Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Top 10 Frugal eating tips

Today, I thought I'd share my top tips for eating healthily and heartily on a small budget. On average me and the hubby spend about £35-40 a week on food. Sometimes it even lasts us up to 10 days! So here's my list which has been developed over a number of years, both adopted by us and passed on from family and friends, to help your shopping become more hassle free.

10. Grow your own. It might sound simple, but it saves TONS of money for us over the summer months. A few potatoes, spinach, lettuce and tomatoes are probably good beginner plants. We like experimenting with a few new plants every year though too.

9. Buy in bulk. Wholesalers are great for this. If you have space in your freezer take advantage of it and bulk buy your meat! We've done this for years, but I really want to try making a bulk load of freezer crockpot meals in future too. Sure this will help with saving time and money!

8. Be wary of special offers but recognise when they're a good deal. It may sound stupid but the stores can make mistakes too. I find cheese is my worst culprit for this. Often you can buy two packs of cheddar for £4 but 1 pack is only £1.80 before the offer. You're actually paying more with the advertised offer! Also look at product weights too to see if it's cheaper to buy more or less of a product.

7. Plan meals to take ingredients you have into account. Look in your fridge before purchasing groceries. Do you have anything that needs using up? Waste not, want not! 

6. Leftovers - incorporate into meals. This often happens with crockpot meals. After eating your meal and using all the meat, you have the sauce and maybe some vegetables left over. Don't throw this out! You can add ingredients and blend this up to become a soup dish, or we like to make a tomatoey chicken crockpot dish which then becomes the base for a pasta sauce the following night. Again, don't be afraid to experiment with what's in the cupboards. Just keep tasting throughout and you can't go far wrong.

5. Meal Planning. If you're a disorganised person, it may be wise to plan your meals. Try purchasing things which are versatile or can be used for a few meals. Also, if you're a take-away fiend this is a good rule, try and have some quick 'go-to' dishes on hand for when you don't feel like cooking. Ready made pies or pizza's aren't a crime and they're much cheaper and better for you than greasy take-away monsters!

4. Don't waste excess pastry. If you're baking a pie, don't throw away the straggly bits, you can roll them out again and make them into little sweet tarts for pudding, these can then be filled with jam, lemon curd or nutella! Get experimenting, I did it here with filo pastry and nutella!

3. Leftovers - use for dinner the following day. Leftovers again... They are so important in our house! I'll regularly make a big meal for four to six people and then save the leftovers to microwave the following day for lunch or dinner. One tasty treat is making extra veg and gravy with my Sunday roast, then taking a mini roast dinner to work with me to warm up as a Monday lunchtime pick-me-up!

2. Make lunch at home. This is a biggie! How much do you spend a day on drinks and lunches? Work out how much it equates to per year. When I was still living with my parents I took £5 per day for dinner and coffee. That's approximately £1150 over an average working year! By limiting food and drink purchases and taking my dinner and a flask to work with me every day, not only is that money being saved for far more worthwhile causes (holidays!) but when I do meet my bestie for a coffee and cake, it feels like a treat because I'm not doing it everyday whilst at work!

1. My all time top tip is to do your food shopping online! I understand people like the experience of going shopping but in my opinion its a waste of time, fuel and money. Now that I'm experienced with shopping online and know my chosen provider's website like the back of my hand, I can do my shopping in less than 10 minutes. The delivery comes in convenient hourly slots, and costs from as little as £1 depending on time and day. 

Also, by having a shopping list and my kitchen on hand whilst ordering means that I don't have the 'I'm not sure if I have this product in the house, I'd better buy another to make sure' issue and 'Ooh thats a new product, I'll try it!' problem. I can also use the 'price displayed from low to high' tool on the website to see what the best offers are. Sometimes products can have a huge price difference based on packaging or something similar. It's good to be able to look at all of your options in one place.

So there you have it, my top tips for eating well without breaking the bank! Do you have anything to add to the list? Have any of the tips above helped you? Let me know! 

Love Jo xxx

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