Try these tips for saving money on food
Your food shopping takes up a large amount of your monthly budget. By looking for ways to save money, you may find increased food costs easier to deal with.
Plan your meals
By planning your meals, you can save yourself time and stress as well as money. Cooking meals from scratch is healthier than eating ready-made meals which can be high in salt and sugar.
If you have a freezer, this is an effective way to be more efficient. Batch cooking is where you cook enough food for multiple meals and freeze it for when you need it. Batch cooking can save you time, you won’t need to cook everyday. It also saves you money by using up ingredients before they go off.
You don’t need to be an expert chef to plan and batch cook your meals. Learn two or three recipes to get you started. You can find lots of easy-to-follow recipes for free online. Some examples of meals that work great for batch cooking are:
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- Cottage pie
- Bean and sausage hotpot
All these dishes can be made dairy or meat free for vegetarians and vegans.
Regularly check what food you have in stock
It sounds obvious, but the best way to save money on food is to base your meals around what you have already. It can help you spend less on food shopping, because then you’ll only buy the items you really need.
Take note of any tinned foods you have, as well as any dried foods such as rice and pasta, before you head to the shop. It also helps to know what seasoning and sauces you already have. Keep your cupboards tidy so you can see what you have in stock more easily, to avoid re-buying items lurking at the back of the cupboard. Don’t forget to check your freezer as well.
Look at ways to use up fresh food first
If you have fresh food such as fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy, focus on including these in your meals over the next couple of days. Check the ‘use by’ dates on your fresh food and try to use them up in order of which date is sooner.
Don’t be put off if a food item’s ‘best before’ date is today. This date is different to the ‘use by’ date. It only indicates when the food is in its best condition, and it’s usually fine to eat. Don’t eat items past their ‘use by’ date.