With harvests failing, food prices rising and some families relying on food banks to get by, it can be hard to feed a family well for less. However, we have 5 of our favourite tips to help you cut down your food bill. Read on to find out more…
5. Meal planning and shopping lists!
Ask pretty much anyone who knows how to live cheaply and they will tell you to meal plan and write shopping lists! Meal planning can be a time-consuming task for those who have no experience of doing so, however it is a skill worth learning.
Simply put, you plan your meals for the coming week (some do it for the month), then you have a nose in the cupboards to check what you already have in, then make a shopping list for everything else you need and only buy those items. Once you’ve got everything together, the key is sticking to the meal plan.
Some people will organise every aspect of their meals, from breakfasts through to snacks, others simply organise tea-time. Whatever you choose to do, this simple technique will help reduce your food waste and also prevent you impulse buying.
4. Cook from scratch
Another obvious one, but not so to everyone. Cooking from scratch is not only better for your health, it’s better for your purse’s health too! Those chicken curries you can buy for a couple of quid are really not big on size nor value for money.
For about a fiver you could buy all the ingredients you needed to make your own simple chicken curry and more than likely have a huge vat of the stuff to freeze into portions. Now which one is more economical?
3. Learn to use cheaper cuts of meat
Gone are the days when everyone knew what to do with a chicken carcass or a ham hock. Most people want easy and simple ingredients such as breast fillets or rump steak. This is the more costly option. Invest in a slow cooker (or learn how to do it in an oven) and you can turn cheaper, tougher bits of meat into sumptuous, melt-in-the-mouth delicacies.
Also, don’t forget about that half finished chicken carcass! Rip every scrap of meat you can off those bones, then boil the carcass itself up with some water and veg to make a stock for risottos, soups and stews. Educate yourself about how to use meat properly!
2. Buy seasonal
Much of our food often travels from half way round the world. Worse than that, much of it is also grown out of season. This means it’s often far more expensive, possibly full of chemicals and pesticides and won’t have half the nutrients that seasonal food has.
A simple search on the internet will bring up a whole wealth of knowledge about seasonal foods and what to do with them. Once you start buying more produce seasonally, you will notice the difference in price, taste and quality of your produce compared to buying it out of season. Simply put – all food imported from other countries or grown out of season is more expensive!
1. Grow your own
Possibly one of the easiest and best ways to cut down your food bill is to grow your own! Many people start off with easy things like herbs, a few root vegetables and maybe a blackberry bush. But as time goes on you can expand this to include far more fruits, veggies, herbs and even livestock if you have the room!
Even those of you with a small backyard can grow many many things. Make the best of your space, use hanging baskets, window boxes and tiered planters – if you can’t grow outwards, you can grow up! Once you get bitten by the growing bug, you might try to get an allotment or learn to forage.
Doing these things is a sure fire way to bring the cost of your household food bill right down! So go on, give it a go! What have you got to lose?