These are Get Cooking! top tips to save money on food.
1. Buy in season/wonky/loose whole foods cheaper than pre-prepared vegetables.
2. Eat less meat – bulk out meals with vegetables/pulses/lentils, buy frozen meat.
3. Make own sauces / salad dressings / marinades. Many bottles of sauces are 80% water.
4. Use your leftovers to create new meals. Soups, pies and stir fries.
5. Buy a stick blender to make soup and smoothies from leftover fruit and vegetables.
6. Use dried milk for pancakes, Yorkshire puddings and sauces.
7. Use tinned or frozen fruit and vegetables so they don’t go off.
8. Planning meals can be overwhelming when your busy and juggling work and children. Try and think about how you can make one meal then incorporate other tinned ingredients to bulk out and reheat the following night.
9. Going shopping when you’re not hungry can be tricky at times. Know your budget before you go and make a list so you are not tempted with special offers you will not use.
10. Go to the whoopsie/yellow sticker shelf first and see what is there and build meals around that. Vegetables past their prime are still great in soups, casseroles and stir fries.
11. Storing fruit and vegetables correctly can prolong their life. Soft fruit in glass jars last much longer than in their original packaging. Lettuce and spinach last longer when a piece of kitchen towel or cloth placed in the bag.
12. If food is going past it’s best popping it in the freezer until you know what to do with it.
13. Check out offers on supermarket website and apps before you go if you can access them. Are there any coupons? Can you make the most of introductory offers of click and collect/delivery. Once on supermarket email more offers related to your shopping will pop up.
14. If you are going to make a list – stick to it. Knowing what is in your cupboards and freezer can help you avoid buying unnecessary items. Use an app to save and share pantry list and shopping lists, lots of other useful features available too.
15. Look beyond the middle shelf, less expensive brands tend to be on lower shelf on the left hand side. Up to 30 % could be saved trading down on brands. Frozen version of ingredients are often cheaper than fresh too. Check out Trolley to compare supermarket prices and deals.
16. Olio app is a great way to pick up free food in your local area. Tesco food waste champions are commonly registered on there.
17. Check out if there are any community fridges, Fare Share distribution centres or shops that can provide discounts or free food.
18. Look up your local foodbank centre to receive emergency food parcel. Speak to local council for other schemes in your area.
19. Check to see if eligible to the HAF scheme if you have children to claim free meals and childcare in the holidays.
20. Use common sense with regards to best before dates – use your senses. Generally the quality of food degrades rather than making you poorly.
Use by dates require more care and could make you ill, especially if your fridge is not at optimum temperature (under 5C). Some ingredients such as milk and yoghurt have had there labels changed from use by to best before in some supermarkets.