Learning to cook healthy meals from scratch is an amazing life skill to possess.  Being able to cook good food gives you independence from processed ready meals and fast food. Eating food you have cooked yourself can save you money. 

Tips for eating on a budget:

  • Write a shopping list Plan your meals and buy the exact ingredients you need.
  • Don’t throw anything away. Plan all the ingredients (including fresh herbs) so they get used. You can freeze surplus food and herbs.
  • Eat your leftovers.
  • Buy frozen fruit and vegetables. Frozen fruit and vegetables are massively underrated. They come pre-chopped and are just as good for you as non-frozen food.
  • Trade down a brand. Switch to basic brands – buy unbranded vegetables sold by weight.
  • Go veggie. Even if you don’t see yourself as a vegetarian, cutting down on meat and fish a couple of days a week is a great way to save money.
  • Eat pulses. Pulses, beans, lentils and peas are cheap, healthy and packed with protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • Freeze leftover bread. Bread is the most wasted household food. You can freeze and use it for toast or make breadcrumbs which you can bag and freeze.
  • Know what’s in your cupboards. Get to know the ingredient already in your cupboards. You might be able to cook a meal with what you already have.
  • Buy cheaper cuts of meat. If you want to eat meat, buy budget cuts.
  • Work to a recipe. Consider the price of ingredients when making your recipes. Build a collection of cheaper ingredients that you enjoy eating.
  • Learn portion control. Use smaller plates, or add smaller portions to the plate and learn to say no to a second helping. Save any leftovers for lunch.
  • Buy whole chickens. Some of the best-value meat in the supermarket is a whole chicken, which you can easily cut up into small portions.
  • Packaged fruit and vegetables against loose veg. You can save a lot of money by buying loose vegetables.
  • Beware of BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) offers. It’s not cheaper if you weren’t planning on getting it in the first place. Check the sell-by dates and make sure you are planning to use the second free item.
  • Cook for your toddler. Blend or chop up their portion to suit their age and freeze  child-sized portions for later. Get your child used to eating the same healthy food that you eat.
  • Shop during ‘happy hour’. Most supermarkets discount fresh items towards the end of the day. Each supermarket cuts prices at a different time (ask the store assistant when they cut prices). As a general rule: shopping very late (or very early) is the best way to save money at the supermarket

The best money saving tip of all……..

Learn to cook from scratch!

Avoiding takeaways and processed ready cook meals which are often packed with salt and sugar – can save you a fortune

Beans and pulses in your diet: –

Pulses include beans, lentils and peas. They’re a cheap, low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and count towards your recommended 5 daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

A pulse is an edible seed that grows in a pod. Pulses include all beans, peas and lentils, such as:

  • baked beans
  • red, green, yellow and brown lentils
  • chickpeas 
  • garden peas
  • black-eyed peas
  • runner beans
  • broad beans 
  • kidney beans, butter beans, haricots, cannellini beans, flageolet beans, pinto beans and borlotti beans

Why eat pulses?

Pulses are a great source of protein. This means they can be particularly important for people who don’t get protein by eating meat, fish or dairy products.

But pulses can also be a healthy choice for meat-eaters. You can add pulses to soups, casseroles and meat sauces to add extra texture and flavour.

This means you can use less meat, which makes the dish lower in fat and cheaper.

Pulses are a good source of iron.

Don’t let flatulence put you off pulses:

  • Baked beans are renowned for their effect on the bowels. This is because beans contain indigestible carbohydrates.
  • Soaking and rinsing beans before cooking, as well as rinsing canned beans in water, can help to reduce these hard to digest carbohydrates.

Don’t let a bit of wind put you off eating pulses. People react differently to certain foods and may find that symptoms subside, especially if you increase your intake gradually.