Make sure you’re using your kitchen and bathroom to their full potential with MoneyMagpie’s guide!
- Save money on food
- Supermarket shopping tricks
- Save money in your kitchen and bathroom
- Make money from your kitchen
Learn how to cut down on your food shopping bills with these top tips.
Buy in bulk
Think big and save a packet. It’s generally cheaper to buy ingredients in bulk: A big pack of mince will normally be cheaper per kilo than a small packet. You could save loads by cooking in batches and making the most of these bulk buys.
You might have to spend more in a single shop, but if you cook up a large batch of bolognese, casserole or curry and freeze it in individual portions, you’ll have enough meals to last you for weeks.
Bulk buying can also save you loads on other items, especially if you become a member of a wholesalers like Costco.
They offer both trade and non-trade memberships (subject to some criteria) for a small annual fee. Members can take advantage of great discounts on things like washing powder, toilet rolls and electrical appliances, as well as food and drink.
Everything comes supersize, so it’s helpful to have somewhere to store your giant vat of washing powder or tomato ketchup, which you can then transfer into a more manageable sized container. Look for your nearest store on the Costco website.
Make sure you get the best prices on your supermarket shop, by comparing prices at MySupermarket.
It’s a website that compares the prices of your weekly shop at the four big supermarkets. Once you’ve chosen everything you want, you can opt to do the whole thing at a different supermarket for less.
Or, if you really want to stick with your favourite grocer, it suggests products you can substitute to make your shop cheaper. Great!
Ditch bottled water
We are lucky enough to have safe drinking water in this country, so make the most of it and don’t buy the over-priced bottled stuff.
Don’t waste money on lunches. Buying lunch at work can set you back in excess of a fiver a day, which works out at over £1000 in the course of a year.
Make your own and put the cash in your savings account instead. This doesn’t have to mean boring cheese sandwiches everyday, look at our Lunch Time Savings feature for some innovative lunch ideas.
Grow your own
Even if you don’t have a garden, it’s possible to grow your own herbs and vegetables on your kitchen window sill. VegetableExpert also has some great tips on indoor gardening.
1. Buy own brand
Don’t be fooled by the fancy packaging; branded products are normally much more expensive than own brands and taste virtually the same.
2. Don’t buy ready meals or pre-prepared food
It may seem like the easy option, but ready meals are always a lot more expensive than making a meal from scratch.
More often than not, they also contain hidden nasties like additives and preservatives. Make bulk batches like we suggest above and then simply re-heat them. Having no time to cook is not an excuse!
Learn when your supermarket reduces items that are about to go out of date. For some, this can by after 8.00pm, for others it may be midday. Freeze or use whatever you buy straight away and save yourself a fortune.
For loads more top tips on how to beat the supermarkets at their own game, see our article – Sneaky Supermarket Tricks you Need to Know.
Try to throw away as little as possible. According to the Waste and Resources Action Program(WRAP), the population of England and Wales throw away approximately 3.6m tonnes of food each year.
Some 60% of this is completely untouched, which works out as a massive £9bn worth of unnecessarily wasted food!
This not only has a huge impact on the environment, but also on your pocket. Learn how to eliminate the amount of food you waste below.
Empty your cupboards
Save on your supermarket shop by using up the ingredients you already have. Try having a ‘use it up week’ every few months. All you need to do is look in your cupboards, fridge and freezer and try to plan your meals around what you find.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to do with a specific ingredient. There are some great websites where you can enter the product that needs eating up, and this is then used to generate recipes. Try Love Food Hate Waste to get started.
You may still need to purchase staples like milk and eggs, but can save a fortune on the rest of your shop. An average family’s weekly food bill is about £100 a week, which works out as a considerable saving!
Measure portion sizes
Are you the type of person who always cooks enough rice or pasta to feed a small army? Eliminate this wasteful problem by measuring out correct portion sizes using simple kitchen scales.
Love Food Hate Waste offer a great perfect portion size facility, which allows you to enter what you’re cooking and for how many people (with an option for both adults and children). They then work out how much you will need.
Plan your weekly menu
Get organised and avoid wasting money and food. It’s all too easy to aimlessly meander around the supermarket picking up anything you fancy, which often results in uneaten food that has to be thrown away.
Instead, plan your weekly menu before you shop and focus your list around what you will need to make those specific dishes. This way, you won’t be left at the end of the week with plenty of food, but no way to make a meal out of it.
To save more money, make sure you cook a vegetarian dish at least once a week. Meat is pricey, and you’d be amazed at what you can cook up without it.
The days of the boring nut roast are long gone – head to The Vegetarian Society for heaps of recipe ideas.
Look at supermarket offers
Make the most of offers, but only on things that you actually need. If something you buy regularly is buy one get one free then take advantage of it and make sure you stock up.
However, think twice if you’re only buying something because it’s on offer. If it’s something that you’d never normally buy, you’re not actually saving anything at all!
Also be careful with offers on perishables. ‘Three for two’ watermelons may seem like a great deal, but not if there’s no way you will manage to eat them all before they go off.
Wasting energy is the equivalent of throwing your money down the the drain. And saving energy doesn’t need to be hard work. Here are some really easy ways to eco-proof your kitchen and bathroom.
Buy a Gas Energy Saver
Most gas hobs are very inefficient, which results in wasted energy and lost heat. This fantastic product consists of a special catalytic alloy disc that fits neatly over your hob and heats to over 100°C, converting all of the unburnt gas into heat and energy.
This means that you not only need to use less gas (up to a 12% reduction), but are also able heat your food in record time – not bad for less than £10.
Fill your freezer
Empty freezers are inefficient. They work best when they are frost-free and fully stocked, so try to make sure yours has as fewer gaps as possible.
