Turns out I was on such a roll cutting food costs in January, I even stretched it to the first day in February!
Here’s a quick update on the final week, and then I’ll come back with a post looking back over the whole month.
How it went in our last week of cutting food costs
This last week I felt like a woman on a mission, trying to make the most of what we had without yet more top up shops.
Several tactics helped cut food costs this week:
- Using yellow-stickered lamb and chicken thighs as the basis of meals, for the Thai green chicken curry and lamb, chickpea and spinach curry.
- Raiding the freezer so we didn’t completely blow the budget when we had a visitor at the weekend. Here’s to salmon and haddock defrosted for fish pie, and a chicken for Sunday lunch.
- Stretching ingredients so the leftover roast chicken became chicken pie the next night, and the chicken juices went into split pea soup.
- Focusing on ‘use it up’ meals, to get rid of some of the lasagne sheets and split peas, the last of the noodles and so on.
- Sending my husband to the supermarket so I couldn’t spend more!
Main meals for the last week of January
Here’s what we actually ate at the end of January, as main meals for a family of four:
- Jan 24: Thai green chicken curry with baby sweetcorn and green beans, plus rice. Creamy ham pasta for the children.
- Jan 25: Tuna mayo sandwiches with corn on the cob.
- Jan 26: Fish pie with salmon, smoked and unsmoked haddock, peas and prawns, plus broccoli. French apple tart with cream for pudding.
- Jan 27: Roast chicken with roast potatoes, carrots, green beans and gravy. Panettone bread and butter pudding with cream.
- Jan 28: Chicken pie with jacket potatoes and broccoli
- Jan 29: Fish and chips! Takeaway to celebrate my daughter finishing her school tests.
- Jan 30: Lamb, chickpea and spinach curry with tomato & cucumber raita, rice and naan. Cheesy Quesadillas for my daughter.
- Jan 31: Roasted vegetable lasagne with salad
- Feb 1: Chicken and prawn stir fry with rice, with tuna & sweetcorn and rice for my daughter
I started off determined to spend less on food shopping than either of the two previous weeks.
And I did – just. As we had a visitor, I did get some extra stuff we probably wouldn’t have got otherwise, like croissants, fruit juice, crisps to eat with drinks and cream for puddings.
I went to the Co-op to get the potatoes and prawns to finish a fish pie, and ended up spending £14.07 including a yellow-stickered haul. Then we headed to Morrisons the next day, where I was determined to get enough supplies to avoid extra top up shops, emerging £34.92 lighter.
With the total hovering dangerously close to the £56.79 spent in the previous week, I avoided the shops entirely, and even asked my husband to pick up extra milk so I couldn’t buy anything else.
Net result: we spent £51.19, and even managed to stretch through 1 February without any further shopping.
Will let you know how much we spent overall, and whether we saved money compared to the last couple of months, in a round up post. Do check in to find out!
In a weird way, I’ve rather enjoyed the challenge of trying to cut food costs during January.
Aside from any benefits from spending less, I’ve also had fun trying new recipes and eating more unusual lunches than ham sandwiches on autopilot. Jotting down a quick meal plan didn’t just help with buying less, but also removed the stress of wondering what on earth to cook.
Now – over to you. What has helped you cut food costs in January? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear!