If you are feeling the pinch after a busy summer, these tips will help you eat both healthily and inexpensively:
- Write a shopping list. Plan your meals in advance and buy the exact ingredients you need.
- Don’t throw anything away. Plan all the ingredients (including fresh herbs) so they get used. You can freeze unwanted food and herbs.
- Eat your leftovers.
- Buy frozen fruit and vegetables. Frozen fruit and vegetables are massively underrated. They come pre-chopped and are just as good for you as non-frozen food (but avoid frozen food with added salt, sugar or fat)
- Trade down a brand. Switch from premium brands to basic brands and buy unbranded vegetables sold by weight.
- Go veggie. Even if you don’t see yourself as a vegetarian, cutting down on meat and fish is a great way to save money.
- Discover pulses. Pulses, beans, lentils and peas are budget, healthy and packed with protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Freeze leftover bread. Bread is the most wasted household food. You know you can freeze and toast it?
- List your cupboards. Get to know every ingredient already in your cupboards. You can typically cook a meal with what you already have.
- Work to a recipe. Consider the price of ingredients when making your recipes. Build a collection of budget foods that you enjoy cooking and eating.
- Learn portion control. Use smaller plates, or add smaller portions to the plate and learn to say no to a second helping. Save the leftovers for lunch.
- Learn to cook from scratch. Avoiding takeaways and processed ready cook meals can save you a fortune, and they’re packed with salt and sugar.
- Price-check packaged fruit and vegetables against loose veg. You can save a lot of money by buying loose vegetables, and it’s often the same thing.
- Cut back on luxuries. Allow yourself a set amount of treats like crisps, and biscuits. They are expensive, and you’ll feel better for it.
- Beware of BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) offers. It’s not cheaper if you weren’t planning on getting it in the first place. Check the sell-by dates and make sure you’re planning to use the second free item.
- Shop around. You don’t owe any loyalty to a supermarket. You can price-check big name supermarkets. Also consider heading back to your local fruit and vegetable market.
- Shop during ‘happy hour’. Most supermarkets discount fresh items towards the end of the day. Each supermarket cuts prices at a different time (ask in store assistant when they cut prices). As a general rule: shopping very late (or very early) is the best way to save money at the supermarket
First published on Lifehacker