How to Save Money on Your Food Bill!
- Mums Tips
- Feeding the Family
- Published on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 09:04
- Last Updated on 13 June 2013
- Alison Pinto
- 0 Comments
In May, we came across yet another press report about how hard-pressed British families have seen the cost of their food shop rise (as if we didn’t know that!). Apparently, our grocery prices rose by twice the European average over the past 5 years, and the average UK family now spends £77 per week on just food. So, at Menus4Mums, we thought we’d show you how you could spend under the average cost but still use quality produce and serve up tasty, nutritious dinners for your family. Here’s how we did it:
The first thing to think about is your choice of ingredients, especially meat. Now, we are quite picky about meat and think it’s definitely one area where it pays to go for quality. However, free-range turkey breast is the same quality as free-range chicken but cheaper. Similarly, we like to get a large free-range whole chicken from the butchers for £8 and use it for a Sunday roast, then a quick risotto on Monday (plus sandwiches). Using seasonal fruit and vegetables can cut costs, and if you really must have green beans in winter, try frozen. In fact, frozen vegetables and fish are a real money saver but you don’t lose out on quality.
Our second tip would be to have a quick look at what’s on offer. Now you don’t even have to leave your own house to do this, just go to mySupermarket and check the deals on there. This week, we found good deals on organic beef mince, pork mince, organic lamb steaks and tortillas.
So then we used the above tips to draw up our family meal plan, which looked like this:
Saturday: Home-made pizzas with salad
Sunday: Roast Chicken with all the trimmings
Monday: Chicken risotto (using the leftovers from Sunday)
Tuesday: Mild Chilli tortillas (using the organic mince and tortillas on offer)
Wednesday: Mild lamb curry and rice (using the lamb steaks, cut up)
Thursday: Pork meatballs in tomato sauce (using the pork mince on offer)
Friday: Fast fried fish, potatoes and greens (using frozen cod)
A meal plan doesn’t just give you peace of mind and a feeling of being organised; it also helps you focus when drawing up your shopping list so you don’t add unnecessary extras. As well as the ingredients for the above dinners, we also added breakfast items (free-range eggs, wholemeal bread, fruit juices, Weetabix, yogurts, fruit etc plus bacon for Sunday) plus food for lunchboxes (rolls; fillings such as tinned tuna, cheese, ham; more fruit and veg; some oatcakes; and yes the odd packet of crisps!) and lunches at the weekend (ingredients for a homemade soup and a quick pasta dish).
Some people like going to an actual supermarket, but most of the time we prefer to shop online. We save both time and petrol, and it stops us impulse buying cheap t-shirts and dvds! A great tip is to use mySupermarket when shopping online as it will tell you how much your trolley will cost at the leading supermarkets plus suggest where you can make savings. This time, our trolley (not including wine!!) was cheapest at Sainsbury’s (£65.16) – a whole £20 less than at Ocado!
Despite having used supermarkets up to now, our final tip is to not forget your local shops. Our butcher only sells free-range/organic meat from known sources, and he’s actually cheaper than the supermarkets for meat of a similar quality. So we bought our 5kg chicken from him for £8.
All in all, our total food shop for the week cost just £73.16 – that’s 5% cheaper than the average UK food shop, despite us having used organic and free-range meat, milk and eggs. Not bad!
Why not see if you can reduce your food bill but keep the quality high?
Alison is a busy mum of 2 children and runs Menus4Mums, a family meal planning service which helps parents serve up tasty food for their families and save time and money too. She can be contacted via www.menus4mums.co.uk.
If you need any meal planning tips, just give us a visit at www.menus4mums.co.uk.