This Shopping Hack Can Shave Off £1000 From Your Food Bills, Says Financial Guru

Ever heard of the 'downshift challenge'?
Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd via Getty Images

We’re all looking to save money where we can. In our new series, Small Change, financial gurus share everyday hacks that soon add up.

Be honest, do you conduct the weekly food shop like a zombie? After a busy week, many of us will throw tried and tested products in the trolly or fill up our online baskets from our list of favourites.

But that’s no longer an option. In August, the price of food rose at its fastest rate since 2008, as pressure from the war in Ukraine continued to push up costs.

We can expect this level of food inflation to be with us “for at least another six months”, according to Mike Watkins from the market monitor NielsenIQ. And while we wait for government intervention, we’re all looking for ways to cut back.

One idea is to try the ‘downshift challenge’ – an idea recommended by this week’s financial guru, Julian House. If stuck to diligently, the concept could save you up to a grand a year.

So, how does it work?

Try the downshift challenge

“The most lucrative way to save money on your weekly shop is simply by taking part in the ‘downshift challenge’ – but don’t be perturbed, this is a case of challenge by name, not by nature,” says House, a financial expert and managing director of

“Simply by dropping a brand level on your food shop – avoiding the ‘finest’ and ‘luxury’ products in lieu of Own Brand and Value alternatives – you can, over the course of a year, bag up to £1,000 in savings.

“The aim is basic; seeking out lower-priced variations that taste virtually the same as the premium products you would usually purchase, with the ultimate goal of saving a serious amount of money.

“I couldn’t recommend this enough for anyone that is either struggling to make ends meet or foresees tougher financial times ahead.”

Of course, this tip won’t work for those of you who are already buying value brands. Instead, you might want to download these supermarket apps, which can help all customers make savings on their food shop.

But for those in the habit of buying branded goods (hello, Lurpack butter), it’s worth trying the downshift challenge on your next shop. Every time you go to select an item, ask yourself if going one grade lower will really impact your meals.

The chances are, you’ll barely notice the shift on your plate, but the savings might surprise you.

Jackie Ferrentino for Huffpost