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Family meals on a budget: 5 tips for saving money on food

Feeding a family can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need is a few tips to help you keep the costs down while still producing tasty and nutritious meals for the whole family. Here are our top five nuggets of advice for saving money on food.

1. Compare prices

If your car insurance renewal comes through a little bit higher, you’re probably happy to spend time on comparison sites to find the best deal. Or if you are booking a holiday, it is likely you shop around to find the best price for what you want. So why not do the same with your food shopping?

Supermarket loyalty and convenience often factor into how and where we shop, but if you are serious about cutting costs, then look for price comparison apps or websites to help you, like COMPARASAURUS or mysupermarket.co.uk. These apps compare prices across the main supermarkets in the UK and let you know which has the cheapest price for what you are looking for.

2. Shop own brand

Do your baked beans need to be Heinz or can they be a supermarket own brand? Most supermarkets have an own-brand version of staples and these are often priced lower than well-known brands. Making the switch to own-brand can save you a few pennies on each item, which over time can make a significant saving. However, it is always worth looking to see if branded favourites are on offer, as sometimes this makes them even cheaper than own-brand alternatives.

3. Shop seasonally

Yes, modern life means that you can buy a butternut squash all year round, but it could cost you. The further afield fruit and vegetables come from, the more expensive they are likely to be. Or if produce that is out of season is grown in the UK, but in huge polytunnels or greenhouses at great expense, the cost is likely to be passed down to you. 

If you can shop more seasonally, you may see an improvement in your food bill. Shopping seasonally also helps the environment, as you can make the most of local produce and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. 

4. Batch cook

A great way to make sure the family is fed on a budget is to batch cook your meals. Firstly, you can buy in bulk, which often works out cheaper. By combining all the ingredients to create one big batch, you can make what you have go that little bit further. You can split a large batch into smaller meals which can then be placed in your freezer until needed. Secondly, it means that you have something in reserve for that evening when you don’t have a meal planned or when the meal you have planned won’t work out. Rather than going out and spending more money on food, you can reach into your freezer and thank ‘past you’ for being so smart. 

5. Stock up the store cupboard

Having a well-stocked store cupboard can help you in the long run. If you can, buy a multi-pack of tinned tomatoes that can be stretched over a combination of meals. Similarly, buying a larger bag of pasta will keep you going for longer and work out cheaper overall.

The best way to utilise your store cupboard is to check what you already have available and base your meal planning around that. Or, look to use what you have to substitute where you can. If a recipe calls for tinned plum tomatoes and there are tinned chopped tomatoes in your store cupboard, why not use what you already have to hand?

Ready, steady, shop!

All these little changes can help to bring down your food bill overall. However, if you are looking for more inspiration check out our top tips for planning budget meals for large families.

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