Our Money-Saving Food Tips
There’s not long to wait until our first ever paperback cookbook hits the shelves and we’ve got Budget on the brain! A collection of pocket-friendly recipes, Pinch of Nom Budget is all about filling your plate with delicious, nutritious food that doesn’t break the bank. Along with 75 affordable recipes, we’ve included some of our top penny-pinching tips inside the pages too.
You can find out more about Budget (and pre-order your copy) here.
While you wait for your new cookbook, we’ve put together this list of money-saving food tips to lighten the load of your weekly big shop. Before we jump in, don’t forget to bookmark some of our other blogs and articles with handy budget-friendly tips and advice.
- How to Make Family Meal Planning Affordable
- Cheap Family Dinner Ideas
- How to Reduce Food Waste
- Tips for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen
- Our Top 10 Batch Cooking Recipes
- Fresh Ways to Use Leftovers
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Buy whole ingredients
It’s not always easy to balance convenience with cost. We’re just as likely as the next person to reach for bags of prepared veggies or pre-grated cheese to save on time and mess in the kitchen. In reality however, you’ll always pay extra when you don’t buy whole ingredients.
If your budget is taking priority, it’s well worth sacrificing the convenient option, picking up the whole block of cheese and resisting the tempting bags of peeled, chopped vegetables.
As well as saving a few pennies, you might also find that you can stretch the ingredients further when you prepare them at home. For example, we always recommend grating cheese with a microplane grater – you’ll be amazed at how much further a small amount goes.
You might think there’s bags of cheese on top of this Cheesy Mac ‘n’ Meatballs, but we only needed to sprinkle a little bit of really finely grated reduced-fat Cheddar over the pasta bake.
Not only does this mean your block of cheese will last longer, it also cuts down on the calories, so this tasty dinner works out at just 397 per serving.
You’ll also see a difference in cost when it comes to buying chicken whole, rather than picking up each individual cut. You don’t need to be an expert butcher to separate poultry out into portions, and we’ve made a handy video to show you how easy it can be (watch below).
@pinchofnomWelcome to EPISODE THREE of our Budget tips series!! These carving tips will help you cut costs and reduce food waste! 👏🔪Buying a whole chicken usually works out cheaper than shopping for individual cuts. Pre-order ‘Pinch of Nom: Budget’ (from our website!) for more tips 🔗💖♬ original sound – Pinch of Nom
If you’re planning a couple of chicken recipes during the week, it’ll be kinder to your bank balance to carve the breasts, thighs, drumsticks and wings – you can even use the carcass to make a really tasty chicken stock.
We’d recommend using the drumsticks to serve up this Moroccan Style Chicken Drumsticks with Mint Couscous recipe for dinner one night. The aromatic marinade adds SO much flavour!
A really sharp knife is your best friend when you’re carving up meat. A good quality knife sharpener can help you to keep your kitchen knives in tip top shape.
Make your own breadcrumbs
This might only seem like a little thing, but every penny saved helps. The next time you find a couple of stale slices at the bottom of the bread bin, don’t throw them away!
Instead of spending your hard-earned money on shop-bought breadcrumbs, blitz up any stale bread, spoon the crumbs into a freezer-safe bag and store them away. Your homemade breadcrumbs will last for up to 4 months when they’re stored correctly in the freezer. We’ve made a handy video to show you how, right here.
@pinchofnomIt’s time for EPISODE TWO of our Budget tips series!! DON’T throw away your stale bread! 🍞💕 Having a bag of home-whizzed breadcrumbs on standby is a proper life-saver! They’ll freeze for up to 4 MONTHS! 🤯 Pre-order ‘Pinch of Nom: Budget’ (from our website!) for more tips 🔗♬ original sound – Pinch of Nom
A food processor like this Kenwood Compact Food Processor will do the job nicely, without taking up too much space on your kitchen counter.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can also coarsely grate the stale bread – it takes a bit more effort but the end result will be the same.
There are loads of different ways to use up breadcrumbs, from meatballs and nuggets to topping all kinds of bakes and roasts. Pull some out of the freezer and sprinkle them on top of this Cheesy Topped Chicken for a delicious midweek dinner.
Juicy chicken, creamy cheese and crunchy golden breadcrumbs…what more could you want?
Freeze your leftovers
This tip goes for leftover ingredients, as well as leftover meals. It’s no secret that becoming a batch cooking pro will save you money in the long run: you can cook once, make multiple meals and make the most of your ingredients at the same time.
What you might not think to do is keep hold of all the old odds and ends from your fridge’s crisper drawer. A couple of stray carrots, half an onion, a sad, solitary potato – it’s waste not, want not! We like to wash, peel and chop leftover vegetables and bag them up before adding them into the freezer.
After a few weeks you’ll be surprised how quickly your leftover bag has filled up! Perfect for throwing into the slow cooker the next time you fancy a hearty soup or stew, it’s better for your budget (and the planet) to use up every last scrap.
The great thing about this Mexican-Style Chilli Beef is that you can add in pretty much any vegetables that you don’t want to see go to waste. It makes for a lovely, warming weekday dinner.
Did you know that you can freeze leftover fresh herbs too? Make yourself some herby ice cubes to drop into whatever you’re cooking next. Simply chop up any leafy herbs that you’re not going to use, pop them into an ice cube tray and top it up with water. Watch the video of how we do this below.
@pinchofnomIt’s EPISODE ONE of Pinch of Nom’s Budget tips! 🥳 Tip 3 is our personal favourite… 🧊🌿 Ice cube trays are the key to keeping herbs fresh and delicious for longer! 💕 Pre-order ‘Pinch of Nom: Budget’ (from our website!) for more tips 🔗♬ original sound – Pinch of Nom
Shop the yellow sticker section
Sometimes paying less for your shopping is all about getting the timing right! If you can get there just as items are getting reduced, chances are you’ll bag yourself some bargains. From fruit and vegetables to meat and fish, it’s well worth having a good scout of your supermarket’s yellow sticker section. You might find that anything you pick up is very close to its best before or use by date, but don’t let that put you off. Even if you can’t use up your yellow sticker items the same day, they won’t go to waste.
Either cook the food as soon as you get it home and freeze the meals for a rainy day, or get the items straight into your freezer. As a general rule, meat and fish can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Label your items with the date that you froze them so you don’t forget to use them up in time! These Active Solutions Reusable Freezer Bags even come with a pen so you can write straight onto the bag.
Tell us your top tips!
For more inspiration, take a look through the Pinch of Nom Gallery to see what everyone else has been cooking up lately! It’s so easy to share your photos – just sign up for a free website account and upload your pics. We can’t wait to see them!
And, if you liked this article, you’ll love exploring our blog. Browse for recipe ideas, kitchen equipment recommendations, money-saving tips and LOADS more.