Tips and Ideas for saving ££(13 Posts)
For the next couple of months I'm going to be on half pay due to being too poorly to work. Until now I've been in the fortunate position that while not rolling in it, I've not had to worry too much about how to get through a month, but this is going to change completely for the next two months and possibly more if I don't start to get better soon. (fingers crossed on that one).
So I need ideas about how to reduce our food bill, where is good for bargains and what would you say are the things you can do without most easily?
Any tips welcomed!
My top tip is to find out when your local supermarket(s) does their big reductions (75% off or more, usually just before closing or around 8pm but it varies, so jus ask staff) & buy meat/fish, dairy/deli stuff, fruit/veg & bakery goods very cheaply. There is not much that cannot be frozen so just get what you see!
Value brand of most things is more than adequate.
If you have a farm shop nearby it may be cheap for large sacks of potatoes, carrots etc.
Also try Aldi/Lid
I recently found the approved food website which is great for some baking basics.
I got huge catering sized bags of muffin mixes for under £2. Great to whip up a batch of breakfast muffins for DD's walk to school or mini choc ones for treats. I think most of there stuff is very short dated or out of date but I don't usually pay much attention to the dates anyway.
They are good for things like crisps and biscuits or pasta and basics too. Some of it is de-identified sainsburys or supermarket stuff which I think the stores are rebranding or replacing iyswim.
Nothing we've had has ever been stale. It is a bit random on there though and I could go mad with the chocolates etc so have to limit myself to picking one treat item
Fill your freezer with slow cooker stews. Make big batches to use less electricity. Replace 1/5 or 1/4 of the meat with red lentils. This works best with "dark" meat stews, like beef.
Also works well with bolognase sauce.
You can also bulk out the dishes (& make them healthier) by adding grated carrot.
Fruit and veg from a market. Look out for offers at supermarkets i bulk buy the things that have no date. I have about 4 big bottles of persil and loads of soup i couldntn afford the good makes it if it werent on offer. Good luck!
Make sure to get rid of non-essential monthly payments/standing orders/direct debits - for me, it would be Cineworld membership, Lovefilm, Sky TV, Gym, Charity payments etc
I'm on a low income and this is what I do;
Write down everything I spend
Keeping water, homemade sandwiches and snacks in my bag so I don't have to buy food out.
Borrow books from library instead of buying
Walk more to save on bus/train fares
Decluttered and sold lots on eBay, Amazon and Music Magpie
I stopped buying newspapers and magazines. This worked twofold; I wasn't spending the money to buy them and I think avoiding all the advertising and fashion/beauty/product features has made me less aspirational, iyswim?
I think the main thing is a shift in my attitude. I've embraced the free/very cheap things in life. A cup of tea sat out in the garden, reading library books, listening to R4 documentaries, going to museums/free events (bringing own drinks and lunch!) I've stopped shopping as a leisure activity, I only shop when I actually need something. 'Retail Therapy' is BS, invented to make us spend money.
`Try eating meat and fish only once a week.
Get a vegetarian book from the library and try out some veggie recipes instead.
A batch of pancakes can go a long way. Jacket potatoes are cheap and filling. If the oven is on, cook more than one thing and just reheat tomorrow.
I agree with shopping in the evening which is what I do. Waitrose reductions are fabulous and my freezer is stocked with reduced food.
Cancel everything you can on non essential DD and ring your internet provider and threaten to leave. They will give you another deal.
Walking, library, parks, museums for activities.
Sorry, I've just realised I didn't read your OP properly!
I go to Aldi, Lidl and local markets.
Cooking from scratch saves money. There are brilliant recipes here on MN.
Make your own pasta sauce in bulk and freeze into portions.
Adding grated carrot and red lentils bulks out bolognaise and chili.
Try switching down to cheaper brands.
I just drink water. Stopped drinking squash altogether and if I buy juice I have it 50/50 with water.
Things I can do without;
Fabric conditioner. I think it's a con and I've stopped using it! You could try white vinegar instead.
I kept my usual conditioner that I like, but bought a cheapy shampoo. Shampoo is just detergent, it's the conditioner that makes a difference to how your hair feels. When I pour out the shampoo in my hand I mix a little bicarb with it, makes the bottle go further.
I do the oil cleansing method. Saved me a fortune on cleansers, moisturisers, etc.
Meal plan, and don't buy what's not on the plan. (But do change the plan if you are shopping online or in supermarket and see great deal on ingredients for a different recipe.)
Check cost per kg. Often the essentials or value brands are more expensive than the normal brands (especially on broccoli and green beans for some odd reason.)
Pound stores are good for branded shampoos, craft items and tat (eg if DC need cowboy hats or feather boas for school play.)
Wilkos is best for cleaning products and stationery.
Markets are by far the cheapest place for veg.
Frozen fish far cheaper than fresh.
buy meat in 3 for £10 deals, and look for what comes in the heaviest weights. I bought a chicken last week that cost £3.33 in a 3 for 10 deal and it lasted 3 meals, for me, 2DS and DH who all have appetites of lumberjacks. The everlasting chicken is a standing joke on MN but it's true!
Buy clothes on ebay. You get the most beautiful clothes for next to nothing.
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Cook in bulk and freeze into portion sizes, always check for reduced products especially meat and fish, just pop it in the freezer till you need it. I find asda smart price products great, tomato passsata, fabric softer, squash, ham, cheese even the soap are all great.
If you have a local home bargains store you can get great branded products and greatly reduced prices. Try to buy only what you need.
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