The start of a new year is often a time when households look to renew good habits and save some money. This is especially true after the holiday season, where many of us will have spent a bit too much on the festive food!
To help you start the new year as you mean to go on, here are some quick and easy ways to save money in the kitchen without saving on taste!
Plan your mealsOne of the easiest ways to save money is by planning your meals in advance, thus avoiding the expensive ‘impulse buy’ ingredients that you don’t actually need. By creating a weekly meal planner, you can work out which recipes you’ll be making each day and buy only the ingredients you’ll need.
Not only will using a meal planner help your budget, it will also help you avoid making the same meal night after night. So you can plan for all sorts of wonderful meals, and know you’ll be able to make them because you’ve definitely got the ingredients!
We’ve all done it at one time or another. We’ve gone to the supermarket, bought everything we think is needed to make a wide variety of tasty meals… and then watched half of it go to waste as it goes off or inspiration has otherwise failed to take hold.
The best way to avoid this is simply to make a shopping list. Your meal planner comes in handy here: by using it to create your weekly shopping list, you’ll have a plan rather than searching for inspiration when you get to the supermarket.
A golden rule of sticking to your shopping list is to never go shopping when you’re hungry! It’ll make you much more likely to pick up ‘a little extra snack’ that ends up increasing your spend - and your waistline…
Make use of the freezer
You’ll be amazed at how much more convenient your cooking time can be with a freezer. When you’re making the dinner, all you need to do is throw in a little extra and freeze the leftovers.
By labelling the freezer bags with their contents, and how many people they’ll feed, you can build up a store of quick and easy dinners. Perfect for those times when there’s ‘nothing in the fridge’ or you’ve unexpectedly got guests for dinner.
Part of the cost of year-round fruit and vegetables comes from growing them out of season and often in a foreign country.
If you make the effort to eat seasonally and locally, however, many of the costs associated with year-round growing decrease, resulting in lower costs hitting your purse.
Stock up with dry foods
In the battle to save pennies, your store cupboard is your secret weapon.
Pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes, stock cubes and tinned beans can all be stored for long durations without going off. So when there really is nothing in the fridge, you can still make a hearty meal that satisfies the whole family, without needing to resort to take-away food.
With a few of these tips and tricks, you can ensure your New Year food budget stretches as far as it possibly can!