Food is one of the biggest expenses we have as a family. Food is also a necessary, therefore trying to manage this cost effectively whilst wasting less is very important. Just the other day I was reading an article that said that people in Britain throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year from their homes, and most of this could have been used.
Here are 15 of my top tips for keeping costs down and wasting less.
1. Shop at
We all tend to use the supermarket for buying our food mainly out of convenience however, we can often find better deals from independent sellers. Markets are often cheaper for fruit and veg than big stores, especially at the end of the day when they will be trying to get rid of leftover produce. Butchers may have weekly deals or may throw in a few extras so it’s well worth hunting around.
2. Buy Fresh
Buying fresh uncooked meat for sandwiches and cooking it yourself at home is also a great way to save. This is substantially cheaper than prepackaged cooked meats and healthier as it does not contain preservatives or sugar.
3. Buy Bulk
If you have the room, buying bulk buy or larger bags of grain, rice and pasta is a great idea. They last a long time if stored correctly, and will save you a lot of money in the long run.
4. Reduced Goods
Reduced section food goods can be great if you know you will use them the same day.
5. Bulking and Batch Cooking
Bulking out bolognaise or chilli con carne with lentils is something I do a lot, they are cheap to buy and full of protein, this will make more and make the meat go further. This will also save you cooking time. In fact, making big batches of most food dishes and freezing them in portioned pots/containers will help save time and money.
6. Get Saucy
Meat can be pricey so making dishes in homemade sauces will also make meat go further, adding lots of vegetables will also boost nutrition.
7. Put down the ready meals!
Don’t be tempted to buy ready meals, they cost more than fresh meals and although they may save you a little time you will be getting less food. A stirfry can be put together very quickly and will be better for you, for days when you have less time.
8. Be creative
For fruit that has seen better days, you can blend it in a smoothie, stew it and freeze it and use as a topper for porridge, in crumbles, pies or cakes.
9. Make your own
Some things like are cheaper to make yourself for example; Don’t be drawn in to buying expensive infused oils, buy the plain oil of your choice and add the flavour with spices or garlic etc. Try not to cook with olive oil, olive oil is more expensive than other oils, the taste will also be lost in the cooking process so it’s best saved for salads.
10. Make a List
Before you go shopping make a list, otherwise you may buy things you don’t need and forget things you do. This is a big must.
11. Be the coupon lady (or man)
Use those coupons, 20p may not seem a lot, but it all adds up over time.
There are hundreds of online voucher code websites brimming with reduced offers and buy one get one frees! Check out Sainsbury’s voucher codes for example.
12. Avoid being misled
Look above and below eye level when shopping in the supermarket. You will notice that expensive things are put at an average eye level..
13. Don’t go shopping when you are hungry
Try not to go shopping when hungry psychologically it makes people tend to want to buy more and pick up more treat items. Shopping without children in tow will make it cheaper as you won’t be tempted to buy things they ask for.
14. Freeze it
If you can’t finish a loaf of bread, freeze the rest and take out as and when you need it. This can be done with multiple foods so check the label.
15. Longer lasting foods
Lastly, look for things that will last a bit longer, if long life milk isn’t your cup of tea (excuse the pun) there are many food items that have a slightly longer shelf life without being too over loaded with preservatives, for example, longer lasting vegetables. Buying a head of lettuce will last longer than bagged lettuce. If you can’t cope without bagged mixed leaves but find they wilt too quickly try putting them in soups, smoothies, curries or even whizz them up with some oil and garlic and nuts for a homemade pesto.
By The Mindful Mum