Could you cut your food bill by a third?

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1. Slash your bills

Food costs have soared since 2007. Prices of meat, bread, cheese and eggs have increased by about one-third, leaving many shoppers feeling sandwiched between rising prices and falling wages.

If you're feeling the pinch, there are easy ways to keep more pounds in your pocket next time you head to the shops. You can save yourself more than 50% on many popular foods, or one-third on your weekly shop. With just a few changes to your buying, cooking and eating habits you can cut down your costs without cutting the flavour and nutritional value of your food.

2. Change your shopping habits

Planning ahead can trim 50% or more from the cost of everyday foods. Here are six strategies for saving cash on your weekly shop.

Savings are based on products available at the time of writing.

3. Switch to cheap cuts

Save cash at the meat counter. Cheaper, slower-cooked cuts are full of flavour. Here are some swaps for everyday favourite ingredients.

Beef fillet steak

Cost: About £30 per kg. You could save over 70% by switching to...

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Beef skirt

At about £8 per kg, you could save £11 per week or over £550 per year if you bought 500g/1lb 2oz beef skirt steak instead of beef fillet steak each week.

Chicken breast

Cost: About £9.50 per kg. You could save over 50% by switching to...

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Chicken leg

At about £4.50 per kg, you could save £2.50 per week or over £120 per year if you bought 500g/1lb 2oz chicken leg instead of chicken breasts each week.

Leg of lamb

Cost: About £10 per kg. You could save 30% by switching to...

Switch to

Lamb shank

At about £7 per kg, you could save £6 per week or over £300 per year if you bought 2kg/4lb 8oz lamb shanks instead of leg of lamb each week.

Pork loin

Cost: About £7 per kg. You could save 20% by switching to...

Switch to

Pork belly

At about £5.50 per kg pork belly, you could save £1.50 per week or £75 per year if you bought 1kg/2lb 4oz pork belly instead of pork loin each week.

4. Learn tricks to cooking on a budget

Cooking filling and tasty inexpensive meals is easy if you learn these five simple tricks. Go to step eight for links to these and more budget recipes on BBC Food.

Replace fresh fish and veg with frozen. Choosing frozen salmon rather than fresh, as in these salmon and pesto parcels, can save you over 55%.

Stock up on store cupboard offers and have an arsenal of recipes to make from the larder when time and money are tight, like this pasta puttanesca made from canned and bottled foods. See step eight for Simple store cupboard recipes.

Transform small amounts of leftovers into a filling meal, such as this easy chicken and pea risotto, which uses just 250g/9oz cooked chicken to serve four. See the Love your leftovers link in step eight.

Bulk out small amounts of meat with less expensive proteins, as in this chorizo and chickpea stew, which contains less than 50g/2oz chorizo per person. See the How to make meat go further link in step eight.

Make the most of cheaper cuts of meat. Choosing chicken legs rather than breasts, as in this pulled chicken dish, can save you over 50%. Remember, meat prices can be subject to seasonal fluctuations. See the Surprisingly cheap link in step eight.

5. Don't buy takeaway lunches

Takeaway coffees, lunches and snacks quickly add up.A working couple could easily be spending over £4000 a year, significantly eating into their housing costs.

Don’t eat the mortgage! Takeaway coffees, lunches and snacks quickly add up over a five-day week. A working couple spending over £40 each per week could splash out over £4,000 a year, significantly eating into household costs.

6. Make fresh food last longer

In the UK we throw away about 19% of the food we buy. It's believed that in the average household this adds up to £50 worth of food waste per month, or £600 per year. Follow our simple tips for keeping popular foods fresh for longer.

Fruit and veg

About 39% of household food waste is fruit and veg. Keep potatoes and onions in a cool, dark place rather than in the fridge, but do not store them together as they produce gases that can damage each other. They can be wrapped in paper, but not in plastic bags. Keep other veg in the fridge – ideally not at the bottom as most fridges get colder the lower you go – stored in plastic bags if you wish as long as they have holes punched in them. Keep herbs in a glass of water in a cool place.

Avoid fridge chaos

A disorganised fridge can wreak havoc with your food's longevity, flavour and nutritional value. The bottom shelf is the coldest, and ideal for raw meat, fish and poultry. Store eggs on the middle shelf as they shouldn’t get too cold. The top shelf is the warmest and has the most consistent temperature, and therefore is good for dairy and pre-prepared foods that don't need cooking. The doors are the warmest place in the fridge and best for foods containing preservatives. Wrap cheese in a resealable bag and store it in a plastic tub to prevent it from drying out.

7. Make smart food swaps

We get attached to favourite brands, but a blind taste test might reveal that you're just as happy with the cheaper versions once the labels are hidden.

Posh brand for own-label

Branded ketchup can cost approximately 35p per 100g. You can save up to 80% by switching to...

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Own-label ketchup

Own-label ketchup can cost approximately 6.5p per 100g.

Similar but cheaper

Basmati rice can cost approximately £1.90 per kg. You can save up to 75% by switching to...

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Long-grain rice

Long-grain rice can cost approximately 45p per kg.

Chilled for frozen

Fresh cod fillets can cost approximately £12.50 per kg. You can save up to 40% by switching to...

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Frozen cod fillets

Frozen cod fillets can cost approximately £7 per kg.