Feeding the family doesn’t have to be expensive or mean eating unhealthily. It can also be quick with the help of a microwave oven! I’ve previously written about some of the ways I like to save money when I’m in the supermarket. However, this time I’m focusing my money saving tips on feeding the family cheaply.
1. Batch cooking
Cooking in batch can be a fantastic way to save both time and money! If you deliberately make more than your family will need to eat in one meal, you can pop the rest in a container in the freezer. Simply pop in the microwave oven to heat up the rest and you have a nutritious meal ready to serve in minutes. If you’re that way inclined, get together with your partner or a friend and have a batch cooking session with some music and a glass of wine or two. Oh, okay then, a bottle if you so wish!
2. Leftovers for lunch
If I don’t have enough left over to freeze for another meal, I like to try to use the leftovers for lunch. Popping some salad in a box with some leftover pizza, or making a picnic lunch with leftover salad works out much cheaper than my husband buying a sandwich or going to Burger King. Likewise, children get bored eating the same thing in their packed lunches every day. Leftovers for lunch keeps things more interesting and means that less goes to waste.
3. Go veggie
I actually used to be a vegetarian and often still eat vegetarian meals. My husband used to turn his nose up at meat free meals, but when I made him realise how much money they save, he decided to give them a go. He now eats and enjoys a lot of veggie meals. They don’t have to be boring and can be packed with flavour! Even if you only take part in Meat Free Monday it’ll make a difference. Use Quorn, tofu, lentils and/or pulses in place of meat and use lots of herbs and spices. It’s a lot cheaper than buying meat!
4. Buy frozen
If going veggie isn’t your thing, or you still need your fix of meat, try buying it frozen. Buying big packets of frozen meat often is a lot more purse-friendly than buying small packets of meat each time. They last ages too! While you’re in the frozen section, look for peas which are cheap but make a great accompaniment or addition to so many meals.
5. Look locally
I actually physically shook my head the other day when I saw blackberries in the supermarket. One of my most favourite things about this time of year is blackberry picking. As they’re in season, I’ve been going on quite a few walks in the countryside. I wash them as soon as I get home and give them to my daughter – you can’t get much fresher than that! Of course, it’s free too. Rather than buying a dessert from the shop, you could make a berry crumble. As well as picking fruit yourself, try going to a local greengrocers. A shop near me sells fruit for much cheaper than the supermarket and you can pick the quantities of what you want too, rather than to waste money and produce having a set amount in a packet.
6. Plan your meals
This is something I’m guilty of not doing it recently! It works out much cheaper if you plan your meals, making a timetable of what you’re eating for each meal of the day. I had a three week rota a couple of years ago which worked marvellously and saved us a lot of money. In one supermarket, there is an offer where you can buy portioned packets of vegetables which can be cooked quickly in the microwave oven. I often use this to my advantage.
7. Clean your cupboard
Have a look at what you have lurking in your cupboard – you may just be surprised! You could save money by getting a whole few meals or partial meals just out of things that have been completely forgotten about.
8. Don’t buy baby food
If you have a baby or toddler, cut down on or don’t buy jars of baby food or foods that are labelled as baby food. In most cases, they can eat exactly what you’re eating for dinner. Jars of baby food are expensive and sometimes have fruits as main ingredients to bulk them out cheaply, meaning your child could be missing out on certain nutrients. As well as this, some foods marked as being for babies are actually higher in salt or sugar than normal versions. Therefore, not only are they bad for your bank balance, they’re bad for your baby too! You can batch cook for babies too. Just remember to take care if you’re heating food in the microwave oven for a baby, as the temperature throughout can be uneven.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Panasonic for which I will receive compensation. As always, all views and opinions are honest and my own.