Thrifty tips for cheap family meals

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Jess Neale

Jess NealeFood glorious food… but wouldn’t it been even taster if it wasn’t so expensive? There are lots of ideas out there on how to save money on food from using cheap cuts of meat to being inventive with leftovers, so I’ve pulled together some top tips to get your creative juices flowing and inspire some cheap family meals.

1. Leftover chicken

Having a Sunday roast is one of my favourite things to indulge in at the weekend and it’s a great meal to utilise your leftovers.

One way I use up leftover chicken (and veg) is with a delicious curry the next day, or with a lunchtime chicken salad.  One of our fab MyFamilyClub twitter followers @goriami during our #thriftythursday party said for her cheap eat cheat: ‘a whole chicken normally works out cheaper than pieces and will stretch to three meals.’

2. Find the best deals

Getting savvy in the supermarket is a surefire way to eat for less. A great way to look out for bargains is with vouchers and deals, and here at MyFamilyClub we’ve done the hard work for you with our best buys table.

I always get frustrated at finding the prices of my essentials rise from one week to the next, and you have to be quick on your toes to catch the latest offer. So a quick glance at the table before my weekly shop lets me know how I can make my pounds stretch further.

3. Plan your meals in advance

The mighty shopping list is a force to be reckoned with; get it right and it could save you money and get you some fantastic cheap family meals. Wasting food is one of the biggest expenses and an average family will chuck away around £50 a month in food waste. So plan your meals in advance and use a portion planner and you’ll soon see a difference.

4. Get creative

Saving money in the kitchen requires sometimes thinking outside the box. It means making swaps that will make no difference to your tastebuds but all the difference to your bank balance. For example, our twitter follower @nipperthedog said during our Thrifty Thursday twitter party: ‘Me and the kids make pizza from normal sliced bread, tomato puree, cheese, onions, ham etc then bake for 10mins!’ A great tip that the kids will enjoy too.

Meat can also be expensive, so by knowing which cheaper cuts to go for you could enjoy a slow roast lamb shoulder that is just as tasty, for less than a pricey lamb leg.

5. Freeze

The freezer really is your friend, and often when I’ve made a big batch of spaghetti bolognas I whack it in a tupperwear container and save for later, when I don’t fancy cooking from scratch. Easy peasy… time-saving and money-saving in one!

Tweeters @SusanJSpence recommends ‘fish pie, using frozen fish steaks, much cheaper and quick to cook’ and @Corps_of_Oa said to’buy frozen veg, it lasts longer and it is (usually) just as fresh and is much cheaper.