Six ways to get free and cheap food from supermarkets including Tesco and Lidl as costs soar | The Sun

Six ways to get free and cheap food from supermarkets including Tesco and Lidl as costs soar | The Sun


FOOD shopping is going up but cutting costs where you can could make a big difference.

The cost of living is taking its toll on us all and we're all looking for ways to reduce costs.

Food prices have risen by a record 16.7% over the last twelve months, according to Kantar.

And this dramatic rise in prices is estimated to add a potential £788 to the annual shopping bills of the average household.

But there are ways to cut costs, and while sometimes they may seem like small saves, they can make a big dig difference.

We've listed some handy hints below that you can use next time you head out for your grocery shop.

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Bear in mind that there may be more ways to save so do see what else is available.

Healthy Start vouchers

Families that qualify for the Healthy Start scheme get one or two vouchers per week, per child, depending how old each child is.

These cards can be used for supermarket shopping to buy milk, formula, fruit and vegetables.

Some other places like convenience stores and drug stores will also accept them.

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Claimants will get money added onto their Healthy Start card every four weeks.

The price depends on your circumstances but you'll get:

  • £4.25 each week of your pregnancy from the 10th week
  • £8.50 each week for children from birth to one year old
  • £4.25 each week for children between one and four years old

You'll be eligible if you get Universal Credit and:

  • you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or have at least one child under 4 years old
  • your family’s monthly ‘take-home pay for this period’ is £408 or less from employment

Or if you get Child Tax Credit and:

  • you have at least one child under 4 years old
  • your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less
  • you do not get Working Tax Credit

You can apply online via the Healthy Start website.

Household Support Fund

Hard-up households can get free cash from their local council as part of the government's £421million Households Support Fund.

The fund was extended until March 2023 to help the country's vulnerable households.

And some councils offer supermarket vouchers for families who are struggling.

For example, thousands of residents in Luton can get up to £500 electronic vouchers to help pay for food, utility bills and other essentials.

While those living in North Yorkshire can get either £85 or £325 in free e-vouchers.

And households in Kingston can get up to £500 in vouchers.

The amount you get depends on your circumstances and the funding your local council has.

To apply, you'll usually need to head to your council's website and search "Household Support Fund",though some people who qualify have already been invited.

Lidl veg box

Supermarket Lidl offers shoppers the chance to bag themselves a five kilo box of fruit or veg for just £1.50.

The discount supermarket sells bundles of imperfect produce due to be chucked out through its Waste Not scheme.

The contents of your bargain box will vary each time as each bundle is put together on the day by Lidl’s in-store "freshness specialists".

The boxes aren’t available all day, so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled.

When in stock, the goods will be up for grabs from opening until midday. 

After 12pm, the remaining boxes are given to local charities through Lidl’s surplus food programme, Feed it Back.

But note, availability varies, and not all stores will have them.

Sainsbury's veg box

Sainsbury's shoppers can also get their hands on a fruit and veg box.

The store recently started selling huge boxes filled with fresh produce at a bargain price – just £2.

The contents depends on the day and what has sold and is still fresh.

You'll have to keep an eye out for them, or perhaps ask a member of staff in store.

Of course, stock will vary depending on the time you go and which store you visit.

According to some, this veggie and fruit box is only a trial in selected stores and they're not available until late afternoon.

Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go which connects hungry Brits with food chains and supermarkets that have leftover food which would otherwise be thrown away, in a bid to curb food waste.

With Too Good To Go, shoppers can buy the food at a discounted price, making sweet savings.

You pay through the app and get given a slot before closing time to go and pick it up.

What you get will depend on your location and what has sold at that shop or café that day.

The app is free to download so it's always worth checking what's available – you never know what you could get.

Supermarket loyalty schemes

Most supermarkets have their own loyalty schemes which customers can sign up to to earn points and get discounts on products.

Tesco offers personalised coupons to its loyal customers through its Clubcard scheme.

Asda Rewards allows customers to collect "Asda pounds" every time they buy Star Products and complete Missions in store.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury's revamped the Nectar loyalty scheme in 2019 to also offer personalised discounts.

Customers can see the deals on the website or app each week, then collect the extra points if they buy the item in store or online.

Morrisons shoppers can no longer collect points through the My Morrisons loyalty scheme after the scheme was overhauled in May 2021 and points collecting scrapped.

Instead of getting points, shoppers now receive digital coupons that can be used for instant savings in stores. 

Meanwhile, Lidl launched a loyalty app in September 2020.

And in July 2020, M&S scrapped its traditional points card model and now offers a rewards scheme for its shoppers.

How else can I cut my grocery costs?

Research what you need before you go. Prices always vary by supermarket and it can pay to change up your shop.

One shopper ditched going to supermarkets altogether in favour of their local wholesaler, that way they could stock up in bulk, at lower prices.

You can also cash in on reduced foods like yellow sticker bargains – these will be items reduced because they're about to meet their best-before date.

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They'll still be safe to eat or freeze to make them last longer, but it means you can pick up the same products at an even cheaper price.

Sometimes even timing your shop to stock up just as items are discounted on the shelves can help you get the best bargains – lots of shoppers have said this is in the evening typically.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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