Save money on food without compromising on quality
Are you looking for ways to save money on food without compromising on the quality of what you eat? Do you feel like your weekly grocery bill just keeps climbing? Then read on, because we’ve collected a ton of ideas on how you can hold onto your hard earned income while still eating well.
Grow your own food
If you have even a small patch of ground, weed it and turn it over. Add some fertiliser and some seedlings and water it regularly. Before you know it you will have homegrown vegetables leaping out the ground. They’ll be healthier than their store bought counterparts, assuming you don’t add poisons and pesticides. They’re also likely to bring a strong sense of satisfaction to you knowing that you grew them yourself. Start small if it seems a daunting task, such as a small container garden for tomatoes. A vegetable garden can pay off financially once you’ve absorbed the set up costs, and you will save money on food by growing your own.
Stop wasting your food
This is something most of us in affluent countries are guilty of – a wilted bag of spinach that never makes it to the stove, a dairy product that’s been open just a little too long, when you add up the impact of this waste on your budget it can be sizeable. With some basic meal planning and an awareness of expiry dates, we can drastically reduce the amount of food we throw away.
Cook once, eat twice
When you buy a roast or a whole chicken, plan to make it last for more than one meal. Use the leftovers to make frittatas, or use in a pasta sauce the following evening. Keep the bones to make your own stock to get more value from your purchase.
Double your recipe
Cook double the portion you’ll need for your meal, and freeze the second portion for another night. Or even cook a few recipes at once (you’re in the kitchen anyway). This will also save on meal prep time on another day when you’re not in the mood to cook, cutting the cost of the takeaways you would have bought, and keeping you healthier in the process. Get into the routine of setting aside 2 hours every weekend to cook up a storm. Use this time to prepare for your meals in the week ahead and making sure all your fresh ingredients are used. This way you not only save money on food but also on power (and washing up!).
Regularly raid your fridge
Plan on one meal a week being put together with any bits and pieces that are in your fridge, freezer and pantry. This might not always be an option (tuna and marshmallows are not ideal companions!), but it’s a great way to make sure items don’t gather dust on a shelf until they’re thrown away. You may need to bulk it up with a slice of toast or two, but this frugality may save you the cost of another meal.
Don’t chop too soon
It can seem like a good idea to pre-prepare your fruit and vegetables by chopping them up and storing them in the fridge, but they’ll tend not to last as long. Your freshly chopped salad ingredients will deteriorate much faster than in their whole produce form. You’ll save money on food by not chopping your greens before you plan to eat them.
Eat me first!
Designate a shelf or container in the fridge into you put the food with the closest expiry date. Hungry house occupants will know what to reach for first when they’re hungry, and it also stops them inadvertently eating the ingredients of tonight’s dinner!
When buying chicken fillets, have you ever compared the price with skin and the price without? There’s a huge difference, making it far more economical to buy it with the skin on and then just to remove it at home.
Dried vs canned
A 500g bag of dried beans yields the same amount as 3 cans, but costs less than half the price – another easy way to save money on food.
Many of us eat meat of some form every night. To save on both costs and health we recommend cutting meat from just one meal every week. Meat, fish and poultry are more expensive than other sources of protein such as legumes, beans, eggs, nuts and seeds. Integrating the vegetarian options are kinder on your health and your wallet. And did you know that the impact of meat consumption on the planet is worse than any other human activity? A reduction of meat consumption is a win on many levels.
Past its sell by date?
Did you know that expiration dates actually refer to the quality and freshness of food, not safety? Food is often safe to eat after the ‘sell by’ and ‘use by’ dates have passed, just as long as it’s stored correctly. Be sure to set your fridge thermostat to 4 degrees Celsius. If you are freezing food make sure you do it within 2 days of its purchase.
‘Quick-cook’ oat sachets and snack bars are convenient but they all come at a price, and it’s usually higher than a homemade version would be. Spend some time in the kitchen making healthier versions of packaged snacks and watch the effect on your grocery budget.
How about a glass of water?
We all know drinking water is important for our health, but many of us are more inclined to buy a fizzy drink or a coffee. Switching to water can save a substantial chunk of money, and is also far healthier for you.
Brown bag it
Instead of grabbing a take-out at lunch time, take a few minutes in the morning to assemble a lunch. With a little preparation you can create a tasty lunch that will save money on food too. You might like to buy and freeze some bread and cold meats. Also try cooking extra at dinner so you have leftovers.
Keen an inventory
Create a basic inventory list near your pantry so you know what you have in stock, then develop your meal plan from this. This helps you to use food before it expires and also avoids pantry bloat.
We hope these tips on how to save money on food inspire you. Your hard-earned money should be helping you to achieve your dreams, not just buying the groceries.
Would you like our help in achieving those dreams? We can help you with a debt consolidation loan to manage existing debt. Or perhaps you need a personal loan to accelerate your dreams, or help with buying a new car. If we can help you then get in touch. We’re here to help and we look forward to hearing from you.