For many Brits, Christmas is not only just about the presents, the family, the Queen’s speech – but also the food. Food plays an enormous part for many of us at Christmas, and the queues in the supermarket in the run up to the big day are proof of this. At Mr Lender, we have put together a list of ten ways that you can tighten your belts, and save a few quid on your food bills.
Ditch the salad bags
Prepacked salad bags may be far more convenient and instant, but buying fresh veg will certainly save a few pennies. Salad bags tend to go off much quicker than fresh vegetables, and you get less salad for your money.
Bulk buy kitchen essentials when they’re on offer. Salt, pepper, oil, nuts, and stock cubes – all of these are non-perishable, so they will keep for months and will save you a fair bit in the long run.
Bones and all
Just like the salad bags, it may seem a lot easier to buy single chicken breasts. But don’t be fooled – instead, buy a whole chicken and save the bones for another day. Make a soup from the bones, or save the leftover meat for a pie.
Pulses are great
Beans, lentils and peas are all part of the pulse family – and they are a cheap way to thicken up any meal. Pulses are full of protein, and are incredibly filling. By adding them to a soup, stock or casserole, you can add extra texture and flavour, while using less meat – saving a few pennies on the way. If pulses aren’t your thing, potatoes are also a great way to thicken up a casserole.
Tinned fish may not be the prettiest thing on your shopping list, but they are full of goodness and last for months. Fill the cupboards with tinned fish when it’s on sale, saving yourself some money in the long run.
Make the most of the freezer
A lot of the tips in the post come down to stocking up when your essentials go on sale. Well another one to add to the list is meat. Cuts of meat can be rather expensive to buy fresh, but if you have the space in your freezer, bulk buy your meat when it goes on offer and leave it in there until you need it. Alternatively you can also bulk buy online from sites that offer discounted hampers and free delivery straight to your door. Meat can stay frozen without causing you any problems for up to a year.
Write a list
We’ve all been there – going shopping on an empty stomach, without a list, and coming out with enough junk food to last a year. Do your food shopping online to avoid any delicious temptations, or write a list to buy only the essentials.
Don’t throw things away
Avoid throwing away any food as much as possible. If you have any leftovers, keep them in the fridge and have them for lunch the next day. Or, if you have any food which is nearing its use by date, keep it in the freezer until you need it. Bread is one that tends to go mouldy fairly quickly, so ends up in the bin. Freeze your leftover slices before they take a turn, and just defrost them they’re needed.
BOGOF can bog off
‘Buy one get one free’ sounds tempting, but when it’s on food which isn’t likely to be eaten, or will go off before you get a chance to dip into the second pack – don’t bother. You will end up spending far more money than necessary. As mentioned earlier, BOGOF is great for things which will last long term – cupboard essentials such as salt, oil, nuts, bakes beans, stock cubes, as well as cleaning and bathroom essentials.
Timing is key
By law supermarkets are not able to sell particular items if they have been out for a certain period of time, or if they are nearing their sell by date. So at the start and end of every day, workers will sort the goods and put a whole variety of things on the reduced shelf. Visit the supermarket either very early, or later in the day to get the best picks from the bunch. Quite often, there will be little to nothing wrong with the products on sale, and they can last in the fridge at home for a few more days.