back into your Jam Doughnut wallet.

I recently ran some polls on Instagram asking my followers what their average spends were on a variety of places such as supermarkets, Costa and petrol or diesel. The answers ranged vastly but a typical answer for a family of 4 was a £5000-£6000 spend per year on supermarkets alone. That means they could be gaining £150-£180 cash back per year going through Jam Doughnut (based on the boosted amount of three per cent cashback), that’s using a Tesco gift card, it would be even higher at Morrisons as they offer 4 per cent back currently. Jam Doughnut also have four per cent on Morrisons fuel, again this could be saving people up to hundreds per year, particularly if they commute a lot.

If you combine supermarket shopping, petrol costs, meals and treats out and gift buying, this app would be saving most people a lot of money, this could be put towards making your money go further, or a Christmas food shop or maybe even a small holiday at somewhere like Butlins.

I hope that these tips have been very helpful and help you to save on those rising grocery bills.

I hope these tips have been useful, you can find me sharing daily tips and tricks on my Instagram _moneysavingamy and Facebook moneysavingamy.

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