Top Ten Tips:
How to eat well for less
Money saving tips for your family from Loans 2 Go.
Aside from keeping the roof over your head, one of your biggest monthly expenses is food. It can be horrifying to add up how much you spend each month on food and drink during: try it this month and see!
But even when we do see the cost it then just seems inevitable. After all, we all need to eat – and if you have a large family then the supermarket bills are going to mount up, right?
The good news is that there are various things that you can do to cut your food bills whilst still making sure that you and your family eat well. Try our Ten Tips below to see what a difference this can make!
- Work out what you currently spend and set a new budget
As we said above, you will most probably be horrified if you work out what you are currently spending; but it helps to get that overall picture so you can plan what kind of savings to make. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Instead see this as an ongoing process of gradually paying less and less and you get into the flow of cost cutting. So for example if you find out you are currently spending £600 a month, try to cut that down to £500 for just one month to see how that works for you. If it’s do-able then stick with it but if you struggle then up your budget slightly so that you can manage. Then once you can manage easily on that amount try cutting it down again.
- Plan your shopping before you go
It is a really good idea to plan your menus for the next few days – or even a week – so that you know exactly what you need to buy to make those meals. Many of us buy whatever we like the look of and can end up with too much food that gets wasted. So instead plan carefully and only buy what you need. Also try to choose meals that use some of the same ingredients to cut down the number of different things that you need to buy. Before you shop, check what you already have in your fridge and cupboards so that you can use those ingredients up and don’t end up buying things that you already have.
- Shop around
It can really pay dividends to shop around as prices can vary greatly from one store to the next. So start building up intelligence as to what to buy where. Also get to know the times of day that stores reduce their out of date stock, as there are bargains to be had if you are there at the right time. Keep an eye open for special promotions and make the effort to take advantage of these. Some things you may also want to buy in bulk from a wholesaler as this can work out cheaper. But beware of buying in bulk – or using supermarket “3 for 2” or “BOGOF” offers unless you really do use the product a lot: otherwise you can end up with either items cluttering up your storage areas or ending up being thrown away because you don’t use them.
- Coupons and vouchers
Always be on the lookout for coupons and vouchers and make use of them if they fit in with what you would buy anyway. Used wisely they can be real money savers, but always bear in mind that you are not making genuine savings if you are either buying things you wouldn’t normally buyt or that you are unlikely to use. If you do this you are just spending money for the sake of getting a bargain, but not saving money on what you really want.
- Cut down waste
Last year the BBC reported that in the UK we throw away 10 million tonnes of food a year! Make it your goal this year to totally eliminate food waste from your home. Use everything! If there are leftovers from any meal, put them in the fridge straight away so you can use them again for lunches, in other dishes or frozen in one portion sizes for a quick meal. The website Love Food Hate Waste has lots of recipes for ways you can do this.
- Healthy portion sizes
We all tend to eat too much: just think of how many meals you clear away with food still on the plate. So try cutting down portion sizes a little. It will do us all good and cut down waste. Try making dishes such as casseroles and curries and give everyone a bit less than you usually would: they can always have more if they are still hungry but you’ll be amazed at how rarely this happens. You will probably find that you have enough left for another meal another day.
- Meat free Mondays
Many of us are eating less meat these days and there is even a website for Meat Free Mondays. As meat can be expensive why not try cutting it out of your food planning for one day a week, and feeding your family something completely different. The Meat Free Monday website has lots of recipes to try, most of which cost far less than those involving meat. If you and your family enjoy this then you could always do it more than once a week to ring the changes.
- Cooking double
Make simple meals but in larger quantities. This is like getting two meals for the price of one! It always seems better value to make larger quantities of one dish than two separate dishes as you are using the same ingredients but on a larger scale. So when making one-dish meals such as casseroles and pasta bakes etc just think “eat one freeze one” to start creating a stock of good value meals.
- To make or to buy?
We all fall into the trap of thinking that homemade is cheaper but this is not always the case. Sometimes you can get good quality ready to cook meals or prepared puddings/cakes that can work out cheaper than making it yourself. So always have a quick look at the offers on these aisles: particularly if you shop at the end of the day you can pick up real bargains for the freezer.
- Drink water
Although it’s nice to have special drinks such as wine, beer or juice with meals, this does not have to be every day. So make sure that you have some days when you just have water with your meals: water better for you than alcoholic or sugary drinks and it’s free!
At Loans 2 Go we hope that these money saving tips help you to ease the pressure on your budget this year whilst still eating well. If you need any financial help during this time then do get in touch with us online or by calling 0330 400 0403.