A couple of days ago, it was reported that we are spending 40% more per week, than we were six years ago. This probably isn’t news to most of us, as we know that the price of everything from food, to power and water have gone up significantly in that time.
It doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom though. The leaner times are an opportunity to have a look at the way we shop and, see if there are areas where we can be more efficient with our consumption. This has the dual positive effect of being great for the budget and also great for our planet.
Here are a few of my best money savers in the kitchen.
• Buying herbs is expensive, and often half the bunch goes to waste. If you have to buy fresh herbs, plan the week’s menu so they all get used up.
• Better still – grow your own. Live herbs in pots are barely more expensive than a cut bunch, and they can grow in amidst your other plants, or in pots, if you don’t have space for a herb patch.
• Be prepared to substitute ingredients in recipes. Don’t buy a whole jar or packet of something you will never use again.
• Food storage is vitally important. Wasted food is wasted money.
• Plan ahead.
• Buy in season. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are not only much nicer, they are much cheaper.
• Buy in bulk and take advantage of bulk discounts.
• Consider cheaper cuts of meat. Shin and gravy beef, lamb shank and neck and chicken wings and drumsticks are just some examples of meat that is very inexpensive but delicious.
• Cook in bulk and freeze for another day – it saves time, electricity, and effort. Great foods for freezing include Bolognese sauce, casseroles/braises, curries.
• The more processed food is, the more expensive it is. Compare raw potatoes, with frozen potatoes in a bag as an example.
• Develop a relationship with you butcher, fishmonger, and greengrocer. They will help steer you toward the best buys if you ask.
• Not all “own brand” products are good, but some are every bit as good as the name brands. Experiment with what you buy.
• Don’t be afraid of imperfections – bruised or overripe fruit can be used in cakes, fritters or sauces.
• Put stale bread or crusts in the freezer. When you have enough, process them for fresh breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs can be frozen for 3 months too.
• Every few nights, try “back to basics” dinners. Cheap does NOT have to mean tasteless. Super cheap and tasty meals I regularly cook include:
– Orange Glazed Chicken Wings • see my recipe
– Mushroom soup • see my recipe
– Rissoles with sweet potato mash • see my recipe
– Tuna Mornay • see my recipe
I would love to hear what your favourite money saving tips and “cheap eats” are at home.