I’ve seen a lot of comments and tweets floating about lately regarding Jamie Oliver’s latest controversy and how increasing the price of junk food will mean that people struggle even more to be able to afford to feed themselves.
I’m not delving into personal or individual situations and I totally empathise with people who genuinely can’t afford to put food on the table, but to say that all health food is expensive is a myth that I feel needs to be debunked.
I’ve recently taken the plunge and moved abroad (to the expensive-to-live land of Copenhagen) and have taken an income cut whilst I start a new business so I’m being extra frugal with everything, including food.
I have no idea what sort of food budget is considered average, low or extravagant but I get my food necessities for £100 a month (this is based on UK prices), which amounts to approximately £3 per day for one person. This covers three meals a day, with snacks, but does not include takeaways, alcohol or eating out. It does, however, include things that aren’t 100% necessary such as tea, coffee and juice. It also covers my cleaning/household items and cosmetics.
I am aware that some people may have much less than this to spend so the point of this post is just to share how I try to keep my food budget down and if any of these tips can help anyone out there save a bit of dollar, then I am a happy chappy.
1 Shop local
I’ve banged on about this before, I know, I know. But I once got around 12 to 15 bananas for a quid at a farmer’s market. Other super bargains include a tray of avocados for £1, ten courgettes for £1…. etc.
Spend a little bit of time looking up your nearest farmer’s markets, greengrocers and get on over there to grab some cheapy fruit and veg.
Greengrocers will have trays of veggies that are on their last legs so if you’re shopping for that day, grab those, save them from being wasted, pay less and voila!
2 Freeze stuff
If you end up with a gerzillion bananas, like I did, then don’t waste em! So much fruit/veg can be frozen to keep it fresh for when you’re ready to use it. I regularly freeze bananas, spinach, kale, berries, broccoli and cauliflower.
3 Buy seasonal
Move with the seasons. It’s currently asparagus season so I’m buying it on a weekly basis. Strawberries will be cheap in the summer months and then I avoid them in the winter when they go up in price. Seasonal veg will always be cheaper so have a google and then buy accordingly.
4 Cook in batches
I get that working full time (or more) and cooking healthy meals from scratch every day is near impossible. The option here is to batch cook. Spend a couple of hours one day a week, cook a couple of meals, separate it into tupperware boxes and freeze those babies for the busy days. Whap one in the microwave to heat up and bam, a healthy, easy, yummy meal done in minutes.
5 Buy the budget brand
Sometimes budget brands can be fab. Tinned tomatoes, where the only ingredient is tomatoes, are going to be the same, whether you buy budget or fancy.
Stock up on budget stuff where you can. For me this is: pasta, rice, tins of beans/pulses and obviously, tinned toms.
6 Peruse the reduced sections
All supermarkets will reduce items when they’re nearing their sell by dates. If you pop to your nearest supermarket (especially on a friday or saturday evening), you can grab some proper bargains. This is ideal for bread as it can be frozen and therefore will last much longer than intended.
7 Shop around
I’ve currently stopped eating meat replacements due to cost (I’ve replaced them with budget pulses, huzzah), but back in the UK, Linda Mccartney sausages used to cost as much as £3 in one store, compared to £1 in another. Make sure you’re not overspending and go to different shops for different items, if necessary.
8 Eat plant based
I can only give advice or budgets based on plant foods because that’s all I eat. However, from my experience previously, I would guess it’s much cheaper to ditch the animal stuff! So if meat, cheese and fish is coming up as the majority of your food bill, considering cutting down on these items and assess the difference it makes.
I hope these tips were helpful and made eating cheap AND healthy seem a bit more achievable. Do you have any tips to add?
Contact me on my social channels and let me know!