Fancy saving a bit of that hard earned dough? Too fucking right…
Here at Utterly Feral we are saving money with a vengeance like no other. Clara is saving for her upcoming wedding and I am on maternity leave! ‘Nuff said!
Clara and I decided to share our tips for saving a bit of cash on food, because let’s face its we can’t fucking live without it and it can end up costing a bloody bomb can’t it?
Enjoy kids 🥓🥚🌭🌮🍲🍝🍱🥟🍘🥠🍪🍯🥛🌰🍿🍩🥜🍜🍕
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Amelie #1 BATCH COOKING
This is the absolute way forward. You hardly ever see me making up a sauce to serve two. If I’m making it, I’m making it fucking big and I’m making it with a view to get about ten portions out of it.
All of my meat gets portioned out and frozen as soon as it enters the house (see below!). I never ever use a whole packet of mince in anything these days. I can’t even think about the days when we used to do that, it must have just been like a big giant, dirty plate of meat.
So I will usually just go wild and throw in handfuls of kale or spinach, dozens of types of beans (depending on the dish), loads of fresh veg. Then make a sauce using passata, chopped tomatoes, herbs, spices,garlic, OXO stock, quark/Philadelphia it just depends what I’m making. I don’t stick to recipes…I use what we have and get a bit creative.
While I was pregnant – at the start of my maternity leave I made a grand total of 125 portions of food for us. For around four months we only had to cook a few times a week. Every other day I just defrosted two sauce portions then made up the rice/pasta or potato to accompany it. I felt like I was winning at life. In all honesty, I was. What a legend. 😂 I still top up that spare freezer so there’s always something in there for skint week (you know, the one before payday where you’ve got about a quid to your name) or just a busy ‘no-cook’ day.
I make everything up as slimming world friendly as possible, portion them into bags or *aluminium trays* and write the details and syn value for each portion on the top, because that suits me.
Meals that are brilliant for batch cooking:
-Chilli con carne sauce
-Corned beef chilli sauce (see more in Asda Smartprice)
-Mushroom and beef stroganoff sauce
-Meatballs in a spicy sauce
-Bacon and lentil pasta sauce
-Macaroni and cauliflower cheese (this was my fave batch meal!)
-Tuna pasta bake
-Soup (for lunches)
Amelie #2 Dried Pulses, legumes & Beans
This is the most random fucking point ever, but stay with me.
Ever since I started to batch cook and try to save money on food shopping I’ve made a point of keeping my store cupboard stocked with packets of dried beans and pulses. This is an absolute win.
-If you want to save money on meat and bulk out a curry? Add a load of chickpeas!
-Green lentils are amazing in a stew.
-Red lentils are fantastic with bacon, pepper and tomato for a delicious pasta sauce.
– Yellow split peas and chickpeas are delicious served with fried chorizo, onion and peppers. Serve with salad.
-Cook up mixed beans and onions in vegetable stock, boil some rice, throw it all together, stir through some low fat cream cheese and you can portion up into lovely lunches for you and the hubby.
Dried beans and legumes while sounding absolute shite are yummy, filling and good for you. They take a bit of prep (you need to soak most of them in water overnight) but if you are organised – they are ace. I use far less meat in dishes now and they are all still tasty! If you are not so organised you can also get them all in tins.. slightly more expensive but still saving you money by bulking out your dishes.
My store cupboard essentials!
Amelie #3 Asda Smartprice and equivalent
Don’t be shy.
I know the white and black packaging looks fucking terrible. I know that. But honestly, once you get past that, some of the food is actually great value for money.
I tend to buy anything that is comparable to what I would usually go for. Things like chopped tomatoes, baked beans… essentially tinned basics. I cook everything from scratch so once I’ve added my herbs and spices you’d never know it was a smartprice tin of chopped tomatoes in your tasty chilli con carne.
I’ve recently tried a few other bits in the interest of money saving and I’m impressed. Things like rice, ‘Wheat bisks’, yoghurt, Cheddar and cereal bars have all been good and by the way the big bars of dark chocolate are 33p and a bargain little treat for the chocoholics out there! My husband can eat his body weight in chocolate so we always need some cheap treats in too!
Some foods you just can’t scrimp on, but some you can…go for it – save yourself some squids.
