Shopping for food in France can be expensive. Here are my top 10 frugal ways to food shop in France.
1 – Bring your own shopping bags – a basic, but essential for the frugal food shopper, the environment and your pocket. Even basic carrier bags also cost money in France.
2 – Make sure you’re paying in euros, not your old/home currency – the conversion on UK sterling debit cards, for example, is eyewatering. Make sure you have a euro card to pay for your shopping with.
3 – If you receive the “pub” or advert leaflets to your home or holiday home in France, be sure to check it out for any offers which you would like to take advantage of. The “foire aux vins” in early summer can be great value.
4 – Bring the “pub” leaflet with you if it’s an important purchase! Sometimes the offer doesn’t show up at the till, or the store hasn’t yet updated their signage to reflect the reduction. If you’re in the right, it will be easier to explain with evidence.
5 – Try out new French foods and avoid only buying the things which you used to buy before. Yes, I know Heinz baked beans taste nice, but they’re going to be MUCH more expensive than the shop’s own brand of “haricots blancs à la tomate”. And don’t even get me started on the cost of Marmite!
6 – Buy in bulk! If you have the storage, there are often offers on buying larger quantities on things which you know you will use and have a long shelf life – for example, washing powder or dishwasher tablets.
7 – Buying in bulk means you won’t need to make so many trips to the shops, which also saves fuel, which saves the planet, and your wallet – an underrated way to tick off one of my 10 Frugal ways to food shop in France.
8 – Check the weight per kilo of loose fruit and veg vs bagged. There’s no hard and fast rule for which will be more economical. Be sure to check both before putting an item in your basket.
10 – Think of your freezer – can’t eat your 24 reduced to clear pain-au-raisin in the next three days? No, nor can I, hard as I am willing to try. So freeze them and pop them back in the oven before you need them for a tasty stasis-conserved treat.