Saving Money on Your Food Budget

Thursday 16 June 2022

How to save money at the tils


It has been really apparent in recent months that the cost of living has gone up exponentially.  With the cost of petrol/gasoline and heating fuel, and groceries, it is getting harder and harder to make our hard earned cash stretch to meet our needs.

There are certain costs that a person has no control over. I have read of people, especially those on fixed incomes, having to make some very difficult choices, such as heating their homes or eating.

One way a person can always save money is on their food budget.  This is something which is well within our control and something we can play with a bit. A small change here and a small change there can add up to big savings overall.    Today I am sharing my sure fire hints and tips for making my food budget go further.  

It may be things you already know how to do, but it never hurts to be reminded.  

money saving tips

1. Take an inventory of what you already have in your cupboards and refrigerator/freezer.  Write it down and keep it in a place that you can refer to before you go shopping. Determine to use what you have rather than go out and buy new.

2. Read the flyers and make up menus for your weekly meals.  Make a list of the things you need and buy only what is on the list. Try not to be tempted by two for one and other "false" deals. These deals are a false economy and are engineered to make money for the grocery shops and not you.   What is the point of saving 50 cents on something if you are going to pay more to buy two of them, and then one goes to waste before you can use it up anyways?  The only time these things are really bargains is if they are things you use often anyways and you know you will easily use them before the use by/sell by dates.  Remember, its not a bargain if it is going to end up in the tip.

money saving tips

3. Never shop when you are hungry.  Make sure you are well fed before you go. It is a well known fact that if you try to shop on an empty tummy you are more prone to impulse buying. 

4. Leave the husband and the children at home. It is too easy to give in to the demands of others.

5. Choose the time of day you go shopping carefully.  Early in the morning or late in the day are the best times.  I find that if I go first thing in the morning quite often I can take advantage of the shops Use today and get 30% off deals on fresh ingredients, like meat, that is right on it's sell by date.  

There is nothing wrong with this food. You can often wrap it up and pop it into the freezer when you get home, ready to use at a later date. Today, for instance, I bought a pound of bacon that was already on offer, but because this was its sell by date I got it for a cheaper price and then a further 30 % off of that.  Normally  it sells for $7.99 but was on offer for $5.99 and I got another $1.80 off. You often see meat reduced in this way.  You want to snap it up.

The end of the day is when baked goods like breads are marked down for a quick sale.  This is also when items that are near their sell by date are marked down. You can often snag a bargain. These can often be wrapped tightly, frozen and then refreshed in a low oven when you want to use them.

money saving tips

6.  Whenever possible buy store brand/own brand items. Quite often these are produced by the same companies that produce the more expensive brands.  Same product, different label. Remember the most expensive brands/products are usually placed at eye level, so that way we see them first and are more likely to pick them up.  I only pop for brand names when the article I am using is the main ingredient in something and the quality is more apt to show.

7.  Read the labels.  Grocery shops always place the freshest goods, or goods with the longest sell by date at the back, with the shortest sell by date at the front. Yes, I am one of those cheeky people who reach to the back and get the freshest goods, even cans, as I possible can. This is true for cheese, sliced meats, etc. I don't consider it cheating. It is my right to be able to purchase the freshest foods possible. Make sure you have given yourself enough time to use the article before the use by date as well.

8.  Read the flyers before you shop and take advantage of  the weekly bargains and offers. Try to plan your menus around the specials, and for use of leftovers.  Also, use coupons if possible. If a store has a loyalty card which allows you to save up points that you can use to reduce your grocery bill at a future date, use it. I like to save up my loyalty points until Christmas and then I use them when I know I am going to need to spend a bit more than I do on my weekly shop.

money saving tips

9.  Prepare as much food as you can from scratch, avoiding prepped and convenience foods as much as possible.  The more your food has been handled, the more money you are going to have to pay for it.  When whole chickens are on offer, buy several and cut them into smaller pieces at home. Wrap the pieces tightly and freeze, breasts with breasts, legs with legs, etc.  Don't throw away the backs either.  These are great for making stocks. 

I have noticed that premixed salads, fruit platters, etc. have gone up on average $2 per platter/salad. That might not seem like a lot, but it all adds up.

10. Eat seasonally and locally. Not only is this better for the environment, but it is cheaper as well.  Take advantage of You Pick farms during the growing season and pick your own fruits and vegetables, freezing and canning what you can for the future.  Not only is eating seasonally cheaper overall, but your carbon footprint is reduced and the stuff just tastes better!

11.  Pasta, rice and potatoes are great meal extenders. Hard cheese if you are watching the carbs, but if you have a growing family, they are great ingredients to use that will help fill up the family and stretch your more expensive ingredients such as meats and cheeses.

money saving tips

These are only a few of the things you can do, but I guarantee that even if you implement only a few of them you will see a difference over all.  One thing I have always done is to make great use of things like a roasting chicken or a roast of beef, etc. I learned that from my mother.  

The cost of a good, nice sized, roasting chicken might seem overly high to begin with, but when you consider that you can often get at least three or four meals from it, it becomes quite an economical expense. 

Grandmother's Roast Chicken & Gravy

Cooking something like GRANDMOTHER'S ROAST CHICKEN & GRAVY on the first day means that you have a lovely roast dinner for the family. With careful planning, you can feed the family a tasty dinner, using just half the chicken, along with a variety of tasty vegetables on the side.  

Sage and Onion Stuffing

I would normally cook some roasted potatoes, carrots, peas and maybe even some swede (rutabaga) to enjoy with this and sometimes even a good homemade stuffing such as my recipe for MARY BERRY'S SAGE and ONION STUFFING.

Plenty of sides mean that the family will not be filling up on the meat. Make sure you cook plenty of vegetables, as well as extra gravy.  That way the next day you can make the family a nice Chicken Pot Pie to take advantage of the extras. Just chop everything up, including the potatoes, mix it into the gravy and pop it into a casserole dish popping a pastry crust on top, or even a scone/biscuit topping. I guarantee nobody will be complaining.

Hot chicken sandwiches (sliced chicken in gravy ladled over slices of bread) are also very nice, served with a vegetable and oven chips.

Fruity Chicken Salad

You could also use some of the leftover chicken to make your family some really delicious FRUITY CHICKEN SALAD  ready to pop into sandwiches, or to serve on its own on a bed of lettuce. I would make a nice potato salad to serve along side and maybe even some coleslaw. 


Chicken and Stars Soup

And then you can make a delicious soup for the family with the carcass and what meat is left on the bones.  CHICKEN AND STARS SOUP is a real favorite of mine. You don't need to use star shaped pasta if you don't have it, or even pasta. Just use any noodle or even rice. I promise you it will be delicious. Add a few homemade STIR AND ROLL BISCUITS and your family will be a nice group of very happy campers!

In any case, I hope I have given you some food for thought here this morning. Every little helps as they say!  If you are looking for additional ideas for how to use up your leftovers do check out this post I did on DELICIOUS LEFTOVERS.  There is no waste in my house if I can help it!

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  1. All good tips, most of which I have always done as money was always limited especially when our family was young.

  2. I love casserole leftovers. Meat leftovers, some -- but I usually change them out (like chicken salad vs. a piece of leftover chicken). All of these are really great tips -- a couple new, many I've done.


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