Here are the makings of my famous corned beef chill…mostly made from Smartprice products! This is one of Mr S’s favourite meals! Swear down.
Tin of corned beef, Onions, kidney beans, green lentils, red lentils, baked beans, passata, chopped tomatoes, cumin, chilli powder, cayenne pepper, tomato purée, smoked paprika, garlic, salt, pepper, spinach.
That lot will make up around 8-12 portions and costs about £3.20 to make (if you’re well stocked for herbs and spices like me). It’s yummy and depending how many portions you get out of your batch – quite low in Syns if you are an SW’er. I usually make it for around 2-3 syns per portion. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Honest to god, it’s a taste sensation.
Also, did you know that Morrison’s have now introduced an aisle full of their white label goods? Handy!
Amelie #4 Bag it up before freezing!
‘No diggity you gotta bag it up!’ Sorry couldn’t resist. 🙈
This is the absolute one, you have to do this. Freeze your portions into bags. Don’t just throw it all in the freezer after shopping. You’re wasting money and calories!
Ever bought one of those packs of bacon with 12 rashers in? Then frozen it? Yep, we all have. But, you know when you come to take that out of on Saturday for your Sunday cooked breakfast – you’re either going to be a greedy bastard and eat the lot between the two of you or you’re going to use some and put the rest of the pack back in the fridge. Then, you might find ways to eat the leftover bacon just for the sake of it or it will go off. Terrible wasteful travesty.
When I buy a pack I split it into two. Bagging 6 rashers of bacon into each bag- enough for brekky for two people! That’s two breakfasts instead of one and healthier! I will also cut the fat off first and it’s GTG (slimming world style).
A few other ideas:
I portion giant packs of extra lean mince into about 4-5 bags.
Sausages- these get bagged up before freezing too. You’re never going to eat the whole pack between two on your cooked breakfast or with mash. Face it. (I mean we could…but do we need to?)
Chicken- one chicken breast each in a meal is sufficient. Go on, open the pack stick two in each bag and freeze. Don’t eat more just because it’s there, that could be another meal!
Bread- I like to have bread in but we never eat the whole loaf as we are always trying to be healthy. So I freeze most of it and just put a few slices in a ziploc bag in the bread bin for carb related emergencies. Simples.
Have a think about how much you waste when you automatically just freeze everything. Do you really need all that meat? Can you add some legumes? Sorry…I just fucking love a bean.
Bonus tip: Meal plan… every meal. Stick it on your fridge. I’ve just recently started this…it works!
💸Go forth and save!💸
Clara #1 Make your own lunch!
If you are trying to save money, one of the best changes you can make – is bringing your lunch to work each day instead of buying it. I work five days a week so that’s five lunches a week, it’s adds up over a month. If I think about how much money I’ve wasted in the past on lunches it breaks my fucking heart.
I work on King street in Manchester. If I ever buy lunch it costs me a fucking fortune. Eat, Pret, Starbucks, M&S, Costa, Boots, Tesco. All selling overpriced salads, posh paninis, six quid Mac and cheese, meal deals for £3.50, shit bacon butties from Eat for £3; the lot. I’ve tried them all-apart from the salad obvs. (Twat diet follower🙋🏻♀️!)
But think about it, spending a fiver a day will cost you about £1200 a year…vom.
I still treat myself, don’t get me wrong. On a Friday I may get myself something from a market or Greggs (I fucking love Greggs it’s my favourite, it’s such good value so if you do treat yourself you’re only spending a quid or two). But, most of the week I’ll be having a pre-made butty or ‘last nights’ spag bol, and I’m quite happy with that. My other half, Mr J, will spend time on a Sunday night making his lunch for the whole week. This doesn’t take him long and as he is on a diet it’s easier for him to control what he’s eating.
I love to snack in the afternoon (who doesn’t?) so I’ll buy a multipack of crisps and bring them in to work.
This also applies to coffee. I’m a sucker for a Starbucks caramel macchiato. Walking into the office carrying my fresh coffee used to really set me up for the day, but at £3 for a regular I’ve had to stop. That’s like £60 a month! So just regular office coffee and tea will have to do.
It’s not the most glamorous thing in the world, pre-making your food and bringing it in each day. But, it’s worth it in the end and will make a massive difference.
Clara #2 Yellow Stickers
Every time you go to a supermarket like Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencers (they don’t do it in Aldi or Lidl) look for yellow stickers on products.
