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How to get free (or cheap) food

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Gone Off!
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MSE_SteveMSE_Steve MSE Staff
78 posts
Newshound! Chutzpah Haggler
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Gone Off!


We've written a new How to get free (or cheap) food guide and would love your feedback.

Please let us know if it was helpful and if there are any other tips you'd add.

Thanks for your help!

MSE Steve


  • alanqalanq Forumite
    4.2K posts
    The index of 15 ways at the top of the article only refers to ways 1,2,5,8,9,10,12.
  • MysteryMeMysteryMe Forumite
    2.6K posts
    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Most of the tips on that list are either for one off purchases of junk food or simply frivolous. It really brings the site down as a useful resource for people who genuinely want to save money on food bills IMO.
  • robin58robin58 Forumite
    2.8K posts
    Didn't mention number 16= nick it!
    The more I live, the more I learn.
    The more I learn, the more I grow.
    The more I grow, the more I see.
    The more I see, the more I know.
    The more I know, the more I see,
    How little I know.!! ;)
  • Doc_NDoc_N Forumite
    7.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    For anyone thinking of signing up with HGEM (previously The Mystery Dining Company) you might want to take a look at this thread:

    It isn't remotely what it used to be, payments frequently don't even cover the cost of meals, most of the 'meals' are fast food outlets like Subway (with a trivial reimbursement of around £5) and for that miserly sum you can spend well over an hour on the report.

    There was a time when it was mainly restaurants, but those days have long passed. It's all about minimal reimbursements now and getting enough diners on board to cover all the ones who drop out because it's just too much hassle for a trifling return.

    And, all that apart, the condescending attitude of the people checking the reports beggars belief!
  • edited 4 November 2017 at 3:21PM
    fatbellyfatbelly Forumite
    15.2K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Cashback Cashier Car Insurance Carver!
    edited 4 November 2017 at 3:21PM
    Number 8 would be better as Forage for food for free - it's not just fruit.

    One of my relatives lives on the coast and goes walking each day. She brings back a variety of green veg.

    At other times she collects edible flowers, nuts and fungi!

    I don't fancy this myself, but I have seen people collect mussels and other shellfish
  • Download Olio app, free food sharing app. Every week I manage to pick up top quality Pret a manger, vegetables, fruit and bakery from M&S.

    Some of the foods are well in date and some are a bit stale so you can choose what you want. Also it encourages reuducing food waste. Ive seen people post leftover gravy's, half bottle of ketchup etc
  • BacmanBacman Forumite
    225 posts
    100 Posts Photogenic First Anniversary Mortgage-free Glee!
    Foraging for food - I like to get blackberries and apples.

    Blackberries - let them swim in water and inspect each one as you often get insects on them. When washed, microwave in batches enough so they get quite warm but not cooked, then use a sieve to press out the juice from all the seeds. About half of the volume of blackberries are seeds so you need to remove them. You can then freeze in small containers and use throughout the year. Freezing also means less messy to use too - I like to put some in jelly, so pop in the juice from the freezer, all nice and clean!

    Apples - there are many varieties, some cookers some eaters; some tasty and lush, some powdery. Some which are a little on the sour side if left in the fridge for a month will sweeten and ripen fine. I've still got apples I put in the fridge in October which are perfectly fine; just check every now and again to remove any which are going off.

    Foraged fruit is organic, free, fresh and tasty - and fun to pick. Blackberry and apple is very nice, and also apple sponges and pies are lovely. Also of course you can make jams with the above.
  • There are 2 really good training restaurants in Birmingham, at the College of Cakes, . The Atrium is fine dining, whereas the Brasserie is a little more relaxed. The food is excellent and the service very good.
    Whatever you do, do it safely.
  • Miles_WMiles_W Forumite
    15 posts
    First Anniversary
    This KFC survey hack is worth using if you're going to be spending more than about £10.

    1. First, order only a minor item, such as a small drink or a snack.
    2. On your receipt is a URL to a survey site. Using your mobile, go to this site, enter the codes at the top of the receipt and complete the survey (only takes a couple of minutes to do the first few questions, the rest of the survey is optional). You can have your drink or snack at the same time, if you like.
    3. Make a note or screenshot the code you get at the end of the survey.
    4. Now go to the counter and place your main order, the code you got at step 3 gives you 15% off your order total.

    As an example, say you're going to be buying meals for 6 people at a cost of about £50. If you initially buy a single Flamin' Wrap for £1.49, then the 15% discount will save you £7.50 on your main order, saving you £6.01 overall (and you get a snack as a bonus).

    On one visit, where the managers were trying to encourage survey participation to get their numbers up, I was offered a "dummy" receipt (so I didn't have to pay for a separate item) and completed the survey at the till.
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