How I’m keeping my food bill low

It’s so easy to overspend on food and end up wasting some. I do my best to avoid this – I don’t want to throw money in the bin! There is a lot of temptation in the supermarket when I am tired and hungry so I am planning all our meals and writing a list, which I stick to unless I see a huge bargain. I tend to shop straight after work, which isn’t the best time for a good yellow sticker bargain  so can’t rely on them, but if I do spot something I change my meal plan to accommodate it. 

I am using up what I have, which means eating up tins and packet pulses. These are a cheap form of protein and good for you too. I always have some tinned tuna and sardines in for the same reason. Some tinned veg is handy to have: tomatoes, obviously, but also potatoes, sweet corn and maybe mushrooms. 

I buy frozen quite a lot. Vegetables tend to be cheaper this way and there is no waste. Frozen meat is also cheaper. We eat a lot of chicken as that is good value I find. Generally we are eating less meat though. I dig out my old vegetarian recipe books for inspiration. I might buy and use some cheaper meat like braising steak and put it in the slow cooker.

I am no chef but I can cook, so we don’t eat ready meals. However, I don’t object to the odd short cut as I work full time so usually have a jar of casserole sauce lurking. I have got these from Approved Food in the past massively reduced so will be checking their website over the weekend. If there is anything good I will ask DD1 if she wants to share an order and split the delivery charge.

I quite often batch cook things like soup, casseroles and pasta sauces for the freezer. These are great for a quick dinner if we get home late. 

I also have eggs in for a quick omelette dinner or eggs on toast. Egg and chips is one of my favourite meals and so cheap!

So this is what I will continue to do to save money on the food bill. What about you? Are you trying to stick to a low food budget post Christmas?

10 thoughts on “How I’m keeping my food bill low

  1. Margaret Powling

    A simple omelette for a supper/tea is one of the best uses of eggs, I think. We regularly have this when we’ve had a ‘decent’ size lunch and only need a light supper/tea. We had an omelette yesterday. I don’t have a special omelette pan so I made a large one (using three eggs) and cut it in half and we have half each, and on a small dish to pop onto the hot plate, as I want the omelette on a hot plate, I made a side salad, all very finely shredded, so that you don’t have to start cutting it up – shredded lettuce, a little shredded red cabbage, some spring onions or red onion, peppers, cress, and topped with finely sliced tomato, and then (for me) a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce and (for husband) a drizzle of mayo. We might have some granary bread, just half a slice each as it’s very filling, but this makes a lovely supper/tea meal. I have just posted a lovely soup recipe on my own blog.

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      1. Margaret Powling

        We were out this morning and when we returned home we had another bowl of the soup – that means it’s done two of us for three meals and there’s a drop left for a cup each. We don’t mind having it three days on the trot because it’s so good and today we had it with vintage cheddar cheese & onion bread, olives, Braeburn apples and a cheese board with some of the cheeses left from Christmas (Gruyere, St Augur, Cheddar, Cheshire and Red Leicester). We opened a bottle of red wine but although it’s not a cheap one it’s destined for sauces, it’s far too acidic for us. Indeed, we’ve gone off all wine, preferring mineral water or a simple ice cold G&T or a glass of beer or cider.
        Thank you for your kind comment on our kitchen. I might add a ps to my post and show today’s photo of the table (we have new bulbs in the overhead lighting track and they are ‘warm’ bulbs so the whole room looks much nicer.)
        Margaret P
        http://www.margaretpowling.com

        Reply
  2. Eeva

    I am trying to keep our costs of food low, too. But still we eat way too much meat. But cooking at home pays itself, for sure, ready made meals costs a fortune. We often have more than just two of us in the table, which I don’t mind. My allergies makes limits, too, cannot eat eags, fe, so some cheap meals are out of question. I guess, I’ll try to get grocery bill lower this year.

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  3. Sam

    I guess I use many of the same techniques but too many short cut foods still. I’m still building my vegetarian repertoire but meat is so expensive it has to be learned.

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  4. Jill McMullen

    I intend to eat my way through my freezer this month. I have plenty of meat, chicken, sausages, meatballs etc. So, my shop will be basic, with eggs, bacon, fruit and veg added. I don,t diet in Jan until all the spreads, pickles cakes have gone from Xmas. Just for fun for myself I am keeping my receipts and tracking prices on basic goods. We like a meatball hotpot at weekend’s. Cheap easy and delicious and an alternative to meatballs and pasta.

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  5. Helen Graham

    My food philosophy is much the same as yours, hate waste, love a bargain, flexible meal plan, mostly cook from scratch but cheat a little too. I especially love creating meals from leftovers, and spending as little as possible to make a filling, healthy meal. I do tend to overdo it on the bargains though, I hate leaving a good one on the shelf but I have to be stern with myself and remember I have a dozen of whatever it is already in the cupboard or in the freezer.

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  6. KAYTHEGARDENER

    For slimming down people or food budgets, I like to make a number of stirfries…They can be made with eggs, leftover poultry, beef or pork, etc… just cut the meat into small dice to fit in with the veggies. Cook in order of longest to shortest & then it’s done quickly, ready to eat. I especially like how I can use up bits of veggies, that wouldn’t be enough if served by themselves.
    Another trick is to cut veggies in 2 different uses, eg cut celery on diagonal “C” shapes, as well as very thin matchsticks about 1/8″ x 1/8″ x 2″-3″ (imitation bean sprouts) or chinese cabbage or choys (ribs like celery diagonals, leaves wilt down like spinach)… Or red & green peppers, yellow & green zucchinis — all these make for very colorful dishes!!

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