Budgeting is boring but with the kids going back to school being broke is par for the course and it’s time to cut your cloth.
Feeding your family for less takes work but if you plan ahead, cook from scratch and use your freezer managing to feed a family of four for €50 a week is achievable.
Here are a few practical tips on how to reduce your food bill.
1. Calculate your budget and stick to it
Set aside a budget for each element of your meals for the week. Typically meat and fish is the most expensive item on your list. Reduce your intake or bulk up your meat and fish dishes with veg. Another option would be to opt for cheaper protein sources such as lentils in order to cut your meat budget.
2. Cook from scratch
Sounds like hard work but it’s so rewarding when you can produce a meal you made yourself and it’s far cheaper than buying ready meals. Avoid buying jars and opt for a can of tomatoes with dry herbs as a tasty pasta sauce. A can of good quality non-branded plum tomatoes will set you back under 50 cent, whole grain pasta should cost no more than a euro. Avoid buying branded produce and see your food bill slashed.
You can use up pretty add any veg to add to your sauce, chop up mushrooms, courgettes or veg you can find on special.
Bob’s your uncle you and your family meal for less than 3 euro.
3. Use a paper and pen for a shopping list
To avoid impulse buying take a list of what’s in your store cupboards and if you’re really organised set up a spreadsheet so you can tick off what you need. Write down what you require before you leave for the shops and only buy the bargains if they are close to what’s on your list. Stick to your list!!!
4. Invest in containers and a sharp pen to label
Using containers keeps your perishable foods fresher for longer in your fridge. Remove veg from plastic and keep them in labelled containers.
5. Stock up those cupboards
You can never have enough cans of tomatoes, they are cheap as chips and you can whip up a soup or a pasta for under a euro.
Non branded chickpeas will typically cost far less than branded ones. Full of protein a can of these bad boys will cost less than 50 cent.
Dried herbs, brown rice and wholegrain pasta are must haves in the your cupboard and it means you’ll always have the makings of a cheap meal.
6. Batch cook and use your freezer
It’s really tempting to eat processed junk food if you haven’t stocked your freezer with nutritious fare.
Spend some time at the weekend cooking up lasagnes, spag bol or shepherds pie which freeze easily. Mince meat is a cheap option and you can bulk up your batch cooking with vegetables.
A whole chicken can be bought for less than a fiver and there’s ample left over to make a curry or quesadillas so you’ll get three midweek meals for under a tenner. Making stock from the bones too is a great way to use the whole bird! Frozen veg are full of nutrients as they are freshly frozen and the humble pea is extremely underrated.
Grocery List for 7 days of meals:
- 1kg of uncooked brown/basmati rice – €1.29
- 1kg of 100% ground beef (80% lean/20% fat) – €4.00
- 1.5kg of raw chicken breast – €13.00
- 3 dozen large grade A eggs – €5.70
- 2l of Almond Milk – €2.00
- 1.8kg fresh bananas – €2.50
- 2kg uncooked white potatoes – €1.98
- 4 bags of frozen vegetables (e.g. peas, sweet corn, broccoli and carrots) – €5.23
- 500g of Spinach – €2.20
- 7 60g snack packs of cashew nuts – €8.75
- 1kg oats – €0.93
- 3 pack of peppers €1.29
- 3 pack red onion €0.99
Total Cost – €49.86