Make-up and fashion can get a bit pricey. New launches, latest trends, replacing your Holy Grail products… it all adds up.
Before I had a family I would quite happily live off beans for a week so I could buy a new pair of jeans. However with two (three if you count the dog) other mouths to feed this isn’t feasible now and groceries are a lot more expensive.
When I gave up work, money became quite tight and Mr Luxe wasn’t in a position to give me a lot of money to shop with. The total amount per month was £150 to be exact. Some people spend that on a week’s shop!
Here are my top, money saving tips, that I’ve learnt along the way to save cash, have good food and have more money to spend on treats!
We are omnivores in this house but if you’re a veggie a lot of this still applies.
Tip Number 1 – Your Freezer Is Your Friend
We are fortunate enough to have three freezers, including a deep freeze. This has saved us an utter fortune over time.
We buy mainly frozen prepared vegetables. Chopped frozen onion is a total game changer. No peeling, no onions rolling around shedding in the cupboard. You start cooking, chuck in a handful and it cooks through. Simple.
The range available is crazy as well. I bulk out many meals by throwing in a load of frozen veg. We use everything from cauliflower to kale. Frozen stir fry mixes are fantastic as well and can make a healthy dinner in about ten minutes.
We also take advantage of Iceland’s free home delivery. I will bulk buy vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, roasting joints and puddings. There is always something in the freezer in case we have last minute guests.
Tip Number 2 – Bulk Buy Your Meat
Meat is very, very expensive nowadays. Some supermarkets even security tag their meat. One HUGE expense we have cut down on is chicken. We get our chicken wholesale from the local butcher wholesaler. For about £40 we get around 40-45 excellent quality chicken breasts. They cater to local restaurants and are excellent quality. I always find if I do buy chicken from the supermarket now it’s full of water and shrinks.
I’ll get one of these every couple of months and split the box into 2/3 breasts per freezer bag and put them in the freezer. If I have any left from the previous run I always use these first.
If you don’t know or don’t have a local butcher wholesaler there are websites like Muscle Foods that do lots of deals on bulk frozen meat.
Tip Number 3 – Stock Up Your Herbs, Spices and Condiments
I am obsessed with flavour. I HATE bland food and would happily cover everything in garlic and hot sauce given the chance. After we had our new kitchen put in I went to Sainsburys and completely restocked my herbs, sauces and spices.
It means that if I’m stuck for time I can still create brilliant flavours with what’s in my cupboard. I never have to buy stir fry sauce because I can make my own which is not only cheaper but A LOT healthier.
Always keep a look out for interesting rubs and marinades too. Lidl do these tins of American and Asian flavours and they are ridiculously versatile for £1.49 a tin.
Tip Number 4 – Shop at Aldi, Lidl or shop online
Aldi and Lidl have changed the entire industry of supermarkets. Speaking to people they’ve shaved £10s, if not £100s, off their shop using these budget friendly places. I always go with a small list and an open mind. I take advantage of their “theme” offers and stock up on things as I can. I got a huge bag of polenta for 50p one time!
If you prefer the larger stores then swallow the delivery charge and order online. You aren’t distracted by the empty “Special Offers”, you can refer online to recipes as you go and make sure you only order what you need and you can buy the value and basic range. Supermarkets often hide these at the top and bottom of the shelves and put the premium brands at eye-level.
Also no lugging bags from the car!
I’ll do a big online shop once a month or every other month. This tends to be a more expensive shop but I get all my basics (pasta, tinned goods, laundry and washing materials, loo roll) and this means I’m not dashing out to get these basics at the last minute.
Tip Number 5 – Go Veggie!
There are many reasons people go veggie. Whether it be a lifestyle or moral choice, there are amazing benefits to adding vegetarian meals to your diet. First being cost, second being variety and the opportunity to use new ingredients. I always buy a lot of TVP and Quorn mince. Unlike meat mince you can use this from frozen and has saved me a few times with a last-minute Spaghetti Bolognese etc.
We tend to have vegetarian meals 2/3 times a week and also use frozen/reduced fish one night and this saves us a few pounds.
Tip Number 6 – Buy Packet Mixes and Kits For Emergencies
We’ve all had that day. You know the one. The one that went utterly totally wrong. The one that made you want to curl up into a little ball and cry. These days are the ones that your head is so far out of the game cooking is almost a no go. These are the days you usually resort to opening Just Eat and ordering a pizza.
Takeaways add up fast, they are often full of unhealthy additives, massive portion sizes and can be, although this isn’t always the case, be slightly less than fantastic in terms of cleanliness. One well known blogger tweeted the other day that they had spend £800 on takeaways in the first five months of the year.
I don’t really “do” ready meals but I always make sure I have a load of fajita kits, jar sauces and odds and sods available. Although you still have to cook you have the convenience of these. I have a young daughter and I’m very conscious of the amount of sugar and salt in these so I use them sparingly.
Tip Number 7 – Dog Food Deals
We have a French Bulldog and he was eating a £45 bag of special food every month at the beginning of this year. It was costing a fortune. Then I recently saw an advert on TV for a company called Tails.com.
They tailor make food for your dog’s profile and deliver it direct to your door for £15+£1 p&p a month. They even offer a two week free trial (£1 delivery applies) to give it a whirl. You are in full control of your orders and can cancel at anytime.
I ordered the free trial thinking I’d literally just do that. Free trial, cancel done. But I was surprised and ended up becoming a customer. My dog has taken to his food really well, his energy is the perfect amount, his coat is looking brilliant and his skin complaints have really eased off. I have a referral code if you’d like a two week free trial
This referral code will give me credit into my account if used which would help me even more with my budget too 🙂
Tip Number 8 – Buy That Treat
Sticking to a budget isn’t fun. It can be restrictive and boring. I personally don’t meal plan and could probably save even more so if I did. However I like a bit of surprise and creativity when it comes to cooking and am good at doing so.
If you want to have a chocolate cake or Ben & Jerrys in the freezer. Buy it, have that treat, enjoy it. If you don’t allow yourself these little treats a bit spending splurge will eat away at you and you’ll become disheartened.
I could literally go on and on and on 🙂 but I think you have enough to be getting on with!
Have you got any top tips for saving money on groceries? What’s your biggest expense when it comes to food shopping? If you could save money what would spend it on?
Everything in this post was purchased by me (for an absolute bargain price) and the Tails link is a referral link but does not pay me cash directly.