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Food Swaps

Ever been embarrassed opening your food cupboards in front of people because they're full of supermarket's own brand or value food? Shop smart and mask your groceries and you can save up to £20 per week.


How to buy cheap groceries and get away with it


Here's how to camouflage your unbranded food shop... It's bad enough when you're walking around the supermarket with a trolley full of own-brand goods and someone you know spots you, but opening the cupboards in front of family and friends can be soul-destroying.

Food Swaps

The credit crunch has hit people hard lately and with the cost of living rising and the wages staying the same, something has to give.

food swaps

In my house, it's usually the food shopping as that's the biggest weekly bill. Own brand labels are becoming more and more acceptable as people are turning to them, there used to be a stigma attached but that has long been disregarded.

Storage Containers


Rice, Grains & Pasta


food storage jars

Jars are great for storing your food, you can store items such as:

Pasta - Rice - Flour - Lentils - Dried Peas - Seeds

These items when stored in jars look great in any kitchen, you can get jars of all shapes and sizes and thy really are an eye-catching addition to your home. I personally keep these types of items on display.

They are air-tight, and keep your food fresh for months.


Fruit & Vegetables


fruit veg rack

Just take everything out of those embarrassing value packets (remember to recycle your old packaging) and invest in a nice fruit bowl for your table and a vegetable trolley for your kitchen.

Not only does your fruit and veg haul look great in your kitchen but it encourages the children to have it to hand and eat more healthily. Your home will have a lovely rustic/homely feel.

Did you know you should never put mangoes, aubergines, or tomatoes in the fridge? You would be surprised which fruits actually belong in the fruit bowl and are supposed to be stored at room temperature.

There's plenty of choices available for fruit and vegetable storage to suit your needs, you can get various sizes, shapes, colours, and materials.




cereal storage containers

You can purchase your own brand cereals and convert them straight in to a cereal container.

The advantages include:

Dishwasher safe

Portion control

No embarrassing 'value' boxes

Easy to pour - No more spillage from hard to open cereal boxes

Easily identify the cereal you want

These types of containers are plastic are usually stored away in the cupboard but are so much neater and compact.


Fridge Items


fridge food in tubs

I tend to use standard (see-through)Tupperware (not necessarily branded) for fridge items, they can come straight out of the packaging and straight into a Tupperware box.

Eggs: People often forget that most fridges come with an egg holder inbuilt, these usually hold 6 or 12 eggs and help you utilise space in your fridge.

Butter: This can easily be taken from its wrapper and placed in a special butter dish.

Again these boxes are air tight, keeping your food nice and fresh, I immediately un-package and store items such as:

Cooked meats, ham, chicken, etc


Raw Meats, Bacon, Sausages, etc



Fresh fish

It's only what you would do once you had opened it to keep it fresh anyway, so why not do it before.

Tip When buying takeaways or other products in plastic reusable tubs, wash and reuse for your fridge items.




pickles and preserves

Now, this is by far my best cheat,

Own brand pickles such as:

Pickled onions




These can be bought so much cheaper in the value brands than branded, all you have to do is transfer them into a clear jar with no labels and create a "homemade" label. You will have people thinking you are the perfect housewife/househusband and no one will ever suspect a thing.

You can even carry it through to items like jam and chutneys.





Olive oil - If you purchase a good quality olive oil in a nice bottle when it's on offer, this can easily be refilled with a cheap brand oil.

Spices - No rustic kitchen should be without a spice rack, herbs and spices are all available in 'own brand' for little cost, you can fill up your spice rack with them and have it looking lovely and smelling better.

Sauces - There's plenty of novelty sauce dispensers on the market use this to your advantage, keep it topped up with 'own brand' sauce or again you could even buy a large branded bottle and wash it out after use and fill it with value sauce.

Salt and Pepper - Buy some salt and pepper shakers and keep them topped up with 'own brand' salt and pepper, no one will be any the wiser.


Tea, Coffee & Sugar

tea coffee sugar containers

Most homes have tea, coffee, and sugar canisters but if you don't.....buy one.

Coffee, in particular, is really expensive these days and most people are quite fussy and only drink name brands, but when you go out for a breakfast in a local cafe, they serve cheap coffee and no one seems to bat an eyelid.

It's because you eat/drink with your eyes first, some people see their own brand food and drinks and immediately assume they don't/won't like it.

But if a friend comes over for a cuppa the chances are they won't even question it when you make it straight from the canisters.


Biscuits & Chocolate

cookie jar


A pack of value biscuits can cost between 20-50p whereas branded biscuits usually cost between 50p and £1.

Personally, I can't taste the difference and I'm sure your family wouldn't.

Buy a biscuit barrel or cookie jar for your kitchen counter, you can fill these with own brand biscuits.

You can buy a tin or recycle an old biscuit tin to keep any chocolate bars in too. 


Cleaning Products

cleaning products

It's not just your food items you can save on, I buy brand name items such as comfort but only when it's on offer, then I refill the bottle with a cheaper version. You can do this with pretty much any 'under the sink' products such as:

Washing tablets

Dishwasher tablets

Spray bottles

Washing up liquid

Fabric softer

All have packaging that can be opened and re-stocked.

Toilet roll: This can be opened and put into a toilet roll holder so the brand can be disguised.


Where to get Cheap Storage

You don't have to pay a fortune for these items, places like Ikea and your local supermarket sell things like this for great prices.

Online, you won't beat online stores like Amazon and Ebay for value items such as these.

Shops such as B&M and home bargains now have gorgeous 'Mrs Hinch' style storage solutions at bargain prices. 

Charity shops or thrift stores, check these out, get your items cheaply and help a good cause.

Car boot sales are great for picking storage-type items up for hardly any money.

Ask family and friends, you will be surprised how many people have items like this collecting dust in the cupboards.

Check out freebie sites, and post a wanted ad, again lots of people will have these types of things lying around.


More Ways to Save on Groceries

Firstly you need to use the cheapest Supermarket of 2024 to ensure you're getting the lowest price possible for your groceries.

Finally and perhaps the best way of saving cash on your food shopping is to use Seasonal Picks and coupons. You can find paper coupons in all kinds of places, such as:

Free newspapers - Such as the Metro which you can find on most methods of public transport. 

Magazines - which you don't necessarily even need to buy, simply ask friends and family to pass on theirs once finished, then cut out all the coupons.

Supermarkets - Sometimes on entering your local supermarket there will be people handing out coupons or a table with some laid out on, also on the actual checkout there's usually a free magazine that has loads of coupons in.  Also, check out the free food sample desks, as they often hand out coupons too. 

Online - For Online coupons and Seasonal Picks you can, of course, get a whole load of offers and online discounts for your favourite supermarkets in our Food & Groceries section.


You might Like: These ways to lower your grocery bill 


You can use our FREE Printable Meal Plan & Grocery Budget Template to really help you cut your food spending by thousands a year.


As always if you have any great tips to stock up on cheap groceries without the embarrassment, let us know in the comments below...

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Claire Roach Founder & CEO @ Money Saving Central

Claire Roach Money Saving Central Founder

Claire is the UK's #1 'Online Shopping Expert', she is best known for creating sale date tracking to reveal UK sale dates so her followers are first to know when the next sale is due to land for their favourite stores - making her unpopular with major UK retailers!

Featured in major news outlets and TV shows such as 'This Morning', 'The Times Money Mentor' 'Closer magazine, 'The Guardian' and many more for posts such as the viral 'Kids Eat Free' and 'Supermarket 25% off Wine Deal Dates' promotions she features. Read More