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Saving in the kitchen

12 top tips to cut back on food expenses.

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There are lots of simple things you can do that can make a surprisingly big difference to your hip pocket - and how long you spend on tedious meal prep each week.

1. Make a grocery list

Create a grocery list and a budget to avoid the temptation of impulse buys. Shop weekly - those little trips to the corner shop every day can really add up. Online shopping can help with discipline as there's less temptation to browse the shelves for those impulse purchases.

2. Buy in bulk

Think non-perishables like oats, rice, pasta and baked beans. Visit your local discount retailer and join a loyalty program. Buy meat from a wholesaler and consider investing in a deep freezer if you need the extra storage space.

3. Prep meals in bulk

Why not put aside a few hours on the weekend to meal prep? Then go crazy whipping up a large batch of lasagna or spag bol. You can save time and money cooking in bulk for your work lunches. A bonus? You’ll be better placed to say “no” to the office vending machine or take away.

4. The art of leftovers

The beauty of bulk cooking is all the meals you can create out of the leftovers – like turning ragu into lasagna, and utilising roast chicken leftovers to make a rich stock. A slow cooker or crock pot is a great way to do bulk meals with minimal fuss.

5. Invest in storage containers

Invest in quality storage containers. They’ll keep food fresher, show you how much you have left and bring order to the messiest pantry or fridge.

6. Store fruit and veggies properly

Fruit and veggies that have gone off prematurely are not only a waste of food but also a key drain on your wallet. Do some research into which ones like it chilly and which ones prefer being in a bowl.

7. Shop smart

Generic brands can save you money. Only buy fruit and veggies in season when they are cheaper. Don’t be afraid of frozen– it’s often just as good.  Keep an eye out for discounts and specials. Pro tip - never shop when you’re hungry!

8. Use meal delivery services

Not a cook? No time? No worries. With a click of a button, you can order a tailored weekly menu from a range of meal delivery services. You’ll get the exact portions you need and they cater for allergies and dietary preferences too.

9. Go meat-free

Why not embrace the idea of meat-free meals a couple of days a week? It’s great to experiment and you’ll cut costs by going vegetarian.

10. Go green

If you don’t have a compost bin for your scraps, be sure to pop them in your green bin to help reduce landfill. Plant your own garden or pots for year-round access to fresh herbs and veggies, or check out if there’s a community garden in your local area.

11. Cut down on waste

Meal planning is key to avoiding food waste. Do a quick check of what you already have in the pantry and choose recipes based on the available ingredients.

12. Browse online for recipe ideas

Keep your inspiration alive by introducing one new recipe a week. There are loads of recipe sites to check out online, or grab a copy of your free community or supermarket magazines for more great ideas.

Making life in the kitchen easier and cheaper doesn't have to be difficult. All it takes is a little preparation and planning.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this information, you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these matters and the product terms and conditions. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication.

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