Is it me, or are food costs creeping up? Some weeks I bring my shopping in on budget and other weeks it’s £10, £20 more. So I am always implementing little money savers to ensure that we eat like kings even when we spend like mere mortals.
I asked some other bloggers and readers for tips as well and it makes for a long read, so I am splitting it out over two posts as it is well worth including them all.
Spice Drops for flavoured syrups
Do you like your latte vanilla, your chocolate peppermint or your cappuccino cinnamon? If you do, you’ll know how much it costs to buy those syrups and how much sugar are in them. I discovered Spice Drops last year, and one of the many uses in my kitchen is in my hot chocolate. One tiny drop of peppermint or cinnamon turns my bog standard supermarket hot chocolate in to an indulgent little treat. They are pure spice so no added nasties and a bottle lasts an age so they are very good value.
See my chai cocoa recipe here.
Barley or orzo for risotto rice
Rarely does a week go by when risotto doesn’t feature in my meal planning. Risotto rice is the greatest but costly if you have a serious habit, so I’ve got two great alternatives which I can rotate with the rice. Orzo is rice-shaped pasta and while more expensive than bog standard pasta it is still way cheaper than risotto rice. And barley is even cheaper. Both give dishes a different finish than rice, and you have to adjust your cooking times, but they are just as good. Need convincing? Make Ottolenghi’s tomato barley risotto with marinated feta. Divine!
Click here for my orzo carbonara.
Miss Pond swears by it, Emma at The Cheshire Wife plans everything down to snacks in order to save, and Val from Rambling Through Parenthood is very strict. Only go off list to buy offers if you can freeze them- otherwise it becomes costly waste. Critically, Katie who writes Life on Vista Street says that unless your meal planning is interesting and realistic, you won’t stick to it. So no mid-week three course dinner parties unless you want a melt down!
Also check out the Meal Planning Monday linky for inspired weekly menu plans. Share your own and be shamed into keeping to it!
Ditch the kitchen roll
We had a serious kitchen roll habit, which is costly to the pocket and the environment. I’ve bought a couple of packets of dishcloths so I have a clean one each morning, and now I buy kitchen roll less than once a month rather than every other week.
Love your slow cooker
There’s a lot of love for the slow cooker because you can buy cheap cuts of meat and turn them into delicious stews etc. Latoya from Eltie points out that they can be picked up for as little as £10 and thinks they are a life saver if you have a family. Chrissie from Manchester Flick Chick adds dumplings half way through the cooking – great idea, I’m on to this!
Check out my slow cooker recipes here.
Keep your nuts whole
I buy a lot of nuts for baking and it is always tempting to go for the bags which are pre crushed or sliced. If you look closely at the prices, gram for gram they are astronomical compared to the whole versions. Nuts aren’t cheap to start so save some cash and crush your own.
My Dad loves a supermarket whoopsie so I’m thrilled that others suggest it too! Alex at Champagne and Lemonade and HodgePodge Day’s Jane are both advocates. I got a duck breast for 75p this week- a delicious treat!
Maybe not an obvious money saver, but Magpie Jasmine swears it stops her from shelf browsing!
Sub in yoghurt
Chobani Greek-style yoghurt launched with fanfair in the UK a couple of years ago. They’ve since decided to stop selling here until they can make it nearer to home which is far enough. But at a launch event I learned some tips on using their (or any other Greek) yoghurt in place of other ingredients. So for every 20g of butter in a recipe replace with 10g of butter and 5g of Greek yoghurt. It really does work!
Many of my brownie recipes have Greek yoghurt in them – get stuck in!
So there it is, part one. Even I’ve picked up some tips from the other bloggers who’ve contributed. Hopefully I can help you save some money in the kitchen so you can spend it on the good stuff in life…like more stuff for the kitchen!
If you’ve any tips of your own, please do share them in the comments.
Part two coming in a couple of days.
Happy cooking xx Claire xx