You can’t have failed to have heard about the £10 billion-worth of food that we throw away each year. All the news programmes mentioned it last week and the rumbles are still going on.
It was part of the Lovefoodhatewaste.com campaign to get us to use the food we buy instead of throwing it out – often unopened and sometimes still within its date!
I’ve always been an advocate of using up food. In my opinion, unless it’s actually walking out of the fridge on its own legs then it’s fit to be eaten (hey, wanna come round my house for dinner some time?!). So I was pleased to be asked by the site to give them some food-related money-saving tips.
Actually, they didn’t use all the ones I sent over. Here they are:
- Use up everything in your cupboards once a year- only buy perishables to go with what is already there (all those pulses, pasta shapes, jars of sauces, tins of things that have been there for years). That will cut down the shopping bill significantly for a month – waste not want not.
- Shop at markets rather than supermarkets – you save about 30% on your spending. If you time it right (towards the end of the day) you can get entire boxes of fruit and veg for a £1 or so.
- Shop online if possible. It stops you being tempted by ‘offers’ the supermarkets put in your way to make you buy. It could also be cheaper to pay the delivery charge (particularly if you choose a less popular time) than the travel costs for you. Also, the sites keep your last shopping list so that you can just re-order what you need.
- Invest in a bag of Klippits (£4.50 for a bumper pack at Lakeland.co.uk). They keep anything fresh – half-eaten bags of crisps, opened cereal packets etc. Marvellous things – really save on food bills.
- Plan meals for the week – that way you can plan ahead, buy only what you need and save a lot of money.
- Cook in bulk at the weekend and freeze into individual (or family-size) portions. This cuts down on waste nicely and stops you buying pre-prepared or takeaway meals.
- Have a quick check in the fridge each day and plan meals around what needs using up first.
- Those leftovers from last night’s dinner can make a great lunchbox to take to work, refreshed with salad, & save you money over lunch.
- Date labels don’t have to be difficult – check for “Use by” dates and see if the product can be frozen if you can’t eat it in time.
- Before you hit the supermarket try to make a list.
- Don’t be tempted by ‘buy one get one free’ offers unless it’s something you would eat anyway and can freeze.
- We waste a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables and salad – keep them in the fridge and they can last up to two weeks longer.
- Many ready meals and meat/fish foods can be frozen – when choosing them in the store check the label first.
- Meals made from leftovers can be delicious and save you both time and money.
The Lovefoodhatewaste site has some really good recipes for leftovers, as does our Food and Family blogger, Sarah Lockett. We’ve also got a lot of tips on making the most of free food, saving money by having food delivered, eating green, keeping chickens and eating well on a budget. We will be updating these and other food and drink articles so keep checking the site for more tips. After all, food is not going to go down in price any time soon – if at all. Every penny counts.