Across the UK, individuals and families are struggling with the rising cost-of-living.
With so many struggling to afford to put food on the table, along with rising energy costs, at The Salvation Army we’re seeing first-hand how people are struggling now more than ever. Our tips below are designed to guide you on how you can shop and cook smart by saving money when shopping and energy when cooking.
1. Shop in bulk
Where possible, think about bulk buying your food, and cook in batches. By doing this you can keep track and know exactly what you are spending on your food shops.
2. Use less meat and add more veggies
You will notice how meat is the most expensive part of the weekly shop, why not switch to a veggie meal once or twice a week? Using pulses, such as beans and lentils, is usually cheaper than meat but still provides you with the protein you need. You’ll also find yourself feeling fuller for longer!
3. The freezer is your friend
If your produce is nearing its use-by date and you aren’t going to get a chance to eat it in time you can just freeze it. Did you know you can freeze bread, fruit, and vegetables to save waste.
4. Review prices online
If you’re able to get to different supermarkets with ease, then we would recommend shopping around to find the best price for your staple items. You can do this online before you head out and make a list of what to buy where
5. Plan your meals
Write up a meal plan for the week as this means you’ll be more likely to just shop what’s on your shopping list. It will also prevent you from going to the shops during the week and spending money unnecessarily.
6. Set a budget
Setting a budget for your shop means you’ll be less likely to exceed the budgeted amount. We would also recommend not doing your weekly shop on an empty stomach as it often means you’ll end up buying more food than you need and picking up snacks you might have otherwise avoided.
7. Store your herbs and vegetables correctly
If you cook with herbs, you can extend their life by simply putting them in a glass of water in the fridge. You can also do this for vegetables such as carrots and broccoli – rather than going limp and dry they remain fresh and crisp, making them usable for a longer period of time.
8. Make the most of the oven
If you’re turning your oven on to cook a meal, pull together some other items out of your freezer to make lunches or the following night’s dinner as this will save electricity/gas costs.
9. Don’t throw away fruit and vegetables that have gone soft
For fruit and vegetables that are going off and aren’t quite as crisp and crunchy as you’d like, don’t throw them away and instead add them to smoothies. Overripe bananas make wonderfully sweet banana bread or quick and easy ice cream.
10. Cook your carbs while steaming your vegetables
If you have a stovetop steamer, be sure to cook your pasta, rice or potatoes in the pan underneath the vegetables as they steam. This will save washing up extra saucepans alongside saving on your electricity/gas bill.