It seems like everywhere you look at the moment is a scary newspaper headline or social media forums discussing the ever increasing cost of living. We cannot get away from it it seems. I have joined quite a lot of money saving groups online and I have picked up some great ideas as well as lots of information on the best/cheapest supermarkets and some brilliant flash deals. There are loads of great Instagram and Facebook influencers also who are really savvy and I’m planning to write a post up about this soon so keep your eyes peeled. I used to write a lot about money saving particularly when I was on maternity leave so I thought now is the perfect time to get back into it and I am starting off with some of my favourite ways to cut down on food spending!
- Do a pantry/cupboard and fridge/freezer stock take. Work out exactly what you have and write it down in a list. Get a small notebook just for this and list every item you have, 2 bags of pasta, 3 tins of beans and so on. Take this notebook shopping with you or to organise your online shops. It will stop you overspending and just buy what you actually need.
- Meal plan – using your existing stock lists work out what you need to add and plan out a week or even a month ahead of meals. You don’t have to have a rigid meal plan, if you are anything like me you will get bored with knowing on Thursday you are supposed to have lasagne when you really fancy curry. Keep it more of a loose plan of the meals you are going to have that week and then each night just choose one.
- Use own brands where it makes barely any difference to taste – for example keep your Heinz ketchup but buy own brand chopped tomatoes, pasta and rice. The savings are impressive. I’ve been trying out the essential ranges at various supermarkets – more on that to come soon!
- Use your leftovers to create new meals, you can easily turn bolognese into chilli or you can just use it as a jacket potato topper or my personal fave NACHOS. Some more ideas can be found in one of my older posts here.
- Make your own stocks by simmering leftover bones/carcasses and vegetables. These can be frozen to use at a later date for sauces, stews and gravies.
- Bulk out curries and stews with cheaper vegetables and less meat, many people also add lentils or even porridge oats! Not only are you saving pennies as meat is generally the most expensive part of your meal but you are normally adding more goodness and vitamins too.
- Keep an eye on use by dates on meats. Veggies can be used as long as they look smell/okay but meat needs to be frozen before it expires. Being more careful with dates etc on food will save you a lot in the long run plus if you are like me you probably hate wasting/throwing away meat.
- Shop around. If you do most of your food shopping online then try each supermarket once to benefit from introductory offers and choose which one works best for you and your families needs. You can also alternate which shop you use and you will inevitably receive vouchers via email to tempt you back to the one you haven’t used recently.
- Try to always have staples like pasta, tuna and tinned vegetables in your cupboards to avoid the temptation to order takeaways. Always have something there to create a basic quick meal.
- If you see veggies such as carrots, leeks or peppers ( amongst many others ) in the reduced section buy them and dice them up and pop in the freezer.
- Be a savvy shopper. For example chicken breasts are far pricier than chicken thighs and in my opinion thighs are far tastier. Or buy frozen / tinned fruit instead of fresh, not only are they cheaper but you are less likely to forget about them until a collection of fruit flies remind you.
- Buy items like rice in the world food section of the supermarket. They are sold in larger packs but work out far more cost effective.
What are your top tips for cutting down on food shopping? Share some if you have any I’ve not mentioned and I’ll add them into part two.
Coming up soon I have some ideas for bulk cooking which is great for saving on energy costs as well as a huge timesaver and I’ll be telling you what I think of the essential ranges on offer in my local supermarkets. I am also planning to share with you how I keep my home cosy throughout the autumn/winter months to avoid spending so much on gas and electric so again if you have any ideas please feel free to share in the comments or on social media. I hope you are all keeping well, I’ve been far less active on here this past year or two as I have been pretty unwell, each post is taking several weeks to complete rather than my usual few hours as my brain fog and fatigue can be a little overwhelming but I am trying my best to get my brain back into the swing of things so fingers crossed you’ll hear more from me soon!