As you will have seen on my blog recently this week, we have been trying to cut back and save money. We had spent about £120 a week on our food shopping and we both realised that is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on food. Most of the spend was because we would waste so much food and then have to buy more. When in fact we could have saved some of the waste and no had to re buy.
I have a few ideas of how we are able to cut down now and I am really going to put this into place. All the extra money we are going to save can go towards a holiday, on the kids, on the house etc. Some things we are already doing and have done for several months.
- Always meal plan and stick to it… In our household we have planned our meals for several months. We sit down on a Sunday afternoon and decide what we are going to eat through the week. This saves going shopping, buying lots of random items and then not using them before they go out of date and then have to be wasted by going in the bin. Once we have decided on the meals we are going to eat I think write my shopping list of ingredients we need to make each meal. Always make sure you stick to your meal plan otherwise you will end up with wast in the bin. May as well be throwing your money in the bin.
- Check dates… Once you have your shopping list in hand ready to buy only the items needed, you need to check dates. This is something I have been doing on all fresh items only for the last month or so. I have noticed that if you actually look fresh items vary sometimes by 3 days, however the times are all together. For instance the other day buying a cucumber I picked on up looked at the date and in the same box I found one with 3 days longer on the date.
- Meat… We buy our meat from the local butchers and have done for a long while now. We buy a box of chicken which has around 25 chicken breasts in it. I portion these up into clear plastic bags and freeze them. I can then get out as many as I need as and when. With regards to beef for casserole, I always cut the chunks into smaller pieces than they come in and this makes them go further. I then portion them off to make extra meals and freeze them.
- Cooking and saving… I always tend to overcook however this isn’t a problem. Any left over meals I do one of 2 things with… I either put it in the freezer and save it for the kids depending on what it is OR The other half or I will save it for lunch the next day. I will eat it at home or he will take it to work with him. 95% of the time I cook from scratch and most of the meals are actually easy to freeze or easy to have the next day for lunch. My top meals to either have for lunch the next day or freeze are… Curry, If I cook a curry we always have some left over and use the next day for lunches
Spag bol or Chilli, I always think a chilli tastes better the next day when the flavours have had time to come out. This is the same with a spa bol and both are great the next day with a jacket potato. Casserole… I will usually freeze any left over we have, it is them so easy to grab one out of the freezer and chuck some veg with it for the kids if were running late one night and need something quick.
I have recently posted about my money-saving tips and here are a few meals we had that were planned in such a way that we knew there wouldn’t really be anything left over.
Here we have fish with salad and wedges. The wedges are homemade from potato and the rest of the potatoes will be used another day for the kids as mash with veg and meat. The salad was used the next day with the stuffed pepper, It was also used for salads for lunches.
Here we have stuffed pepper, The rice stuffing was cooked and was all used up, The papers we bought in a pack of 3. The other peppers were used in salads for lunch and some were the rest of the new potatoes.
Here is my lunch one afternoon using some of the left over re potatoes and some of the salad we had spare.
This is a curry that we cooked and had the next day for lunch. Rather than throwing it away its better to use the next day or even the day after that.
Chilli… This is actually a chilly we had for dinner one night and this picture is me having it the next day for lunch.
My top tips…
- meal plan, it is so easy and simple to do
- freeze left over food
- eat the next day for lunch
- If I have a lot of fruit going off soon or if it has already gone out of date, I make a smoothie in my nutri bullet. The kids love it all whizzed up with some ice cream thrown in.
- If you have any veg going off or already out of date, make a casserole and chuck in all your veg that’s going out/or already out of date.
- Remember best before ISNT use by. Best before products can still be used after the date shown, it just means it may not look/feel as fresh. it isn’t going to poison you if you eat it.
- look through your cupboards regular to see what is going off soon and then you know what needs using up.
- make sure you know your fridge. Know what you have, don’t over buy and don’t double buy. Check your fridge before going shopping so you know what you have already.
- Make sure you check your dates when buying so you get the freshest you can.
My favourite left overs dish…
Here is a delish recipe of mine that you can throw lots of items that you may have going out of date. We always have a roast on a Sunday so this means buying all the veg. We always used to end up with lots of veg being thrown away so I usually make a a few items, however Veg lasagne is our favourite.I throw in everything we have left from the roast or veg we have used through-out the week. courgette, carrots, peppers, celery, mushrooms, onion etc anything you want really.
You will need…
- left over veg and salad items
- lasagne sheets
- white sauce
- tinned tomes (for the sauce)
- mixed herbs
- tom puree
Cut all your veg you wish to chuck in
Fry the onion and garlic with mixed herbs for 1-2 mins
chuck in rest of the veg and soften on a low temperature
add 2 tins of toms and 2 tablespoons of tom puree
cook for about an hour to get the flavours flowing
then make your lasagna layer it, cook it, eat it, freeze the left overs!! Simple
- Eggs going out of date can be used to make pancakes.
- bread going out of date can be used to make a toasted sandwich
- veg left over/ past its best before can be thrown into a casserole or made into a veg soup
- leftover meat from sunday roast can be used in salad. Chicken salad, turkey salad and the salad also uses up any salad items you may have hanging around.
- leftover meat can also be thrown into a pieSome many ideas can be thought up there really is no need to waste food if you plan and eat sensible.