Credit Crunch Munch

Our friend Clare over at Veg Box recipes has a great post in her latest newsletter about saving money on food. You can visit her site here, or why not join her facebook community here. Here’s her top tips on food budgeting…How To Keep Your Food Costs Down
So we’re all talking about the “credit crunch”, paranoid about our fuel consumption and scared about our next gas bill. Add to that the fact that the price of food seems to be rising weekly and it’s easy to see why so many people are nearing panic mode.

So here are 5 top tips to help you cut your food bill:

1. Ditch the ready meals.

Yes, I know you’ve heard it a million times before, but pre-prepared food costs more than it would cost to make it yourself and, with the right recipes, it doesn’t even take that long. Here are some of our 20 minute recipe highlights:

20 minutes or less

2. Dump the junk.

I had to go to the supermarket this week and was behind a woman who needed 2 trolleys to carry her £190 of shopping. The checkout lady asked her if she was having a party. No, that was a normal weekly shop for her, her husband and 3 kids, she said. There were over 50 packets of crisps, alone, and there was almost no seasonal content to her trolley.

All the vegetables and fruit she bought were exotic, air freighted, expensive varieties. It takes time and re-educating taste buds, but she could halve her shopping bill by the end of the summer, if she wants.

3. Buy what’s in season.

What’s in season is cheaper than things that are imported and out of season. And it contains more nutrients, if it’s fresh and hasn’t been in storage. Our research shows that a typical family could save between £200 and £500 per year by swapping to eating seasonally. To find out more about how to make the shift to eating seasonally, you could check out the Seasonal Food Made Easy eCourse.

4. Eat less.

Sounds stupid, but Gandhi was right when he said (excuse my mis-quoting) “If you eat the right things, you can get by with surprisingly little food!” And it’s true. As a nation, we tend to be over-fed and under-nourished. We really don’t need to eat as much as most of us think. I was brought up to think I had to eat everything on my plate, because of the starving children in Ethiopia. Of course, I used to cheekily reply that my leftovers would go mouldy before they reached them… But the point is that if you use smaller plates and start with smaller portion sizes, you’ll find you don’t eat as much! And that leads on to point 5:

5. Throw less away.

A recent UK government report suggests that the average family throws away £10-15 of food per week. That’s over £500 per year. So by resisting the special offers and planning what you’re actually going to cook each week, you could save a fortune. What’s the easiest way to save money when shopping? Eat before you go out. A hungry stomach buys more food.

While we’re at it we came across this great post from the Urban Vegan (American blogger who gave the following tips (you don’t need to be a) Americam b) a vegan or c) urban to love his great blog):

1. Bake your own bread.
2. Freeze your assets.
3. Cook beans from scratch and freeze them in ziplock bags.
4. Consider the long-term financial implications of organic.
5. Make your own faux meats.
6. Pack your own lunch.
7. Don’t buy what you already have.
8. Remember: packaged foods are still cheaper than eating out.
9. Pass on plastic bottles of water.
10. Use cloth napkins.
11. Know how much stuff costs.
12. Stock up during sales
13. Buy seasonal produce.
14. Grow your own.
15. Make the time-consuming stuff.
16. Borrow your cookbooks from the library instead of buying them.
17. Ethnic grocery stores are your friends.
18. Never, ever throw food away.
19. Before you go grocery shopping–make a list. Set a budget. And stick to it.
20. Some appliances are investments, not extravagances.
21. You can can.
22. Give edible gifts.
23. Pay less for kitchen wares.
24. Put a lid on it.
25. Remember this old New England adage: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.”

  • Jane September 14, 2008 at 17:01

    My OH and sons could go thru that many crisps in a week easily – I just don’t buy em!

  • Crafty Green Poet August 20, 2008 at 15:11

    all good advice, thanks for sharing. i try to buy everything as locally as i can, and am very lucky currently to work at Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh which has a local produce stall, so a very high proportion of my food is now local. Tea and chocolate are my problems….

  • valereee August 6, 2008 at 18:51

    50 packets of crisps? For a family of five for a week? Are these individual-serving packets at least, I hope? Even so. Good god.