As a lot of us have been tightening our belts around our budgets at home there has been an ever increasing amount of focus on how we can save money on essentials like food.
I have always been a firm believer that food can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it. There are always options at either end of the scale. If you’ve ever been to university and living off fairly little money you’ll know the bottom of the scale pretty well as well as the tips and tricks that go with it.
As supermarkets are continuously bombarding us with offers and TV advertisements on how their points schemes or loyalty schemes mean their prices work out lower than competitors there are actually good offers among these. But what we’ve found is that being loyal to one single supermarket is NOT the way to go. That is the trick. You must shop around. And this doesnt mean going to 5 different supermarkets to get your groceries it just means being aware of the prices elsewhere and maybe splitting your grocery shop between two different supermarkets. You won’t always win and save the most money possible but you’ll still save something. And that every little counts in the long run.
The first thing I have found incredibly useful is using an online budget planner to work out roughly how much of your salary should be going on various essentials. I really like the Family Budget Planner over at calculator.me. Ive used their calculators before and even though some of them are in $ and not £ the figures still work.
You can combine this tool with another like the Meal Plan Budget Planner or something similar to this. This will help you break down the costs and actually see what the more expensive meals are you’re cooking.
One thing I really want to reiterate and point out is that meal planning and counting the pennies when it comes to shopping does NOT mean your meals will be boring or simple. The meals you can cook incredibly cheaply are incredibly when you start looking on TikTok or Instagram at some of the slowcooker or soup recipes which are shared. These make several portions and can be scaled up even further making your time and money go further.
Buying loose fruit and vegetables if often cheaper too instead of bags of them. Or if you only need some vegetables for a certain recipe and want zero waste then buy frozen. It is just as good but not always as economical if you’re going to use lots of it. Frozen broccoli and things like that are good if the recipe only calls for a small amount of it. Dried onion is also really handy for recipes where it asks for just half an onion chopped.
Cost your meals out like in the below planner and you’ll soon see where money is going. Then you can decide whether to alter ingredients or batch cook them. I often make a very large lasagne in one go which makes 8 portions. That is 4 dinners for two people. Combine that with a frozen garlic bread at 60-80p in some supermarkets and you’re onto a winner meal!
Headline image courtesy of Ella Olsson: https://www.pexels.com/photo/variety-of-dishes-1640771/