The difference between buying a food shop once a month and a couple times a week will make a very noticeable to your bank account. You can also make healthier choices, as you’ll be pre-planning your budget (and calories). Check out the tips below to ensure you’re doing everything possible to have a affordable but healthy and home-cooked lifestyle.
This is a long process to discovering how long your food lasts and how far your money stretches so don’t expect to nail this on the first few months. But the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see the benefits.
Buy a Freezer
When I was a student, I purchased a second-hand £50 freezer as tall as myself. £50 is a lot to a student or anyone on a budget but by doing that first, I was able to buy so much meat and vegetables that were on offer or reduced and keep for months and months at the time. It was an amazing asset to our student house and I don’t think I would have kept to low food bills without it. Unfortunately I stabbed it to death when I was trying to defrost for the first time and broke it – so as long as you don’t do that, you’ll be fine.
The average family throws away £60 of food per month. Even if you’re just one person it’s likely close to £10-15 per month. By buying mostly frozen you’ll be able to ensure that you don’t throw away too much fresh. Staying healthy and keeping to a budget is a compromise. For example I keep frozen broccoli and cauliflower in the freezer but I’ll buy fresh mushrooms, onions and peppers.
Stock up on non-perishables that will last you a long time. Always have some tinned soup in, 1kg bags of rice, instant noodles and porridge in the house. These can be the things you turn to when you’ve run out of the ‘nice’ stuff. It’s better to have some rice and beans in your belly come bedtime than nothing.
Planning your month is often down to portions, you should know how many meals a 1kg bag of lean mince can last you (10) and how many meals can be made from a 350g bag of chicken (4). Then you can plan how many meals can be made with your shop and ensure you last the whole month. The food you need is a lot less than you might think.
Eat Your Leftovers
If you do have any leftovers (not a word in my house) then eat it for lunch the next day – don’t waste anything. Remember to let any food cool to room temperature before putting in the fridge. You should always know what’s knocking around your kitchen
Go Cheap With Meat
I’m a bit of a meat snob and I always have been. I prefer to have a meatless meal than have a poor cut of meat simply because I can taste the fat and would rather not have it. However if you’re even slightly less fussy than me you should consider cheaper meat such as shoulder or shin. If you are as fussy as me, why not try to have a non-meat meal a few times a week to spread your meat cost out.
Just Water Please
Why is water so important? Read my blog post here where we talk about water. If you’re trying to cut down on your fizzy drink intake then cut it down to half of what you usually buy. Drink water as much as possible.
Here’s my recent post featuring my beginners food shopping list – feel free to use it to help you with your first big shop that’s budget-friendly and low-cal. Happy shopping!