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One thing that always catches my eye are the words ‘save’ and ‘money’ together. If I’m browsing Pinterest and I see a post that has something to do with saving, I will always check it out.
As far as I’m concerned this is just good practice! There are so, so many ways to save yourself a few pounds! I know that no matter how many times I come up with or try something new, there are at least three other methods I haven’t thought of and let’s be honest, a few pounds saved here is a few more you can spend there! *wink*
(Edit: This post was a preview of my eBook: Frugal Living for Lazy People, which goes into more detail and has more amazing tips, and is available now!)
The brief list below is just simple, easy to implement advice; many of these popped into my head when I realised; people I knew were spending through the nose on things I rarely paid pennies for. How could I not share?
Make your own microwave convenience packets.
Here’s a small but effective example: A friend of mine wanted convenience and speed. As it turned out, she was paying almost six times more than me on rice per month! How? Buying microwave packets.
My solution? Buy a bulk pack of your chosen rice (which is immediately a huge saving on the multiple packs) and then to keep your convenience factor, pre-prep! Boil up a large batch, let cool, then divide into ziplock bags!
One portion is 1 cup, so you can try either single portions or family portions, depending on what you know you will need, then simple label and freeze!
I have a freezer drawer dedicated to pre-prepped sides; rice, mashed sweet potato, portioned sauces such as Thai curry paste, Pesto etc
By pre-cooking rice portions and then defrosting (in the morning or just in the microwave before dinner), you get the same microwave quick solution at a fraction of the cost.
2. Designated snack allowances.
My husband is a snack fiend. I buy chocolate bars for his lunch at work, then helps himself when the fancy strikes at home!
I bought a 6 pack of bars, they were gone in 2 days. Two! Six chocolate bars in 2 days is not healthy for anyone and he was expecting me to get more at each weekly top up!
So, as i’m the one who does the monthly shopping and therefore see the big picture when it comes to spending, we came to a compromise.
I was more than happy to get him chocolate bars but I would buy enough for one per day, including non-workdays only. So for the sake of our example let’s say 30 bars.
That would be 5 packs of 6, or roughly £5 per month. As opposed to buying 2-3 packs per week like we were which was £10-15 per month! These treats add up right?
I told Husband this should be the set-up for the sake of prioritising our budget and he was fine with this, I now buy 5 packs at the start of the month and they have to last; when they are gone they are gone, no top ups!
If he is desperate for a sweet fix he can head to the corner shop himself for a cheeky bar and believe me, it works out a lot cheaper!
3. Bulk buy your meat.
I love Asda here in the UK for one reason; they have this constant deal where you can get 3 things for £10 in the meat chillers.
They always have a decent range of different types and cuts of meat, in good sized packs. While I usually shop at Aldi for as much as possible, this 3 for £10 deal can’t be ignored!
I will go for my big shop and buy two packs of mince, two packs of 4 chicken breasts and a random selection, usually something like bacon or fish fillets. Anything I intend to use in the next few days goes into the fridge, the rest gets portioned and frozen.
For example, the 4 pack of chicken breasts gets chopped and divided into two packs, of two breasts each as that is usually how much I’d use per recipe, the mince I always use to make bulk meals so that gets frozen in its full pack.
It might seem even more time saving to pre-cook the meat but as I tend to make extra to freeze leftovers I don’t really like doing this, as defrosting and re-freezing things multiple times is not recommended.
I know I know, I can hear the groans and picture the rolling eyes from here! Never fear, I feel your pain.
I have tried over and over to come to terms with the meal plan. I really, truly have. It is just not something I can seem to stick to no matter how hard I try. However, there are ways you can plan without feeling restricted, which will save money, guaranteed.
–Never shop hungry, hungry people impulse buy. Fact.
–Always write a list.
At least for your main shop. However often you do it, having an idea of essentials you need saves having to run back later for things you forgot, which wastes time and possibly petrol. (Also that would also increase your chance of impulse buying!)
-On your list, have a basic idea of what you are going to cook this week/month. I may not write a plan but I know the go-to meals my family eat every month, I know if there is a new recipe I want to try and I always check my bulk meals/leftovers in the freezer to see what we are running low on.
My ultimate Chilli-Con-Carne recipe is my husband’s favourite meal so that always get made in bulk and frozen. Some months I don’t make any to avoid getting sick of it but if I know there’s none in the freezer, I make sure all my staples are on the list if not already in my pantry, just in case.
5. Bulk out!
Always, always bulk your meals out, people! This not only makes them go much further but typically makes them more nutritionally dense and healthy for you!
I very often find new recipes to try which sound delicious but drive me crazy, when I realise; that ‘One Pot Creamy Chicken’? is literally chicken in sauce.
Serves 4 at only £2 each, huh? All you need to do is chop those chicken breasts up, add some chopped carrots, onions, peppers and perhaps courgettes or something similar and voila, serves 8 at £1.50 each and is packed with extra nutrients and vitamins.
Adding veggies also makes the taste so much more exciting and varied! Win-win, people!
There you have it! Super simple ways to save a little money and make your life easier and healthier in the process. I hope you like it and can find something to work for you!
But in the meantime, why not share your own tips in the comments, I’d love to hear how others manage to save!