With everything looking pretty gloomy once you’ve taken off your bills from your monthly pay packet, I thought I’d try to put together some tips for how to keep your food bill costs down.
- Plan ahead. I like to plan a week ahead as to what we are going to have every day that way I know exactly what I need to buy and won’t go round picking up things I don’t need. Also it’s a good way to get the family involved into what you’re eating, it’s especially good to get children interested in what they are eating. Although I admit recently there have been days when it’s been easier just to go to the chippy – we all have our weak days!
- Keep up to date with the use-by dates on things in your kitchen. How much stuff do you throw away because they have gone past their use-by date? With vegetables that are starting to get a bit old and about to go brown I stick them all in a big pan with lots of water and make either a batch of stock or even soup. Try to freeze perishables as much as you can and with dairy items – I used to always find the cheese ended up at the back of my fridge and was forgotten about; cheese makes a great topping on jacket potatoes, lasagnes, pasta bakes etc
- Lists! I love lists but you really cannot work a proper kitchen without a list. In my kitchen I have a whiteboard on the fridge where I can write down all the things that I need. When I say need – I really mean things that need replacing. Keep an eye on your cupboards too, you’d be surprised what meals you can create with a few tins from your cupboards too!
- What are your portion sizes like? I always used to make too much pasta and rice and ended up throwing away the excess. Now I have learnt portion control so no extra waste! Rice I use 1/4 of a mug per person and for pasta I use 100g per person.
- Enjoy those leftovers, much like No 4. above any leftovers shouldn’t be thrown away. Take your Sunday Roast Chicken, any leftover bits of chicken can be saved for any midweek meals such as a Chicken Curry and with the vegetables I’ve had left over that I mentioned in No 1. you can put the chicken carcass in there too to make as much use from it as possible.
- Shop around for your food, you will find not one store will cater for all your needs and especially not at a reasonable amount for your pocket. Take into account also though that driving too far though for some shops will mean using more petrol so try to stay as local as you can, or go when you’re passing by so that the petrol doesn’t seem ‘wasted’.
- Be nice to your butcher – seriously this works. They will welcome your business and also you can find out when the must-go priced meat is in. I filled up my chest freezer the other week 😉
- DO NOT SHOP ON AN EMPTY STOMACH! Again might sound obvious but all those cakes, crisps, chocolates etc look even more appetising and somehow end up in your trolley even though they are not on your list. I personally find it easier to do the food shop alone mainly as no one distracts me.
- Sign up to store loyalty schemes. It all counts as they say!
- 3 for 2’s, BOGOF offers are all very good if they are things you normally buy or will use. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re better off by taking the offer. If you are not going to use them, you are losing your own money!
There are ways to get creative with your food on a tighter budget, it just needs planning better and lists. Also you would be surprised what tasty meals you can make within the contents of your kitchen. Go, investigate!