I am trying to conquer our food bill again. I know I have written about this before but confess to still not having succeeded in majorly cutting our rather large food bill down.
Firstly I know with three people gluten-free and one pretty much dairy free. With me eating limited dairy too, our food bill is going to be bigger than average. A loaf of bread lasts just over a day for three people at the cheapest price of £2.00! Soya milk is £1.40 for 2 pints instead of £1 for 4 pints. Tolerated goats cheese is £2.10 for a tiny piece which again is a few day’s worth for two if you are lucky! So being a sensitive lot costs us a lot of extra. My husband often curses this as he can eat everything of course!
Lentils and more pulses have been hitting our menu more. Swapping out meat for them really cuts down the food bill. I really would like to make more of our freezer. But is a four draw freezer for a household of five and there never seems enough space for bulk cooking.
With my plans to grow far more vegetables at our allotment next year as we will be doubling the space. I often think a commercial freezer would be ideal. I really want to base many of our meals around seasonal veg. But also have enough to freeze for the winter when there is much less around until the spring. We currently only have runner beans in the freezer and carrots still growing at our allotment. Which will need to come in soon too! Our far too late brussel sprouts are not currently looking like they will make it to the Christmas table!
Though of course, not everyone has the time or inclination for growing their own vegetables. But for me, this is a way I really want to help cut our food bill down. The fresh taste of the veg means you can enjoy simpler meals as they taste so good!
To save further money I really want to get in the habit of preparing our own pulses. The tins are so convenient and in fairness are very reasonable. The veggie meatballs above were made using two tins of chickpeas. But the dry variety is much cheaper and healthy as there is no added stuff to preserve them. I do find the whole soaking and length of time boiling a bit overwhelming. The NHS pulses, lentils and pea’s guide is actually really good. It also mentions the importance of cooking kidney and soya beans properly as in the back of my mind is why I reached for a tin! It also so tells you had super good they are for you too! Always inspiring knowing you are cutting your food bill and it is good for you too!
I am also trying to make our own treats. So flapjacks, home-made biscuits, chocolate crunch as a way to escape the massive increase in the price of some many foods! Mind you, with butter at £1.45 (whatever happened there!) flapjacks now seem quite a luxury!
I always mix up our own muesli, which is far nicer than ready made. This also saves a bit of money, though I do fill it with lots of good stuff so think luxury muesli savings!
I am back to doing meal planning loosely. I am not great at following even my own rules, hence I am following it loosely! I know it is a great weight off my mind when I know what I am making for supper so I really do need to get myself in order on this. But am planning three days ahead rather than a full week. Knowing that I have more ingredients I can work with but decided later what exactly to cook with them.
Perhaps I will give myself a reward system if I follow the menu plan!
I dream too of a larder as well as a much bigger freezer! Somewhere that I can see everything in an organised state. My food cupboards to get out of hand a bit too easily I confess. We have a lot less cupboard space in this house than our previous one. With one extra person living here too!
But, really I know this is do-able. It will take the strain from our bank account which should be incentive enough.
With the news of an Aldi coming to our town next Spring and perhaps a Lidl shortly after, I am really hoping I can crack our food bill!
How do you keep your food bill lower? Or are you like me and find it trickier than you would like it to be?