So many of us spend vast amounts of money each month on our food shopping. For a large number of parents and families this sort of money is a real problem. Food is one of the biggest household expenses and it is, as you would expect, a never ending bill. However, when you start looking at what you buy and what you create at home you may be surprised how much you could save and actually eat better as a result.
This is not about faddy diets, silly self-sufficiency drives or cooking that’s impossible in a busy household, it is about avoiding costly short cuts that are not that short and changing some simple diet choices that save money and make you and your family healthier.
Jars are not the stars
It is no secret that jars of pasta sauce are absolutely crammed with sugar and fat, it is also no secret that they are not cheap, but yet millions of people buy them every week. It is not just pasta sauce either; there are jars for casseroles, creamy chicken dishes, curries, Chinese food and more, all of which are costly in terms of health and in terms of your wallet. For most people around 70% of the jars brought into a house are pretty easy to recreate in the home from scratch and may only take around 10 minutes longer.
An example would be the humble bolognaise. The fact that anyone would ever pay money for a jar of sauce for any tomato based pasta dish is madness. A tin of tomatoes costs around 15p if you buy the economy brand, which also often happens to have far less salt in than luxury brands. A tube of tomato puree is around 50p, again if you buy the economy brand, then all you need is a pinch of sugar and onion, some garlic, some dried herbs and maybe a pinch of fresh basil. These ingredients and about 20 minutes will give you a simple and far healthier sauce for use in all sorts of pasta dishes and it will be considerably cheaper than a jar.
Meat Is Expensive
Everyone knows buying meat for every meal of the week costs a small fortune but many people are simply unable to work out what else to eat. Most big supermarkets now offer their own meat free ranges in the freezer sections. Things like sausages or Kiev style bakes are perfectly nice and are not filled with awful processed meat. You can’t fake a steak but it is really not hard to fake acid recovered meat, in fact if they thought about it most people would rather eat a soya sausage than one filled with unknown waste parts of various animals. A pack of 6 veggie option sausages could be as little as £1.50, veggie mince is at least half the price of meat as are chicken style chunks. All of these things are perfect for mid week quick dinners and are far better for you and your family. Save the expensive meat for a treat and save some money at the same time.
Spend Less Dough
Buying a pre mixed packet of Pizza dough mix costs about 60p, it take about 5 minutes to make a fresh pizza base and only needs water added. Our friend tomato puree and some fresh peppers and tomatoes with a ball of mozzarella is all you need to make 2 good sized pizzas for a family to share. Total cost could be as low as £1.50 and the amount of fat, sugar and salt could be cut by anything up to 80%. It is so simple, kids love making them, and compared to buying fresh pizzas could save around £6 in one meal.
But just using these 3 ideas you could save anything up to £20 per week on your shopping, that’s £80 in a month by just making your own pasta sauce, cutting out meat twice a week and making your own pizza instead of buying £4 fresh supermarket pizzas.
Once you start down this path you might add one or two ideas to your list, avoiding tins of soup and making your own is a great winter way to use up old veg or even reduced veg bought from the supermarket.
By changing perhaps 5 meals out of 7 you could change your financial situation over a year and spend the money on a utility bill instead. At the same time as saving money you are removing a considerable amount of sugar, fat and salt from your diet too which can only be a good thing.
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