Freezing is a great way to store leftovers and to keep food fresh for longer. If you can’t fill it all with food, then fill ice cube trays and put them in any spaces. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also always have ice for your favourite tipple.
If you never fill your freezer, it may be worth investing in a smaller one. This will save you money on energy bills in the long run.
By selling your old freezer, you could also earn money to put towards a new one. A great way to do this is on eBay, or through an advert on Gumtree or in your local paper. Shop for great deals on freezers at Argos.
Another great tip is to cut up lemons and limes and put them in the freezer. This saves wasting a whole lemon when you only want one slice for your gin and tonic. It also works as a handy way of cooling your drink without diluting it.
Put a lid on it
Never boil water on the hob unless it’s in a pan with a lid. This prevents unnecessary heat escaping and so allows the water to boil faster, saving you both time and energy. If you’re using the kettle, only ever boil as much water as you will need. This reduces the amount of energy used considerably.
Run full washing machines and dishwashers
Only run washing machines and dishwashers when they are full. This doesn’t mean however that you should make them so jam-packed that they don’t clean properly!
These appliances use the same amount of water and energy regardless of whether they’re full or not, so it makes sense to always fill them up whenever possible.
Avoid using your tumble dryer
Tumble dryers are the most power-hungry of all household appliances, using twice as much energy as a washing machine. It therefore makes sense to only use one if you really have to.
In the summer (weather permitting of course) dry your clothes outside if you have the facility to. In the winter months use an airer or hang clothes on the radiator.
If you can’t do away with the tumble dryer completely, then make sure you have an energy efficient one. Consult the Energy Saving Trust for their recommendations.
If your dryer isn’t due for an upgrade then make it as energy efficient as possible by cleaning the lint screen after every load and regularly checking that the exhaust isn’t clogged. You could also try spinning your clothes before drying them to remove excess water, helping them to dry quicker.
- Swapping a shower for a bath can save you as much as 400 litres of water a week.
- If you have a dripping tap, fix it as soon as you can – it could waste you 90 litres of water each week.
- Turn off the tap when you’re cleaning your teeth or shaving – leaving it on will waste nine litres of water every minute!
- Fit a water saving device in your toilet cistern and you’ll save as much as three litres for every flush. You can get one from the Ethical Superstore for just £2.24.
Following these tips should make a big dent in your water bill over the year!
For even more ideas – we’ve got 50 ways to save money and the planet.
Embrace old-style cleaning methods
You don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive cleaning products. It’s possible to make your own using simple household items.
White vinegar will unblock sink and bath plugholes, remove limescale and clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces. All you need to do is mix it with a bit of water and a few drops of essential oil to mask the smell.
Bicarbonate of soda works on descaling teacups, teapots and taps, gets rid of smells in your fridge and is a great microwave cleaner.
Just make a paste with a small amount of water for cleaning – or mix with water and leave to soak for de-scaling. Check out our cheap alternatives to conventional cleaners here.
Cook with the kids
Kids love getting their hands dirty, so rather than spending money on a trip out, spend the afternoon making yummy treats like fairy cakes or flapjack.
Buy bathroom products sensibly
Ladies (and gents!) – don’t spend money on loads of expensive beauty products. Invest instead in Aqueous cream; labelled the cream of the credit crunch.
You can a 500ml tub from Boots for just £4.09 and it can be used as moisturiser, cleanser, make-up remover, shaving cream and even shower gel.
Get a Boots Advantage Card
If you haven’t already got one, a Boots Advantage Card can save you a fortune on a whole range of essential toiletries.
Use your own beauty Products
Find out how to make your own beauty products – if you don’t want to sell them, just keep them for yourself!
Get bargain priced Health Products
Read our article to find out how you can save a fortune on everything from contact lenses to vitamins -and stock up your medicine cupboard for loads less!
There are loads of ways to make money from your home, especially in the kitchen, whatever your lifestyle. From things that require minimum effort through to starting up a whole new business, there’s sure to be a money-making venture that suits you.
Have a clear-out
Start small by having a clear-out. If your kitchen is full to bursting with gadgets that seemed revolutionary at the time but are now gathering dust on your worktop, sell them on a site like eBay and make some money.
If you find loads of items, you could even set up a stall at your local car boot sale. Find your nearest one at Car Boot Junction.
Homemade food is always popular at car boots and craft fairs. Cakes, jams, chutneys and sweets cost very little to make, so it’s easy to sell them for profit.
You could start simply by making a few cakes to put on your car boot stall or sell to your neighbours. If this is successful then why not set up a regular pitch at your local boot sale, farmer’s market or craft fair. For more tips and advice look at dedicated feature on making food for profit.
Make your own beauty products
Why stop at food? Designer beauty products can cost the earth, but now you can make your own by using our guide to homemade beauty treatments . Put your creations in pretty bottles and sell them to earn some extra cash.
Presentation is key when it comes to making a tidy profit. Shops charge a fortune for prettily packaged hampers, but it’s easy and inexpensive to make your own. You could fill them with your homemade treats, or source the contents from wholesalers and high street sales.
Baskets are cheap and can be decorated simply with ribbons and bows. You could then either give them to your friends and family as a personal gift, or sell them for profit. For more tips and advice look at our full article here.
Set up a catering business
If you fancy embarking upon a new career and have a flair in the kitchen, how about setting up your own catering business? Start small by offering to organise the food for a friend’s party. If this is successful then the sky’s the limit.
If you consider yourself a whizz in the kitchen, with the ability to turn your hand to all types of dishes, you could sign up with housebites and offer your food locally to customers in your area. You’ll need a Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate and to register with your local authority – but you can get help with this through the website.
Build up a good reputation and you could be earning big bucks catering for weddings, conferences and other functions. Learn more about how to cash in on catering here.