Struggling to afford the rising food prices? Here are 10 top ways to guarantee cheap family meals without the hassle so you can feed your family for less.
1. Plan ahead
Planning ahead will give you cheap family meals in no time. Try to plan each week’s meals in advance – then you can build your shopping list around your plan.
That way, you can work out which ingredients you’ll have left over at the end of each day, and incorporate them into recipes later on in the week to save money.
Never have the time to plan your meals? No problem! We do the hard work for you with our family meal planner.
- Read our weekly family meal planner for quick, cheap family meals. It gives you five tasty, great value recipes each week – along with a handy downloadable shopping list.
2. Be smart with leftovers
According to Love Food Hate Waste, the average UK family throws away over £50 of perfectly edible food each month.
But even the oldest and oddest of leftover ingredients can be put to good use – so don’t chuck them in the bin! For example, veg that’s past its fresh best is still delicious when used in a cheap recipe like a Spanish omelette.
- Read 10 ways to save money by being smart with leftovers
- Have a look at our eBook for 20 great lunchbox ideas from leftovers. It’s jam packed with delicious recipes that will make your life both easier and cheaper.
3. Cook in batches
There are plenty of cheap family meals you can make in bulk, which can save you serious amounts of time and money. The freezer is your friend!
For example making sauces from scratch is a great one. If you’re making a sauce you’ll use again (for example, a standard red wine or pasta sauce) make a large batch and freeze what you don’t need in jars or ice cube trays.
That way, you can retrieve portions to cook with whenever you need them. Fresh chopped herbs can be stored in the same way.
It doesn’t have to stop there. Making your own baby food could save you a heap of cash. In fact, if you make all your baby’s meals yourself, you could save an average of £31 a month.
4. Use vouchers and offers
Look 0ut for the real offers and bargains like yellow-stickered reduced stock in supermarkets (get them cheap and pop them in your freezer or use that day).
It’s also good to keep an eye on voucher codes for shopping online – great for first time grocery orders!
- Use online money off coupons
- Take advantage of loyalty points
- Earn cashback at the supermarket.
- Most importantly, don’t forget your shopping list!
5. Be seasonally savvy
By checking what’s in season you’ll spend less on expensive imported fruit,veg and meat. Get to know what tastes best and when with a month by month seasonal food chart. Our meal plans are also put together seasonally so you’ll find recipes to suit your budget and tastebuds.
6. Grow your own with the kids
Grow-your-own fruit and veg is a healthy, affordable source of fresh ingredients.
Growing your own fruit and vegetables as a family will also help your kids understand the food journey from ground to plate, particularly if you can get them involved in the kitchen preparation stage as well.
7. Beat the supermarket
Get wise to the sneaky tricks supermarkets play on customers – from extra-large shopping trolleys to putting the fresher produce at the back, there is plenty of ploys to squeeze as much money out of you as possible.
Remember multi-buy deals might not always be the best value for money, and swapping your higher branded items for value versions (or shopping at budget supermarkets like Aldi or Lidl) may well save you big bucks.
- Read our sneaky supermarket secrets so you don’t get caught out.
8. Try cheaper cuts of meat
You don’t have to spend a fortune on meat – go for cheaper cuts, cook them right and you can still have delicious, nutritious meals. It will save you money and a slow cooker can take the hassle out of cooking from scratch – you just bung everything in and let it simmer away.
- Read cheap cuts: how to make the most of your meat to find out more.
9. Compare prices online
An independent comparison website like Mysupermarket.com is a useful tool that allows you to look at product prices across all four major supermarket chains, making sure you get the most for your money.
- Use our best buys pricechecker for an at-a-glance look at your essentials at the cheapest prices
10. Swap your food
Food swapping groups are popping up across the UK, with interest growing in the last few months. It is all part of an initiative to help save money, reduce waste and bring communities together. Sample some homemade delights, put in your desired swap offer and then the trading and swapping takes place. Check out the Food Swap Network to find out how your family can get involved.