Yellow stickers mean the item has been reduced, yippee! This is usually because it’s about to go out of date or the product or packaging is slightly damaged: E.g. A pack of 8 cans of coke is missing 1 can.
My dad is an absolute yellow sticker wizard. He loves a bargain, and knows exactly what time items will be reduced in each supermarket. He then makes sure he goes to said supermarket at the correct time. Papa feral even knows most of the staff by name. He loves it, it’s like a game for him (he’s retired bless him, I have no idea who else has time for all that!) When he makes me a meal, we play a game where I have to guess how much everything costs. I’ve eaten potatoes that have cost 2p, I’ve chomped bread from loaves costing 15p and we’ve had a great birthday cake that was reduced from £15 to £3. My parents tend to bulk buy yellow sticker food and freeze a lot of it and give some to my sister.
Yellow sticker shopping is better if you go to a large supermarket, the bigger the better. My local Tesco metro is shit and the only thing they ever have yellow stickers on are Pizza express pizzas, which are usually only reduced by about a quid and hugely overpriced to begin with.
Sometimes there will be loads of bargains and sometimes there will be fuck all. That’s the nature of the game.
Also, there’s no point in buying yellow sticker food just for the sake of it, just get what you actually need. Its definitely worth looking out for these if you’re trying to save money. The smug feeling when you get something for dirt cheap is amazing!
Clara #3 Aldi is life
Some people turn their nose up at Aldi but ignore them, Aldi is the best supermarket that has ever existed in the history of time. The quality and the price for what you get is second to none. Mr J and I shop at Aldi every week, without fail. For treat days like a birthday or Valentine’s Day we may go a bit more upmarket, maybe even M&S- but that’s very rare. When we do, we always end up comparing everything to our faithful Aldi.
I get everything from Aldi. Cereal, wine, meat, washing tablets, cheese, bin bags and even face cream. It’s fucking marvellous.
I’m so accustomed to the Aldi prosecco that I prefer it to any other prosecco, at £5.35 I don’t think anyone can complain. We have ordered all of our wine for our wedding from Aldi and I’m pretty fucking happy about it. Aldi’s £6.99 Shiraz won gold in the great Australian wine challenge, beating 2000 other wines. What does that tell you?
I was never a big Italian meat lover (don’t be rude!) but I got hold of some Aldi salami a while ago- and let me tell you, it’s the shit that dreams are made of. I’ve never looked back.
Now I’m not gonna lie, there is a down side, when you pay you’ve got to pack quicker than Usain Bolt and it can be very stressful. You can’t crumble under the pressure you will need efficiency and strength. But, ultimately it’s worth it.
Clara #4 Sell by dates
What a load of shit (most of the time!)
On a Monday morning in work we all need a brew don’t we? A colleague of mine will check the milk from Friday. If it’s past the sell by date (even by a day) she won’t use it. I’ll smell it and say “it’s fine” but she still refuses. We waste so much food and drink because some people think they will die if they eat items past their sell by date. They probably won’t! It’s just a bloody guide!
Items I keep and use after the sell by date include cheese, bread, milk, anything canned, anything frozen, chocolate, crisps (try first..if they’re stale just bin them, who cares?) biscuits, potatoes, fruit and eggs (if you crack one you’ll know if it’s rank!). If meat smells like it has gone off (everyone knows the smell) I bin it. If not, I eat it. But that’s just me.
‘Best before’ means it will probably be nicer to eat before the date stated. Its a guide for quality not safety, you should be able to judge yourself whether something is rancid!
Freezing food is a wonderful thing, and usually buys you another 3-6 months. It’s like having a pause button. Fabulous.
The average UK family wastes £700 per year by throwing away food that could have been eaten. £700 could get you a holiday, a car or a shit ton of wine!
Disclaimer – if something has a ‘use by’ date then that is different to a ‘sell by date’ and that is there for your safety so you should abide by it, this can apply to pre-prepared salads, meat etc (unless you’re going to freeze the item!) I don’t want anyone to get food poisoning because of this, don’t do anything stupid, like eating a yogurt that’s a year old. Just use your initiative lads! Know what I mean?
💸Happy saving kids!💸
Have you got any tips? We’d love to hear them! Comment below 😘
A & C