Image courtesy of Muchael Stern

Many of us know that we should be looking for the cheapest supermarkets and buying less processed foods because they are cheaper as well as healthier, but there are things that are not so obvious which could help you to save money when you are shopping for food.

Think about the meals that you actually cook and how you can possibly change the way you eat to make it cheaper. For example, if you make steak and chips, there are ways to cut the cost. Obviously steak is dear and you could use a cheaper cut of meat or even have fish instead. The chips are expensive because you have to oven cook them and pay for oil, which could be avoided if you had mash or crushed potatoes instead. By having a smaller portion of the expensive meat or fish and adding some vegetables, such as peas, you will also save money and make the meal healthier.

It can be good to look at all of your favourite meals to cook and see whether you can replace ingredients to reduce the cost. You may not want to make such major changes as you could end up with a completely different dish, but just switching a few things could help. Or you could have your favourites less often and have cheaper dishes more often. Every time that you cook it is good to have a quick thought about the ingredients and whether they could be replaced by something different.

Another tip is that you should avoid superfoods. Although goji berries, chia seeds and maca powder are all packed full of nutrients, there are other ingredients that are a lot cheaper that you can use instead. Often with these sorts of things, we may buy them to use in one recipe and then have most of the packet left with no idea what to do with it. We may not want to make that recipe again or we may not like it. Make sure that you make an effort to find other ways to use it so that you are not forced to throw it away or at least give it to someone you know will use it. Therefore do not buy these expensive things but use cheaper alternatives. All fruit has nutrients and if you have a big variety you should be getting enough without the need to have goji berries, the same with seeds. If you are attracted to a certain item because of its nutritional qualities then look around to see whether there are any alternatives which are still high in nutrients but a lot cheaper. The internet is really useful for this, where you can search for foods high in certain nutrients. You may already find that you are getting enough in your diet anyway.

There are cookery books that are designed for those on a budget. They will use cheaper ingredients. These can be a really useful thing to try, especially if you want some mew meal ideas. If you are an adventurous cook you could always experiment yourself or adapt recipes that you already know of. It can be a great way to learn and lots of fun as well as saving you money.