I’m sure most of us would like to have a little more money in our pockets at the end of the week. Given the fact that groceries and power consumption in the kitchen make up a fairly decent chunk of money each week, making some changes can really help to reduce costs and free up money for fun things!
GO MEAT FREE ONCE A WEEK
This idea didn’t use to excite me much, but I’ve discovered there are lots of meat free meals that are really economical to make and also quite delicious. Because meat tends to be one of the bigger expenses in the grocery shopping, a meat free meal is beneficial for your grocery bill and helps increase your dietary variety too, especially if you use legumes. Legumes include things like lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas and there are lots of delicious ways to use these. My favourites include vegetarian nachos or tacos using kidney beans; lentil dahl or chickpea and pumpkin curry.
HERE ARE SOME MORE IDEAS FOR MEAT FREE MEALS
-Fried rice with egg
-Spinach and feta frittata
-Lentil Dahl (super tasty if you like Indian flavours – even my fussy husband liked it)
USE A SLOW COOKER
Slow cookers are all round money savers. Slow cookers use significantly less power than a standard oven plus they turn tough, cheap cuts of meats into melt in your mouth deliciousness. My favourite part of the slow cooker though is when you walk through the door after work you are greeted by the delicious smell of dinner that’s pretty much done.
MAKE A DOUBLE BATCH OF DINNER
This has taken me a while to get into but making enough dinner for two meals is a great way to save time and money. That way you can simply reheat dinner the next night and save on power costs, or use the leftovers for lunch instead of buying it. I usually do this on a Sunday night and it makes Monday’s so much easier. Some of the best things are lasagne and casseroles as they always taste even better the next day.
I have an on again off again relationship with meal planning, but planning your meals (including stuff for lunches) really does help you save money. A good way to do it is to check the specials for the week (you can look at the flyers online) and decide what you’re going to have for lunches and dinners. Check what essentials you already have, then write down what else you need and shop away. As well as saving money, it makes life much easier too!
SHOP THE MARKETS AND OTHER FRUIT AND VEGETABLE BARGAINS
If you have a local market, or fruit and vegetable store, you might find that you can get fruit, vegetables and even free range eggs there at a cheaper price. Our local Sunday market sells honey for $5 a jar, free range eggs for $5 a dozen and fruit and vegetable prices are always cheaper than the supermarket too. Some supermarkets also sell the ‘outcasts’ – Countdown have ‘The Odd Bunch’ vegetables and fruit which are quite a bit cheaper than the pretty looking ones! A 1.5kg of carrots was $2 whereas at the standard price they are $3. All those dollars add up pretty fast.
USE YOUR FREEZER
I used to be terrible at wasting things like leftover stock, tomato paste, rice, salsa… Now I freeze them! I put leftover brown rice in resealable bags and freeze and use these for lunches and anything else that can be frozen I’ll usually freeze too.
BUY QUICK SALE PRODUCTS
Most mornings supermarkets will have perishable products that are close to their use by date at reduced prices. Meat is one place where you can really save here – often they’re reduced by 25-50%. If you’re not going to use it straight away, write the date you bought it on the packet and freeze. That way you’ll know it needs to be used within a short time after you defrost it.