By Isabella Armishaw, Second year Music student
Starting 2019 with a slightly emptier wallet may be difficult, but should not stop you from enjoying the tasty meals you love. Take a look a these 10 top tips to help you save money whilst still enjoying some good food
1. Start Meal Planning
By taking 20 minutes to plan what you are going to eat for the week, it ensures that when you go shopping you will only buy what you need and that no food will go to waste. It doesn’t just save your wallet it also saves the planet! You can use recipes with similar ingredients or by following an existing meal plan. You can find meal plan recipes on Sainsburys, BBC goodfood and Tesco Real food websites. The prices of the meal plans range, I’ve found some for as little as £10 a week.
2. Top up pesto and curry pastes with oil
Pesto is a student staple but too often it’s kept in the fridge only to go moldy on the surface. By submerging it in oil the surface is no longer in contact with the air and therefore does not grow mold. Make sure when you do this to push all the pesto/curry paste on the sides down beneath the oil.
3. Buy bottled lemon juice instead of real lemons
Bottled lemon juice in Sainsburys costs 70p whereas a single lemon costs 30p.By switching out real lemons for bottles lemon juice you’ll be saving £1.40 per bottle. This also means you’ll never end up with the awkward second half of the lemon lying around ever again. I promise you won’t be able to taste the difference.
4. Batch make lunches
Avoid the dreary £3 meal deal and make a big batch of lunches at the start of the week. This could be anything from cous-cous bowls to stews if you have a thermos flask. If you are usually home for lunch, batch making is still worthwhile as you no longer have to make lunch every day. By taking 30 minutes to batch make a lunch at the start of your week you can save money, time and energy.
5. Where possible, buy frozen.
Frozen spinach, frozen white fish and frozen chicken are all staples in my freezer. The great thing about frozen spinach and frozen fish is that you don’t have to defrost it, just throw it into what you’re cooking! Frozen meats like chicken or mince take more planning but are worth it for the price difference. If you are meal planning, knowing when to defrost items becomes a lot easier.
6. Make your fresh food last longer.
Have a salad or spinach pack? Put a piece of kitchen roll in the pack and it will absorb the moisture, making it last longer. Any veg that comes in plastic packaging with holes should be kept in that packaging. The packaging was designed to prolong the life of the veg and will continue to do so in your fridge. Remove any bits that look like they might be turning, this will preserve what is left.
7. Before buying something, consider if you could make it.
In Sainsburys the other day I spend a good 10 minutes staring at the hummus thinking, could I make it? The answer was yes, in fact making hummus is incredibly easy. The same goes for pasta sauces and curry pastes, they look intimidating but most of the time they only take 3-5 ingredients and an extra 10 minutes which is worth the satisfaction of making it from scratch as well as the saving.
8. Store your cheese in Tupperware
I left my cheddar and parmesan cheese in Tupperware over the Christmas holidays and I’m still using them today. Since storing my cheese in Tupperware, I’ve never had to throw cheese away.
9. Go full traditional and buy dried beans
It may feel like you’re in a period BBC drama, but buying dried beans and soaking them the night before is much cheaper than tinned beans. If you are meal planning the forethought needed for dried beans is not an issue. They also take up less shelf space than their tinned form.
10. Eat 3 large meals a day
Sounds stupid, but if you are eating 3 proper meals a day you are less likely to snack, and a bag of crisps is much more expensive than homemade soup. You’ll be healthier, save money and maybe the block of cheese in your fridge at 3am may live to see another day.
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