12 money saving tips
Here are our 12 Savvy Money Saving Tips - eating doesn’t have to be part of the austerity plan too.
Here are our top 12 money saving tips. If you've got any other good money saving tips that we haven't mentioned why not email us us and let us know.
1 Meal planning
Meal planning is the best way to reduce your grocery bill. Okay I would say that, but really it is. Our meal plans are designed to eliminate waste, help you budget accurately, and help you work with recipes that don’t ask you to buy expensive ingredients when you don’t want to.
2 Shopping list
Make a shopping list every time you go food shopping and stick to the list. Without a list knowing when you have week’s worth of meals is guess work, and you’ll most likely buy more than you need to feel sure you’ve got all that you need. Without a shopping list you’re going to look for buying inspiration in the supermarket aisles and you’ll no doubt find yourself loading up with pricey products that are easy to picture as finished meals instead of with the inexpensive basic ingredients you need to cook straightforward tasty meals. Our meal plans automatically generate a shopping list (which you can add any items you want to before you print it).
3 Switch to cheaper brands
Be adventurous and try cheaper brands. You might surprise yourself, finding that, like lots of consumers in blind taste tests, you can’t taste the difference between branded and unbranded products. You can save a lot of money by avoiding brand discrimination. Even Waitrose have brought out an ‘Essential’s range of products for their money conscious customers.
4 Meat glorious meat
Meat is expensive. Delicious meals can be made from cheaper cuts of meat cooked in the right way. Stews, casseroles and cooking in the slow cooker are all good cooking methods that can be used to make the most of cheaper cuts of meat.
Pork is relatively inexpensive compared to other meats. So although it’s excluded from some diets on religious grounds, for a lot of people it’s a great way to keep grocery costs down. The shoulder or leg is cheaper than other joints of meat and they’re brilliant for roasting. Belly pork is often overlooked because of its high fat to meat ratio, but it’s a really tender, tasty cut.
Bacon was a life saver in my student days. It’s really versatile and if you are creative there are lots you can do with it whether it’s smoked or unsmoked. Sausages, another vital student staple, are also a very versatile ingredient. With sausages being so cheap relatively speaking, people can often actually afford very good quality sausages without breaking the bank.
Offal isn’t so awful. Offal includes liver and kidney, which might not be many people’s first choice cut, but they are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. As a child, my mum used liver in soups and stir-fries and I just loved the taste of liver dipped in soy sauce! (Not for everyone I admit.)
Beef can be expensive if you go for sirloin fillets, topside and silverside roasting joints. There’s more value for money in cuts like the shin or leg/shank, chuck and brisket and ground mince. Cheap cuts of beef are tough and the best way to cook them is stewing for a long period of time so the meat becomes tender and succulent.
Minced beef, lamb, pork and turkey are best if they are lean meet. They are very versatile and can be used in all sorts of dishes.
Lamb has a really distinct flavour and is very tasty but quite expensive. It’s the kind of meat you buy if you want to spoil yourself or impress guests. Lamb joints with bones are the most economical such as lamb shanks, which is ideal for stewing, braising and casseroling.
Chicken is probably the most popular meat because of its lighter texture and flavour. Buying a whole chicken or the joint portions is often very cost effective. It’s not uncommon that two people can have at least 3 nights meals from a whole chicken (e.g. roast the whole chicken and have the breasts the first night, then use the legs for making Spanish chicken and finally strip the remaining meat off the carcass to make a stir-fry and make chicken stock from the carcass).
Duck is delicious but fatty with little meat on the carcass and it can be quite expensive. If you don’t mind meat on the bone duck legs are relatively cheaper than the breast, which you can use to make a lovely duck confit meal with.
Turkey is not just for Christmas. Turkey can be used in the same way as chicken or duck. Turkey can be a cheaper alternative to chicken and turkey mince a cheap but nutritious alternative to beef mince.
Fish and seafood are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are an essential part of healthy diet. Fish can be expensive and supermarkets tend have them on offer because of their short shelf life. Mackerel is often overlooked but it is a sustainable fish that is cheaper than farmed fish and it is also very tasty.
5 Bulk buy & special offers
Many supermarkets have ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘buy 3 for the price of 2’ offer to offload their supplier surpluses. They’re a good idea to stock up on items that you‘re going to use immediately or that can be stored in the freezer or store cupboard (see storage and freezing below) but they can lead to food waste if you end up buying things you can’t consume before they perish, so be careful.
6 Buying online
Shopping online is the most convenient way to shop. It has the advantage of buying the things you need on your shopping list and avoids the temptation to impulse buy. You can also compare the prices in different stores, which ensures that you get the best deals.
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