9 ways to save on your family's food bill

family organise food shopping in kitchen

Feeding a family on a budget? Cut the cost of your weekly food bill – without compromising on taste – with these simple tips for savvy shopping and making frugal meals the whole family will enjoy

1. Get chopping. Better yet, get your children chopping

1. Get chopping. Better yet, get your children chopping

“Don't buy prepared anything; no bags of prepped veg, no grated cheese, no trays of wedges. Do it all from scratch.”

2. Start as you mean to go on - with a frugal, filling breakfast

2. Start as you mean to go on - with a frugal, filling breakfast “Get rid of breakfast cereals and have porridge instead.”

3. Spend a little time on prep, and reap the benefit

3. Spend a little time on prep, and reap the benefit

“When it comes to things like mince I buy the cheaper ones, drain the fat and cook for a longer time. I also buy cheap chickens and joint them myself (or remove and cube the meat) and that way I can save a pretty penny – with a shop-bought chicken you always pay for someone to chop them up for you!”

4. Re-think waste - even potato peel has its uses

4. Re-think waste - even potato peel has its uses

“Another cost saver: I've started saving up ALL my veg peelings and discarded bits of veg and freezing them. I then use them to make a vegetable stock for soups and stews.”

5. Make a little meat go a long way

5. Make a little meat go a long way

“I’ve taken to adding veg to make meat meals go further. I make a stroganoff which is lovely with rice, and put in half mushrooms, and half a cheap beef cut, which is slow cooked in the oven – you can make it tasty even without wine or cream. I put lots of grated carrot in my Bolognese too, and I find doing things like jambalaya or chicken fried rice lets me get away with not serving loads of meat, but it still feels like a meaty dish. You can easily halve the meat in all your recipes by bulking them up with lentils and beans.”

6. Or try going all-out veggie, at least some of the time

6. Or try going all-out veggie, at least some of the time

“Have as many meat free days as you can. Veggie chilli and curry are things you'll often not 'miss' the meat in. My kids also love fun things like cheese toasties, or cheese and spinach crepes.”

7. Make a meal out of leftovers

7. Make a meal out of leftovers

“Make your own pies from leftover meat – it's easy-peasy. Make up a sauce, add in some veg (peas, sweetcorn, mushrooms, onions, leeks) and any leftover meat, and top with ready-made puff or shortcrust pastry. It’s a lot cheaper and will go further than a shop bought pie. You can also freeze the filling – if you don’t guzzle it all!”

8. Forward plan - and don't be afraid to freeze

8. Forward plan - and don't be afraid to freeze

“I make a freezer list – yep, that is exactly as anal as it sounds. I bulk buy meat and freeze it in portions to suit our family. I also have a drawer of frozen veg, mainly for standby, as well as chips and jacket spuds, which I cook then freeze.”

9. And remember there's nothing wrong with simple pleasures

9. And remember there's nothing wrong with simple pleasures

“We like having a cheap night once or twice a week. Beans on toast, sausage and chips, an omelette and chips, or a frittata. It won't kill anyone to have a nutritionally un-balanced meal a couple of times a week!”