Your essential living expenses weigh the same importance as your priority bills. Undeniably, one among the most significant living expenses is food.
If you have limited income while struggling to meet debt payments, you might resort to being frugal on your food budget. However, you should not compromise these needs since your health and well-being is a priority.
In fact, there is no need to panic when you can’t afford regular meals for your household. If you do, you should know where to get emergency help for food and money.
The Significance of Saving Money on Food
The money you spent on food is one of the biggest costs on your budget list. By considering the means to save money on food and meals, you can easily deal with unexpected raised on food costs.
Ways to Save Money on Food and Meals
Planning meals in advance
Planning your meals ahead of time can save money and time. Eating instant and ready-made meals often cost a lot than preparing home cook meals. Besides, home cook meals are healthier since the salt and sugar content is controlled, unlike ready-made meals.
One way to prepare food ahead of time is through cooking by batch. This can be done by cooking meals that can be consumed for several days. You can freeze the remaining food and heat it once you need it. This can save you effort and money.
To cook your meals by batch you have to:
- a calendar to plan your meals for the week
- prepare a staple food such as rice or pasta
- include a type of vegetable or nutrition
- an easy to follow recipes
- spare time to cook the food and sort it by batches for a certain day of the week. You can freeze any leftover or meals intended for the succeeding days
Moreover, you don’t have to be an expert in cooling meals by batches. You can refer to cookbooks or online sources for simple recipes that you can follow. You can try the following for batch cooking:
- Big-batch bolognese
- Slow cooker ratatouille
- Soup maker broccoli and stilton soup
- Sausage ragu
You can also include the family when planning meals so everyone can get a fair share and enjoy the delights. This can also give the young ones an idea of how they can save money by eating healthier and nutritious meals.
Checking food in stock regularly
Before you plan meals, you might as well check your food in stock and see if you can create a simple meal from it. Sometimes it takes creativity to cook meals. This can help you save money rather than buying other ingredients.
You can check for dried foods or tinned foods that you already along with your available sauces and condiments. You can organize your food storage so you can monitor what you need before doing your groceries.
Go for the fresh produced
Most of the time fresh produced are way cheaper than buying instant meals. You can cook this ahead as well before it gets out of date. You can also check the date of expiration when buying it. The bottom line is not to eat goods or items that are past their use-by date.
How to save money when shopping for food?
To avoid spending more when doing your food shopping, it’s always best to check your food in stock and list down the things that you need for the weak according to your planned meals. Here are some of the steps that you can consider:
- To stick to your budget, make sure to list down all the things that you need to buy. When doing so, you have to check your cupboard or freezer to see what items you already have
- Try to visit the reduced section. Supermarkets need to dispose of foods by the ‘best before’ time. However, those items are usually in good condition to eat for some time later. The best before date means when the food is at its most excellent condition to eat. The ‘use by’ date is different as it indicates the latest date to eat or use the item. You can also determine if there are other reduced sections in the store
- Buy fruits or vegetables when you are to consume them within the next 2 days to avoid wasting the food
- Use coupons and take advantage of the sales when you shop around
- Take note of the costs of each item and compare receipts. This can make you familiar with how much each item will cost you
- You can shop around and look for a supermarket where you can get cheaper deals
- Consider a day without meat to save a certain amount as meat cuts are known to be costly
- Add more vegetables to your bulk meals rather than meat cuts
How to save money on fruits and vegetables
The NHS suggests that we consume a minimum of 5 of 80-gram servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Vegetables can add more to your meals due to their water content; hence, this will help you remain hydrated.
Also, you have to use them up since they tend to get spoiled quickly when not consumed. However, research implies that frozen fruit and vegetables are similarly nutritious when they are fresh. The frozen quality is frequently more affordable and can stay longer though.
You can buy frozen fruit and veggies if you wish to. If you prefer fresh ones you can freeze it before it gets spoiled. They can be usually preserved longer when frozen, so you can consume them when you wish to.