Long time since am posted on food budgets, and now food prices on the rise it is time to share again!
Here are some tips for feeding a family for less.
1) Always plan meals a week ahead. (Doesn't have to be 100% rigid.)
2) Don't go to the same supermarket every week.
3) Do have a realistic budget in mind of what you can afford.
4) Do use leftovers.
5) Do make use of coupons, and often shops online will send money off vouchers. I have sometimes got as much as £20 off.
6) Register for price alerts on My Supermarket, to get your favourites for half price.
7) Don't waste money on snack food, it isn't necessary, in fact in the seventies when I was growing up I never had snacks. Too expensive! If you were hungry you had toast, fruit, or a sandwich.
8) Look out for the three for £10 meats.
Firstly, I look at my meal plan, which is different every month. I try to plan no more than 4 red meat meals in a week, and then maybe one veggie meal. The rest is fish, or chicken.
Two free range chickens from Aldi cost under £12 and feed our family of 12 for two days. The second day I make a stew, and that uses vegetables that might otherwise go off.
A couple of packets of pasatta will do for lasagne, bolognaise, chilli, etc, and cost fraction of the price. For the white sauce just heat some milk, and in jug mix cornflour and milk- add when heated, and you have white sauce.
A pressure cooker will cook casserole meat, so you can have tender in 30 minutes for curry, or whatever.
Keep stuff simple. I find sophisticated costs much more. You can make mash in different forms eg for diabetics with sweet potato, for more interest add cheese, or just add carrot, and swede. Brown rice is versatile and you only need around 40g dried per person. Don't make mistake of making too much rice, as it is dangerous to reheat for leftovers!
With breakfast cereals, I buy the cheapest packet porridge, and put in tub. I buy the 3 for £3 mixes, and the shop generic weetabix. You can save big by not buying brands! I only buy brands when half price.
Bread is the basics range, or middle range. Morrisons do wholemeal for 48p a loaf, and it is good.Tesco, and Sainsbury for around 60p.
We only drink tea, green tea, coffee and water. Ready done drinks are empty calories. No fruit juices, as they are not healthy.
Cheese and dairy is the basics range, and the Asda cheddar mature cheese is really good.
Waitrose toilet rolls are superb. I buy the Essential Waitrose and get 20% off with My Waitrose offers.
We don't buy snack food. We do buy biscuits, and these are the non branded as a rule. If the children are hungry they have toast, or a sandwich. This might contain cheese, paste, jam, or fish. Crisps are once a week, and never branded. Aldi does good multipack crisps.
Dessert might be a slice of Vienetta (bought on offer) a donut, a cookie, piece of cake, greek yoghurt, chocolate bar. Rarely branded. Morrisons do a great generic version of Mars bars. They call them Apollo. Also cheaper to bake your own. We make home made birthday cake, pancakes, scones etc.
The market is sometimes the best place for fruit and veg. It really depends on the time of year. Look out for Barnes Stores as they sell outdated brands for a quarter of the price.
If you shop at Morrisons or Ocado online you get 'flash sales', and it is worth signing in daily when you have an order to see what changes! I have got half price organic fruit and veg boxes, steaks, chicken, and loads of other good stuff, and unlike the supermarket the date is still good.
Above all, the most important thing when planning food, and buying is that you are getting plenty of protein in, you don't need massive carb quantities. A wholemeal pack of spaghetti serves all 12 of us. Try adding lentils, quinoa, beans etc for extra protein. Best fast food ever- free range eggs!
I make my own wedges with potatoes, which I buy from the farm by the sack. (last long and a fraction of washed potato price) Just stir in rapeseed oil and bake in oven. I do a sweet potato one for the diabetic.
Frozen food is cheaper than fresh, and doesn't go off. Meat can be cheaper, too.
Toiletries are all paraben free, eco, and SLS free. I wait for offers and stock up. I recently got Method washing liquid at Tesco for £4 and that does 39 washes. Don't need conditioner with that as it smells too good!
Faith in nature shampoo. I wait for offers, and recently got half price at the Ocado half price sale. (An immense benefit of having an Ocado delivery pass! My only splurge. )
Also, if you get groceries online most will have a £1 slot, and Sainsbury delivers for free if you spend over £100 after 2:pm Monday to Thursday.
Finally, if you are wanting, or needing to trim your weekly spend watch for unnecessary items. You would be surprised! Also, what do you waste? We have a zero waste policy here. Remember a best before date can be ignored.