We are always busy. Sometimes I’m so busy it doesn’t seem possible to even start anything, so the list just gets longer. And longer.
I’ve started trying a few things that seem to be helping for me – maybe they could for you too?
I’m cooking a bit more, and before you say “but that takes longer” then hear me out…..I’m trying to cook a bit smarter. I used to do quite a lot of things at the last last-minute, nipping to the shops on the way home, and then when you get in it’s all about the food.
When you add it all up, it’s quite a bit of time.
And money. I was spending £20 to £30 on each “last minute supermarket dash” on a daily basis which is madness when all it takes to avoid this is a bit of planning and forethought.
Now, I’m trying to plan and budget a bit better because, well because I am convinced it is cheaper. It has to be, surely? And also @sagaUK have asked me to take part in a #SagaSpendingDiary activity by sending me some books to help me budget a bit more constructively. So for the past couple of weeks I have really been thinking about my spending and how I can make simple budgeting changes that have an impact on my purse.
Having done that I have saved over £50 a week, our bill has gone from over £170 down to about £120 a week, some weeks even more. Over a year that is a massive saving and one that I am now going to really pay attention to.
These are the top tips I have learned.
- Meal plan. This is my number one top tip above all others. One of the books that SagaUK sent me was a meal planning book to help with this and it has made a huge difference. Just by sitting down on a Friday night, doing some simple planning, including who is out on what nights so dont need to be catered for, and then shopping accordingly we have been so much more organised and cut down on food waste.
- Make sure you know what’s in your freezer and cupboards – at least in general and use them. That sounds basic but when I was out with Mr B this weekend shopping I had coconut milk on my list because I knew I needed some for a recipe that night. “We have some at home” Mr B said. I thought “hmmm I havent even looked”. And of course, we did have some. We always have cupboards creaking with pasta and rice and various tins so I have made a conscious effort to start using them rather than hoarding them.
- Use what’s in your freezer
- Make bases and make double…so you only cook once! ‘Bases’ are mince and tomatoes, for instance, which you can use in Spag Bol or add to lasagne, or add to kidney beans with some chili powder and cumin for chili con carne. Mumsnet had a WHOLE THREAD on this 🙂
- Make casseroles – once the prep is done they pretty much look after themselves so you save time and you can use cheaper cuts of meat too.
- Ditch the brands! Supermarket own brand stuff is just as good, if not better in some cases. We tend to buy brands as it is what we know but in a blind taste test at home no-one noticed!
- Get a slow cooker. And a pressure cooker. You can either cook a whole chicken in half an hour in the pressure cooker or you can put it in the slow cooker before you go to work in the morning and leave it slowly doing its thing all day.
- Shop at the end of the day if you can, and raid the reduced section for things to freeze and use at a later date (see tip above though about actually using your freezer and not just shoving things in it all the time!).
I was geninuely amazed at how much we have saved by just thinking a bit more about shopping. I can now set a budget for food shopping of £120 a week because I know I don’t need to spend anymore than that. Hopefully that can come down slowly too, allowing us to save even more.
Now I just need to work out what to spend the savings on 🙂
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