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Money-Saving Foods

Published September 2008

 

This page is part of  a series of articles on this site devised to give practical advice for saving money and preventing unnecessary food wastage. That's extra money in the bank to spend on other things.

 

See also:-    Introduction  |  Cutting your Food Bills  |  BOFOFs (Buy one Get One Free)  |  Credit Crunch Recipes

 

There are many ways to save money on your food bill without resorting to living on bread and water. We give you lots of hints and tips which will enable you to prepare meals which are both delicious and nutritious and which are suitable for anyone whether on a budget or just trying to cut down from students to pensioners and everyone in between. With a little planning, you can feed a family of four a variety of delicious and nutritious main meals for under £35 a week, which includes an organic chicken for Sunday Lunch. Here's how.

 

Supermarket own brands

 

Did you know that many supermarket own brands are actually supplied by the same producers as well known premium brand names including frozen and packet goods? Well it’s true. So before you dismiss the cheaper supermarket products, it’s worth you trying the odd one now and then to gauge the quality for yourself. If you’re dubious, just buy one at a time. If you don’t like it, you haven’t really lost anything, but if you find the quality and taste is just as good, you could save yourself money in the future and although 2p may not seem a lot, over a year all those 2p’s will mount up to £s.

 

We guarantee you won’t tell the difference between premium brand pasta and supermarket own pasta, especially when it’s being served with a flavourful sauce.

 

Economical Meat and Poultry

 

Chicken thighs and legs are an excellent substitute for chicken breasts. Not only do they cook just as quickly, especially if you remove the bone, but they are generally more succulent and have a fuller flavour. Thankfully, most supermarkets now stock these.  As at 5.9.08 Approx £2.60 for 4 whole legs (not-free range)  - serves 4

 

Chicken wings are not only cheap but are also great fun to eat – especially for kids (young and old alike). They can be simply baked with your favourite seasonings or made into scrumptious sticky delights with a simple baste made with ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and honey.

 

Mince now comes in many grades from extra lean to economy, and many types including beef, lamb, pork and turkey. The one thing you can be sure of is that it will be cheaper than the equivalent weight of whole pieces of meat/poultry and better still, you usually need less of it  per serving portion. There’s a variety of things you can do with all types of mince including sauces for pasta, patties, burgers, meatballs and baked recipes such as shepherds pie or lasagne.  As at 5.9.08 Approx £3.10 for 500g (beef or lamb) - serves 4

 

Braising or Stewing meats are both cheap and very tasty and have the added bonus of being suitable for both everyday eating and special occasions. There are lots of people paying A LOT of money in fancy restaurants for braised oxtail. If you haven't got a slow cooker, it's well worth buying one - they can cost as little as a large saucepan! Visit our Slow Cooker section to find out more about them.   As at 5.9.08 Approx £3.10 for 650g - serves 4

 

Offal has made a welcome comeback in many supermarkets where it can be bought fresh and frozen. Whilst calves’ offal is considered by many to be the best, lambs offal is really good. If you have childhood memories of strong tasting (and smelling) rubbery offal, it was probably pigs offal, so why not try again this time with lambs offal which is much milder and more tender. Most offal can be cooked very quickly too, saving on both time and energy costs.  As at 5.9.08 Approx £1.10 for 450g (lamb's liver/kidneys) - serves 4

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Other Cheap Fresh Foods

Eggs are cheap – even free range ones - and are currently between 20p and 25p per egg.  Often overlooked as the primary ingredient for a main course, they shouldn’t be limited to the breakfast table. There are loads of wonderful recipes using eggs from omelettes to frittatas; simple baked eggs to quiches and soufflés.  In general, if you allow 2 eggs per person, you can feed 4 people for less than £4 if you include extras such as vegetables and cheese.

 

Vegetables  such as potatoes, squash and peppers make ideal receptacles for stuffing and  can be made into hearty main courses especially if you use rice or minced meat.

 

Cheap Store Cupboard Staples

 

Pasta at around £1 for 500g, which will feed 4-5 people, is another item which is ideal for saving money, especially as it is so versatile when it comes to flavourings. Once again, you could feed 4 people for less than £4 including extras such as mince (currently about £1.50 for 250g – which is plenty when bulked out with tinned tomatoes or other vegetables) and even cheaper if you just use veggies.

 

Beans currently cost around £1 for 450g (dried)  or a very little more for  2 x 400g tins of most other beans both amounts of which will feed 4 people. They are a good source of carbohydrate and fibre and also offer some protein so, once again, you can serve up a nutritional meal for 4 people for under £4 including extras.

 

Lentils are great value and can be used to substitute up to half the meat content of pasta sauces and other mince recipes. Contrary to what you may think, some varieties cook very quickly without the need for pre-soaking. They are particularly good for recipes such as curries where you can use less meat and still have a filling meal.

 

 

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