Prior to becoming a mum, I really wasn’t that aware of saving money or being frugal in any way, shape or form. As far as I was concerned any money that I earned was there to be spent and looking back now I can see that I was often quite wasteful in my spending habits. Now that we are living on one income and have an extra mouth to feed, I am finding lots of new ways to save money on our biggest expense: food. I thought some of my tips could be handy for some of my readers and so, in no particular order, here are my top tips on ways to save money on food.
1. Invest in a microwave oven
We’ve never had a microwave before but now that Darcie is getting older I am realising that a microwave really will make my life a lot easier and mean that we waste and spend less. I often find myself cooking twice in the evening, once for Darcie and then later for Dan and I. Once we have a microwave I can cook an extra portion of mine and Dan’s dinner for Darcie and then heat it up for her the next evening.
2. Buy in bulk and freeze
I do one big food shop and the beginning of the month where I try to buy all the meat and cupboard staples that we will need for the month so that we can just do small top up shops as and when we need to. This means I can take advantage of any deals and offers on meat and other expensive items like nappies and cleaning products.
3. Be savvy with special offers
Sometimes a ‘special offer’ isn’t really a special offer and you can actually end up spending out on something that you wouldn’t even normally have bought. I used to be a sucker for this and would cheerfully buy anything that said ‘3 for 2’ or ‘buy one get one free’ but these would always be the things that I would find rotting at the back of the fridge or still sitting in a cupboard a month later waiting to be eaten. If you go in with a list, don’t stray from it even if there is a ‘special offer’.
4. Decide what you are willing to scrimp on
There are some things that I am willing to scrimp on and some things that I would rather pay a higher price for. For example I always buy the cheapest tinned tomatoes that I can find because how different can a tomato really be? But I won’t buy a cheap washing up liquid as I find they really don’t work as well or last as long as good old Fairy. You don’t have to economise everything, but any small changes you can make will make a difference in the long run and mean you have more to spend on a few luxury items.
5. Dig out the slow cooker
Most of us have a slow cooker sitting in a cupboard somewhere and if you don’t have one I would really recommend getting one, I’ve seen them as cheap as £15 and they definitely save you money in the long run. Especially now it is getting colder, it is so nice to have something bubbling away in the slow cooker that makes your house smells delicious and will be a low effort dinner when you come to eat. They’re a great way of using up leftover vegetables which you can add to soups and stews and you can make a big batch of something and freeze the rest for later.
Those are my top tips for saving money on the food shop, I’d love to know yours!
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