how to create a food budget in 2024

Healthy eating can get expensive but with the right planning it is achievable. Here, we share some practical tips to stretch your budget.

Rate this content

If you're already struggling with budgeting for other household bills, the last thing you need is a high food shopping bill. Luckily, making your food budget stretch further is easy.

With a little know-how and planning, you can stretch your weekly food budget to feed the family for less.


Our free online financial courses can help you manage your money better.

join the course

how to stretch your food budget


make meal plans

Planning ahead for the week will give you time to think about your nutritional needs and your food budget. Once you’ve decided on your meal plan, write a shopping list of ingredients. You should also check expiry dates of your store cupboard ingredients so you know which ones to use first. Looking for budget meal plan ideas? Take a look at BeatTheBudget for budget-friendly recipes.

select recipes with common ingredients

TO make the most of your food budget, try to use recipes that have common ingredients that exist in your cupboards. This includes items such as chopped tomatoes, pasta, rice and mixed beans. If a recipe calls for a special ingredient, think about how much that ingredient costs and if you'll use it again before it goes out of date.

plan for leftovers

Cut down on food waste by freezing leftovers, or using them to create another meal with the next day. According to the recycling organisation WRAP UK, the average UK family could save up to £700 a year by tackling food waste. 

swap fresh for frozen

Not only does it last longer, but frozen food often costs less and is just as nutritious. Produce such as fish is frozen straight away to lock in the nutrietns, so buying frozen can actually be healthier than thawed produce sold in fridges.

find the reduced sections

Look out for reduced-price bargains in supermarkets and freeze them straight away to use within the next few weeks. The best times to browse these sections is from 6pm-8pm.

check local food banks

Many places have community fridges that offer free and low-cost food available to everyone. This includes surplus food from supermarkets and items expiring that day - check your local council website for more information.

grow your own

If you're lucky enough to have a garden, growing fruit and vegetables is a great way to reduce your shopping budget.  Even if you only have a patio, many types of fruit, veg and herbs can be grown in containers and pots. The RHS has some fantastic advice if you’re not sure where to start.

Eating on a budget doesn't mean you have to forego healthy, tasty recipes. Find out more here.


shop without a list

Having a shopping list means that you will only buy what you need, stick to your budget and save time. Not only will you be tempted to buy impulse items you don’t need, you’ll miss ingredients you need for healthy recipes, meaning you’ll have to make a return trip for the forgotten items.

shop when you're hungry

Avoid shopping when you're hungry as you'll be more tempted by unhealthy treats and impulse purchases. Be wary of multi-buy offers as they may seem like good value for money, but you may end up buying more than you can actually use.   

forget about loyalty cards

Most well-known supermarkets have loyalty cards that you can scan with every shop, adding points to your balance. It's a great idea to build up your balance and redeem this free money during expensive periods such as Christmas.

If you're wondering what loyalty cards are available in the UK and which are best to help your food budget go further, has a useful guide.

buy everything from one supermarket

Shop around for the best prices if you have time. Local markets often sell fruit, veg, fish and meat cheaper than supermarkets, as well as many butchers. Farmers' markets are also usually cheaper, especially when you buy produce that's in season.

buy too many fresh ingredients

Only buy enough fresh ingredients to last you a few days to ensure you eat them all before they start going off. This can mean you spend more money on food and waste your budget by creating food waste.

Find out more about how you can cut down on food waste and save money by visiting the Love Food Hate Waste website for recipe ideas and useful tips.

For advice and support on improving your budgeting skills, read our budgeting tips article.

Do you want to improve your diet and nutrition? Join our free online course to boost your activity levels and develop simple exercises you can do at home.

join the course here

find out more about caba's financial services

There are everyday and exceptional problems that can affect us all at some point in our lives. We're here for you. We can arrange for you to receive financial support to help you work through any difficulties you may be facing. Don't forget our support is free, impartial and strictly confidential.

talk to us

further reading 

MicrosoftTeams-image (23).png

how to save energy at home

Find out some ways to reduce your energy bills at home and how we can help support you through rising energy costs.

View more

financial tools

Find our useful budget planners, benefits and grants search tools and pension calculator to help you plan ahead and get your finances on track.

View more
why budget -1149325200 - resized.jpg

5 simple budgeting tips

Do you have a personal budget? This article features plenty of practical budgeting advice and some key benefits of budgeting, as well as five simple budgeting tips to help you get started.

View more

debt toolkit: six-step guide to sorting your finances

Support Officer and debt expert Lee Melling explores the steps you can take to tackle debt effectively. He also reveals how we can help you improve your financial situation.

View more

training and events

21 May 2024

supercharge your sleep

In need of a good night’s sleep? This training explores a range of ideas and activities, all aimed at helping you improve the quality and …
enhanced webinar
22 May 2024

espresso eat well on a budget

Preparing appetising, nourishing meals without breaking the bank is an ongoing challenge for many of us. This interactive session is a …
espresso series
23 May 2024

espresso boost your communication skills 1 – imparting information effectively 

What would it be like if you could interact in a way that impresses, influences and inspires? Whether it’s in writing, video calls or in person, …
espresso series
4 June 2024

espresso handling personal change positively

In a rapidly evolving world, change is inevitable. From globalisation to technological advancements and recent global events, our lives and work …
espresso series

view all training and events 

your questions answered 

Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students. 

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means-tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means-tested. 

I’m an accountant, but not a member of ICAEW, can you still help?

Unfortunately not. We only support past and present ICAEW members, their carers and their families. If we are unable to support you, where possible we will point you to help elsewhere.

caba has supported me in the past; can I receive support from caba again?

We understand that circumstances change. If we’ve helped you in the past there’s no reason why we can’t help you again. You can contact us at any time. Please call us if you need our help.

view more questions

Not got the answer to your question?