We’ve been feeding the family for just £100 a month for the past three months. As you may guess, we’ve learned a lot about penny pinching, saving on food waste and budget buys.
Here’s my TOP 10 TIPS of feeding a family for £100 a month
1) Love your leftovers
When I cook a family meal I purposefully make extra so there’s enough for lunch the next day. It saves at least a fiver, which would normally be spent on work canteen food. Plus it’s often healthier too.
2) Boil your bones
There’s nothing nicer than soup made from real stock. If you think that making your own stock is a faff then think again. All you need to do is put the bones in a litre of water with salt and pepper and boil for a few hours. If you’ve got some, chuck in a few discarded carrot peelings, onion and garlic skins, cabbage heads or celery leaves – they add some additional flavour and goodness.
3) Get your veggies local
I’ve always been a fan of getting my veggies delivered to the door and used the more popular nationwide box delivery schemes. However, since shopping local I’ve discovered that many farms nearby also deliver, and that these are often cheaper and have to travel shorter distances to my door – good for me, good for the planet.
4) Go find your nearest farm
The healthiest and tastiest eggs are from chickens that roam free. You can tell a good egg by its thick hard shell and bright vibrant orange yolk (brittle pale eggs are not good). I’ve also found local free range eggs to be cheaper than supermarket free range – and the quality is really quite different.
5) Make friends with your freezer
I never fully understood the value of my freezer until I started feeding the family on a budget. But now I freeze leftovers for when I can’t be bothered to cook. Also if a food’s about to reach it’s sell by date I’ll freeze it until needed – it has saved us a fortune.
6) Learn to make do
When you have to make do with what you’ve got, you learn to improvise. This process can be fun and often results in something quite interesting. I found that beetroot juice makes fantastic pink icing, and that roasted pumpkin is a fantastically moist substitute for butter in a chocolate cake.
7) Re-use and recycle
There’s nothing more frustrating than a child that refuses a meal – what a waste! I found I could feed my daughter’s leftover porridge back to her later in the day when I turned into oatmeal and raisin biscuits. Leftover rice makes awesome rice pudding too! Waste not want not.
8) Re-think the contents of the food waste bin
If you look carefully, you’re throwing away edible stuff. I made gluten free pizza crust out of broccoli stems. Cauliflower cheese soup, from the discarded leaves of a cauliflower. Potato skin crisps from potato peelings, and a food waste soup from vegetable odds and ends.
9) Buy in bulk
There’s certain staple foods that we eat again and again. For us it’s rice, porridge oats and potatoes – look out for deals on bulk buys. It can save you a fortune – like this 25kg sack of potatoes from Rectory Farm.
10) Get a bargain
If you want to visit Farmer’s Markets – go at the end of the day when everyone’s clearing up. At this time there’s always a bargain to be had. Like a large Savoy cabbage or Spaghetti Squash for just £1. Where does the leftover fruit and veg from the markets go? Find out!!! I found a Monday Shop that sells just that for donation only – they don’t want to throw it away.
11) Don’t be scared to get your hands dirty
I know I said just 10 top tips, but I couldn’t resist this last one. There are cultivation projects around the country that need volunteers to work the land. This could mean an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon. It’s worth finding out about, because you get to take some of the harvest home as payment. You don’t have the commitment of an allotment, yet is an fun afternoon out and an enjoyable way to educate children about where your food comes from.
Any more tips from you – please feel free to leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!