MORE WAYS TO SAVE ON GROCERIES

When money is tight I find one of the simplest ways to reduce our budget is to look at our spending at the supermarket. I have written about how to save on groceries before and today I am sharing more ways to reduce your food costs.

To see my other posts on ways to save click here.

When trying to cut your food costs soft drink is one of the things to take off your grocery list.

Stop buying soft drink

I’m not a huge fan of fizzy drink, but my Husband is and I do like to have some on hand to offer to guests. However when I am trying to lower our spending this is one of the things I cut first from our grocery list as it’s definitely not something we really need.

Switch to home brand products where you can

If I was only shopping and cooking for myself, there’s a good chance I would buy home brand everything. My Husband can be incredibly fussy about the things he will and won’t eat so I know this one can be tricky. My suggestion is to give home brand products a go, work out the ones you can live with and go from there. I find essentials such as oats, flour and sugar are a great place to start.

Compare the unit prices of items when shopping.  Most supermarkets now conveniently put on the price tag, you just need to look closely.

Check the unit price

Sometimes I look at the price of something compared to other products around it and think, ‘Wow! That’s a bargain!’. But when I stop and compare the unit prices (which most supermarkets now conveniently put on the price tag, you just need to look closely) I realise I’m paying more in the end. Be careful not to fall into this trap.

Only buy what your family will eat

It’s easy to convince myself buying something that’s half price is a great idea because I’m saving money, but if no-one will actually eat it I’m just wasting money. Sure it’s great to try new things, but when money is tight I stick to things I know my family will eat, and save more adventurous meals for less frugal weeks, that way it’s not such a huge issue if everyone hates it.

Adding lentils added to bolognese or a curry, is an easy, cheap way to bulk out a meal and make it stretch a little further and help cut your food costs.

Go meatless

This is another work in progress in my house. My husband is not a fan of anything vegetarian (that he knows of) but a can of lentils added to bolognese or a curry, is an easy, cheap way to bulk out a meal and make it stretch a little further. If like me you have a picky eater trying adding in small amounts to begin with and increasing it over time.  What my husband doesn’t know won’t kill him. Unless he’s reading this, in which case, I’m sorry baby.

So there are 5 more ways to reduce your food costs. I’d love to hear your tips for saving money at the supermarket in the comments below.

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LIKE GRANDMA USED TO MAKE

I am lucky to have some pretty awesome women in my family. We are hugely outnumbered by the men, but I like to think that just makes us that bit more fabulous. All of them have their own strengths and talents, and I am so fortunate to have such a wealth of knowledge available to me through them. GG, my Mum’s Mum, is an avid reader who always has a good recommendation to offer. Auntie Lizzie, is a sewing master who makes some amazing outfits. My Mum is a writer who has the quickest wit of anyone I’ve ever met and a way with words I aspire to.

Nanny, my Dad’s Mum, knows about food. Not in like a fancy cooking show type way, although I definitely think she could give some of them a run for their money, but more of a bellies filled with delicious warmth kind of way. If I have a cooking question, she is usually the first person I call. I remember going to my Grandparent’s house for dinner as a child, she always made the best roasts, and now I am older I love to (try to) recreate her recipes for my family.

Last week I made Corned Beef using Nanny’s recipe. It’s one of my family’s favourites and who doesn’t love a good corned beef sandwich the next day. These days she tends to email me her recipes, (she’s got this Internet thing down!) but I still treasure the few hand-written versions I have. Even if I can’t always read her writing. I’ve been thinking about sharing some recipes on here, and sharing some of Nanny’s recipes seems to me a good place to start. So keep an eye out in the upcoming weeks for recipes of some of my family’s favourites, including Corned Beef, just like, though not quite as good, as Nanny makes.

I would love to hear in the comments below what have you learnt from the women in your family, or what you hope to pass on to your kids and grand babies!

WAYS TO MAKE COOKING DINNER EACH NIGHT EASIER

This meme gets me every single time I see it. We all have those days (or weeks) where cooking dinner just seems like way too much work. Here are a few tips I use to make cooking every night that little bit easier.

  1. Tidy your kitchen There is nothing worse than trying to cook in a messy kitchen. A find doing a quick tidy up before I get started makes preparing dinner so much easier. Don’t go over board, just make sure any dishes are done before you start and clear the bench of those pesky items that always seem to gravitate to an empty space.
  2. Meal plan For me dinner is much easier when I don’t have to think about what I’m going to cook. Taking some time out to menu plan once a week saves me a lot of stress trying to figure out what to have for dinner each night when tummies are starting to grumble.
  3. Prepare ahead of time How many times have you gone to cook dinner at 5pm and realised your meat is still frozen? Or that you are missing a key ingredient? Put an end to this by taking a few minutes in the morning to get anything you need to out of the freezer and doing a quick ingredient check. I like to pull out anything I know I’m going to need, such as sauces or spices and pop them on the bench as well. Obviously don’t do this with things that need to be refrigerated or they will be ruined by dinner time.
  4. Delegate cooking every now and then Do yourself a favour and take a break by assigning dinner duty to someone else when you can. In our house this means my husband cooks once a week, usually Saturday night. If for whatever reason that’s not doable one week, it becomes take-away night. Or if money is tight we have eggs on toast. It’s okay to take a night off.
  5. Clean up once you’re done to make sure you’re ready for the next meal. This links back to number one. I know how tempting it can be to just leave the dishes until the next morning after a big day but this just starts you off on the wrong foot tomorrow. Make the effort to wash up, give the bench a quick wipe down and empty the garbage after dinner each night. Enlist your kids and partner, it’s a much quicker job when everyone pitches in a little.

So there you have my 5 ways to make cooking dinner each night easier. Let me know in the comments below things you do to make your dinner routine stress-free.