36 easy steps to cheaper food!

Cupcakes

One tip you'll always hear when it comes to food is don't waste anything. So here are 11 short tips to help you reduce the food waste in your home.

  1. Think about perishables before you buy them - will you use all of it and if not, are you able to freeze it?
  2. Make bubble and squeak from leftover greens and potatoes.
  3. Eat your leftovers for lunch because they often taste even better the next day.
  4. Frozen leftovers usually remain edible in the freezer for around one month.
  5. Stale bread can be warmed in the oven to make it taste fresh again.
  6. Casseroles and stews are simple and cheap to cook.
  7. Learn how to cook the cheapest cuts of meat, like shin of beef or kidneys.
  8. Try the less-well-known types of fish like pollack, which is considered a cheaper alternative to cod.
  9. Instead of throwing away fruit that is too tart, or past its best, make it into jam / juice / fruitcake, or whatever you can.
  10. Barter food you don't want for food you do want - like you did at school.
  11. Drink tap water. Unless you have a water meter in your home, you're paying for that water anyway. If you don't like the taste of chlorine, keeping it in the fridge should help.

Some people say that eating ethically is more expensive, but while some organic foods can work out dearer, there are still ways to eat ethically without damaging your wallet too badly. Here's 11 easy ways how:

  1. Try cutting out meat altogether - vegetarian cooking can often work out cheaper.
  2. Meat substitutes like Quorn, or supermarket own brands, can work out cheaper than meat.
  3. Try your local organic food co-operative: you may find their prices are more reasonable than you thought they would be.
  4. Vegetables in a basket
  5. You can still buy ethical meat and fish (which is generally more expensive) and save money at the same time if you use less of it in your recipes.
  6. For example, bulk up casseroles with pulses, beans, lentils, etc.
  7. Support your local grocer / butcher and save on carbon emissions and the cost of petrol at the same time.
  8. Buy fruit and vegetables in season, which saves on air miles and is cheaper too.
  9. If you have a pet cat or dog, bulk up their meat food with biscuits, or replace with biscuits altogether.
  10. You can generally buy spices from specialist retailers, e.g. Asian supermarkets, much more cheaply than in the supermarket chains.
  11. If you only buy a small amount of organic vegetables every week, you may find that a home delivery 'box scheme' provides good value. You might pay a little bit more for the produce, but you will save time and money on travel costs.
  12. If you are lucky enough to live near a farm, don't be afraid to go and speak to the farmer. Many will be more than happy to sell direct to locals, and may even give you a big discount compared with supermarket prices, and you'll be reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.

Some hobbies are expensive, but if food is your hobby, it needn't be expensive. People take up cooking for all sorts of reasons: to save money, to learn a new skill, to be creative, and simply because they like food that just tastes good.

Garden party
  1. Cooking for friends / family / housemates is sociable and you can spread the cost between you.
  2. Home cooking is usually cheaper and very often healthier than pre-packaged ready meals, which are often high in salt, sugar and saturated fat.
  3. Learn how to make your own pastry or bread - it's what your grandparents' generation did and it often tastes much better than pre-sliced.
  4. Baking your own cakes / cookies / cup cakes can become a lifetime passion and you could even set up your own business.
  5. All you need to grow your own lettuce in a pot are seeds, a windowsill, water, sunshine and a bit of luck.
  6. Fresh herbs don't last as long as dried herbs and are more expensive, but you may be able to grow your own during the summer.
  7. If you have a garden, you can be more ambitious about the kinds of fruit and vegetables that you can grow, which can work out cheaper than the supermarket.
  8. Farm shops often sell produce more cheaply, especially if you buy in bulk. If there's one near you, take a look.
  9. Baking with kids is cheap entertainment for them. They love feeling like they're 'helping' and enjoy eating whatever you bake afterwards! If you're not up to cakes, try home-made child-friendly pizzas.

The health conscious among you might wonder how you could eat healthily when healthy food is generally more expensive than your average pasty (even with the 'pasty tax'!), but here are a few simple suggestions for eating habits that could improve your health as well as your wallet.

  1. Turkey mince is a healthy and cheaper alternative to beef or pork mince and it's arguably better for you than red meat.
  2. If you're trying to avoid unhealthy food, avoid expensive and pre-packaged snacks, crisps and chocolate aisles in the supermarket.
  3. Try one of the cash-back websites if you're thinking about joining online dieting clubs, like Weight Watchers.
  4. When you cook your food at home, you can control the amount of salt and fat that goes into your pot and it's usually cheaper than a take-away.
  5. Cut out the vices in your diet for one week and see how much money you could save.

Related resources

First image iStockPhotos / TheCrimsonMonkey; second image iStockPhotos / Peter nullplus; third image iStockPhotos / YinYang


Tags: saving money, food, cooking, ethical eating, organic, vegetarian

Fees payable when continuing service is provided. Repaying debt over a longer period may increase the total amount to be repaid. Calls are recorded and are usually free from UK landlines. Mobile phone users may be charged and should check with their service provider. Cards are provided by third parties and are subject to eligibility, status and terms and conditions. Applicants must be UK residents aged 18 or over.

All About Money Limited © 2013. All rights reserved. 42 Boston Rd, Sleaford, Lincolnshire NG34 7ER.