10 tips for cutting February’s food bills

Need to restock the fridge with frugal food for February

I figure the first of February can mark the start of a whole new set of resolutions. Why should New Year’s Day have all the fun?

Last month, I did quite a lot of financial spring cleaning, checking if we could get better deals on our savings, current account, electricity bills and credit card (brief answer: yes).

So this month I’d like to focus on food, and eating more healthily for less money. Our food bills have crept up since I did the store cupboard challenge last June (summary post here).

During January, we spent just over £60 a week to feed our family of four, including assorted excitement for a children’s party. I actually feel quite pleased that this is less than the £67 a week before the storecupboard challenge. However, I reckon we could still eat well without paying so much.

Looking on the bright side, at least we now have a fair amount of storecupboard staples and assorted protein stashed in the freezer.

Generally, I aim to keep our food costs in check by cooking from raw ingredients as much as possible, rather than buying processed food.

If we’re going to cut our food bills further in February, these are the top 10 tips I’m hoping to follow:

1. Do a stock check, to find out what we already have in our cupboards, fridge & freezer. (Blog about stock checks here)

2. Search for recipes to use the food in the house

3. Plan our meals, rather than getting to 5pm and staring at the fridge.

4. Vary our meals with vegetarian options

5. Write shopping lists focused on the week ahead, rather than automatically restocking stuff

6. Use substitutes, like noodles if we’ve run out of rice

7. Buy mainly from the value ranges (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!)

8. Check out cheaper options, such as frozen, tinned or seasonal food

9. Take advantage of offers, vouchers and reduced price items where possible

10. Minimise food waste by using up leftovers

Other than grabbing the odd bit of parsley from the garden, we won’t be living off home grown produce any time soon!

Anyone else up for cutting their food bills during February? What are your own top tips for eating healthily while spending less?

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 Comments

  1. 1st February 2016 / 7:21 pm

    All of the above. Plus – in celebration of the UN's declaration that 2016 is the year of pulses, we are eating more beans and lentils. I am encouraged that you do not have garden produce to hand – but this is the year I WILL manage to grow more edibles. I am determined!

    • 2nd February 2016 / 11:54 am

      Would love to join your resolution to grow more edibles this year – I've been hoarding seeds, but didn't manage to get round to planting anything last year, apart from a few bulbs and herbs.

  2. 2nd February 2016 / 7:34 am

    Meal planning has been a big help for me, so I'm going to make an effort to carry it on this month. Putting a massive blackboard up on the wall has been an incentive 🙂

    More pulses and eating out of the freezer are my other resolutions, along with a bit of early foraging; nettles are already beginning to appear thanks to the mild weather and are effectively free spinach! Mix with cheese sauce and serve baked as a pie topped with baked beans and mashed potato for sceptics,

    • 2nd February 2016 / 11:54 am

      Eating more pulses seems to be a bit of a theme! I will go and stare at my bag of lentils in hope of inspiration, and keep an eye out for nettles too.

  3. 2nd February 2016 / 12:45 pm

    I'm hoping to cut our food bill for the entire year. We starting off by eating down the freezers and cupboards, hopefully by the time we see the bottom of the freezer and the back of the cupboards the polytunnel will have kicked in big time.

    But I am pleasantly surprised that due to the unusually mild weather this Winter we are still eating lots of produce from the polytunnel even now. Lettuce, spring onions, carrots, cabbage, celery, kale, spinach and radishes and we even still have turnips in the veggie patch that I am picking as and when I need them.

    Even growing your own herbs will save you a fortune on the supermarket prices. Just try and expand from there and pop a few of your seeds into tubs or pots to get yourself off to a good start for this year.

    And I think £60 for a family of four is pretty good, a lot less than some people spend for just themselves!!

    • 3rd February 2016 / 9:04 am

      Brilliant that your polytunnel is providing so much even during the winter. Do you have any recommendations for easy to grow veg that I could plant at this time of year? Was thinking I could maybe get some salad leaves started on the kitchen window sill, for example.

    • 3rd February 2016 / 12:04 pm

      Yes, salad leaves will grow now and you can start herbs off indoors on the window sill. And it's good to get Spring Onions in early they takes AGES to grow!!

      It's also time to get some potatoes chitting, if you have any in the house that have done so accidentally encourage them, or buy a pack of seed potatoes. I got some from the Pound Shop last year and they did pretty well and they only cost me …… £1 😉

  4. 9th February 2016 / 11:57 am

    As editor of Fuel Oil News, the monthly trade magazine for those working in UK & Ireland fuel oil distribution – lots of fuel distributors, tanker drivers and heating engineers – I was very interested to read the article in the Sunday Times and your blog on heating oil. If you have time for a quick chat, please call me on 01565 653283. Best wishes Jane Raphael (Hughes)

    • 9th February 2016 / 5:43 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the article and blog on heating oil!