Keeping food costs down – 6 tips to help

Every time that I go to the supermarket, it seems like the prices have risen again. Everything seems to be getting more and more expensive every single week. I know many families are concerned about meeting these rising costs, especially given that all of our other bills are increasing too.

The last month or two, I’ve made a greater effort to keep our food bills under control. It’s easy for them to creep up without you noticing. Mindless buying, too many meals out, top up shops mid-week… they all add up.

Here are six tips to help you keep your food costs down this Autum;

MEAL PLAN

Honestly, the best thing that you can do is to plan your meals. I used to meal plan monthly ALL the time, then after I had Oren I fell out of the habit. I’ve been back to meal planning weekly for the last couple of months and it makes such a big difference. Food waste means you are also throwing money away. I find that when I meal plan, I only buy what we need, and it all gets used up โ€“ meaning I am not throwing food away, but also not wasting money on buying things that we donโ€™t need. 

MAKE A LIST

Once you’ve made your meal plan, make a list. Check through your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you already have in, what you need for your meal plan, as well as any staples you need to top up. Without a list I find I end up buying things I don’t need, or already have.

SHOP AROUND

Have you been using the same supermarket for ever? Then maybe it is time to look around. I always used Tesco, mainly as when I didn’t drive I’d get it delivered. Now I’ve switched to Aldi, and it’s definitely saving me money. There may be the odd thing I can’t get there, but I will pick them up sererately. You can compare prices on a site such as Trolley.co.uk to see if you could save money.

DOUBLE COOK

If you find you often have nights when you don’t have time to cook and end up grabbing an expensive ready meal or take-away, then creating your own stash of ready meals in the freezer could save you money. When I’m cooking a meal from scratch, I almost always make double what I need, then one portion will get popped in the freezer for a night when I don’t have time to cook {or lack the inclination}. It’s great knowing I have healthy, home-cooked meals in the freezer all ready to go! I’ve currently got a macaroni cheese, pasta bake, chilli, tomato soup and chicken curry – all of which will feed all of us! Perfect for those busy midweek evenings when the kiddos all seem to have different groups and you’re running all over town!

LOOK OUT FOR OFFERS

While I am strict at sticking to my shopping list – I do make exceptions. I always check out the reduced section, sometimes I’ll find something that I can use instead of something else on my list to save money, or something that can be popped in the freezer for later to save me money. I also keep an eye out for special offers on things that we always use. 2 for 1’s, a reduced price, etc – if the saving is good and you can afford it, it can be good to stock up on a few things when they’re on offer.

MAKE IT YOURSELF

Another way to keep costs down is to make it yourself – not just cooking meals from scratch instead of buying ready meals. Consider making cakes, snacks, or bread yourself. I find things like biscuits and snack bars can end up costing quite a lot each week – but we can make our own versions for a fraction of the cost.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

As I keep reminding my teens, not every meal has to be a gourmet meal! Sure, it might be nice…. but my main mission is to ensure we all have full tummies and nutritious meals. When you’re meal planning, think about the costs – what is a cheap meal and what costs a lot? We love tacos – BUT I find that it can soon get expensive – taco shells and all the fillings for 5 add up, we’ve started making our own soft taco shells that cost pennies, I buy mince when it’s on offer and bulk make the chilli and make sure there is plenty of rice to fill us up! For inexpensive meals base them around Potatoes, Pasta or Rice. All inexpensive to buy and will fill tummies up.

Save for later….

Do you have any good tips to keep food costs down?

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