Save money: good food


Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve just caught up on the TV show where a ‘wasteful’ family are shown as as an extreme example of over spending on food. One family in question spent £250 a week in food including plenty of  takeaways. The family appeared very busy, had slipped into bad habits and would buy food without thinking about what they already had and what they would do with the food they put in the trolley. The end result was food waste. Now, it’s easy to get into bad habits when people are busy.

We’re a busy couple, with full time careers, work to do at home,  dogs to walk and a home to look after so we are not going to be kitchen martyrs and stand in the kitchen every night thinking about what we’re going to eat. I make sure we eat quickly, cheaply and eat the food we enjoy. A little bit of planning now and then, not even every week saves me time, effort and certainly money. 

If I were to work with any of the families on the show, I’d give them the following help.

1. Stock take what you already have.

2. Create menu ideas with what you have. If you’ve a pile of lentils/tinned pears/cheese , then a simple google search of “recipes with lentils” or whatever ingredient you have to give you some ideas of what to do with it.

3. Try and create as many ideas with what you already have.

4. If you have a whole pile of durable, in date food that you think you’re not going to use, bag it up and take it to a food bank collection point. 

5. If you have spare food you don’t think you’ll eat soon, investigate/google how to freeze it. Then use it later.

6. Eat down what you have.

7. Create a main meal menu plan for the week ahead. It doesn’t have to be fancy, you don’t even need to be able to cook. Your meal plan could just say baked potatoes and beans, fish fingers, oven chips and salad, or eggs on toast, just so you have an idea of what you’re going to eat.

8. Plan your lunches, breakfast and snacks. Breakfast here is always toast or cereals, snacks are apples or bananas, lunches are sandwiches, soup, or reheated leftovers. One standard size box of cornflakes feeds both of us breakfast for a week. 

9. When you shop, you’ll also need to buy cleaning products and toiletries, so before you create a list, stock take everything you have.

10. Now you’re ready to create a list. Remember to take it with you and stick to it. A bargain is no use to you if it’s not on the list. 

All of that seems like a massive task but anything you do for the first time is often really difficult. This gets easier as you don’t have a stock of food you’re not going to eat, you’ll know what you have and you’ll have menu plans for the week ahead. Give yourself a break now and then by batch cooking and having food in the freezer for the nights you don’t want to cook. Another time saver is to plan a ‘student food’ night and relive your youth with scrambled eggs or beans on toast or a plain old bacon or sausage sandwich. Of course, home cooking is far more fun but don’t beat yourself up if you’re just not a cook.

It’s easy to think, we don’t have time or planning is too much bother but it will save time and money in the long run.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

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14 thoughts on “Save money: good food

  1. Great advice Froogs. It’s an interesting programme but I do find it annoying that they whizz through the recipes and don’t offer them on a website. Apparently there is going to be a book.
    Jacquie x

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  2. Good advice froogs may print. It out for myself what do you think of buying newspapers I love reading them but they cost a fortune especially Sundays

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  3. Great advice. My mum always did this and gave the shopping list to my dad. When I was a child I just assumed that everyone wrote a weekly meal plan (after looking to see what they already had) and shopped for the week. I’m very grateful that my mum taught me this lesson. I also write a list and my husband shops on his way home from work.

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  4. Do you ever feel uncharitable towards those who fail to do these very simple things, fill themselves up with excuses, then bemoan their lot in life? I am struggling with that right now (via kids’ friends and their parents.) It’s hard to bite my tongue, and it’s an utterly un Christ-like feeling, but there it is.

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      • Quite agree. We are not sent to judge. It’s astonishing to me what some people spend. But, after all its there choice. If they want to change there ways, look now further than this great blog

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    • I must admit, I’m with you on this one, Meg. Some of the lessons these TV families have to learn are so woefully simple it’s staggering they haven’t grasped such simple concepts before now. I do try to think ‘nice thoughts’ but when you see the sheer waste and the obvious pride some people take in having money to fling away … the endless food bought & binned as ‘food waste’, the clothes still with tags on that are bought & stuffed into overladen wardrobes never to be worn …
      When there’re people in the world in such need this kind of conspicuous consumption sticks in the craw. … Okay, I’m going back to thinking charitable thoughts now …

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  5. To some degree I think that ‘house keeping’ – menu planning, budgeting, cooking, cleaning etc…has become a bit of a lost art. This is a shame as the lack of those skills costs people a huge amount of money. I feel more grateful as time goes by that my mother taught me so many traditional skills. Although she worked full time as a nurse she ran a tight ship at home and this has stood me in good stead. I’m astonished at the number of people my age and younger – about to turn 50 – who cannot mend a piece of clothing or cook something as basic as rice.

    Madeleine.x

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    • Well said. I’m a stay-at-home mum of 2 boys, aged 2 and 6. I’m often asked (particularly by men) when am I going to go back to work. I cook all meals from scratch, make my own soap, repair clothing, find second hand/free items for my family, keep the garden and the home well maintained, care for my children, and home educate my little boy on a Friday. My day starts at 6am when I take the fog for a run and usually ends between 9pm and 10pm. I am proud to be a house wife and am also very grateful that my mother taught me these skills. When I do return to work I would hope that my children have also learned these skills and will be able to put them to use in our home to support our family.

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      • Yes, I agree with both comments above. I was a single mum( still am) since my son was 8. He is now 26. I am now 57. So even when I feel skint nothing is as bad as how my mum and Dad got through in the 70’s. And, I have to say my son is more frugal than me.

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  6. I can find myself amazed sometimes at how people can needlessly buy things they are just going to throw away or not use. Again, a thrifty childhood may be the key, my parents were careful with money and ran a thrifty household and I seem to have absorbed that which is just as well now I need to watch the money more.

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  7. Don’t know if my last comment sent. I think being brought up in a thrifty household as a child rubs off, I certainly was and it amazes me to see how some people waste money, food and goods.

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