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Hot Tips to Cut the Cost of Cooking

If you’ve ever looked in your freezer and discovered a UFO (Unidentified Frozen Object), or defrosted a steak and kidney pie only to discover (after you’ve poured gravy on it) that it contains apple, then you might benefit from being a little more organised in the kitchen.

Taking something out of the fridge or cupboard and sniffing it to see if it’s ok, is not what’s meant by food preparation. If you save just £1 a day by not chucking out or wasting food, that adds up to a tasty (!) £365 a year. Double that, save £2 a day and you’ve got … well, you do the maths.

Here’s a few hot tips to help you cut the cost of cooking.

  •      Load whatever your rustling up with cheap veg. It’s not only healthy, it will help it go much further.


  •      Stick a tin of baked beans into a shepherd’s pie or a Spaghetti Bolognese – it will add to the mix and provide more meals.


  •      Watch your portion sizes. What’s left on plates goes in the bin. What’s left in the pan or on baking dishes can go in the freezer to be enjoyed another day.


  •      Cook in bulk. It takes minimal effort – and cost – to make twice as much spag bol. Then either take the other half to work for packed lunches (nice!) or stick it in the freezer to enjoy another time.


  •      Before you fling anything in the freezer, stick a label on it. It might look like a lasagne now, but when it’s frozen solid, it can be difficult to tell.


  •      Use freezer bags, plastic boxes or storage bags to keep your freezer organised.


  •      Freeze food and leftovers in single size portions so you don’t need to defrost a family-sized meal when you’re cooking for one. It will only go to waste.


  •      When you unpack food shopping, get in the habit of popping as much as possible into the freezer. Keep a sliced loaf in there and then just take out individual slices for toast and sandwiches.


  •      You’d be amazed at what can be frozen. Even left-over beer and wine make great ice cubes.


  •      Make it a regular habit to have a ‘use-it-up’ meal. Go through your fridge and cupboards and get out anything that’s about to go out of date – then get creative!


  •      Slow cookers are a game-changer. Not just because you arrive home from work to a hot meal and an amazing smell, but you can use cheap cuts of meat and random ingredients and still produce something that tastes great. Most of them use less energy than a light-bulb as well.


  •      Grow your own veg. Even if it’s just some tomatoes in a Grow-Bag on a windowsill. You won’t believe how much better they taste than those that come in plastic bags from the supermarket. And they’re so cheap to produce.


  •      You can’t beat a stir-fry. Quick turnaround time when you’re starving, healthy as they use so little fat, any vegetable tastes amazing – even broccoli! – and you can chuck anything in and know it will taste amazing.


Saving a few quid here and there might seem like too much faff, but it all adds up. When you look at how much food goes in the bin and add up the cost, it can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Just do one thing a day and you’ll see – and taste – the difference.