Top 6 Smart Hacks for Eating at Home for Less
We probably all eat out or get take out more than we should. It’s easier, and can sometimes be even cheaper than making a fancy meal at home. But cooking and eating at home is healthier and cheaper, especially when we cook from scratch. We know exactly what we’re putting into our food, so there are no nasty surprises.
What can deter us from cooking at home though is shopping and paying for all the ingredients. Cooking from scratch can be more expensive if not done right, so we’ve come up with our top 6 smart hacks for eating at home for less. Now you can make the meals you want without spending a fortune on all of the ingredients!
Plan your meals
If you plan your meals, and set yourself a grocery list, you’re much less likely to be tempted by the deals and offers on foods you just don’t need. By having a set list, and a solid idea of exactly what you need, you’ll enter the supermarket on a mission. You’ll grab what you need and go (pay first though, obviously).
Without knowing exactly what ingredients you need, chances are you’ll buy all of the wrong things, and you won’t be able to make nearly as many meals out of the random foods you pick out.
Make the most of your leftovers
It can be difficult to know what to do with leftovers, especially if you don’t want the same thing again the next day. But rather than throwing away leftovers that could amount to a whole other meal, it’s worth saving them and getting creative with them.
Whatever your leftovers are, the internet surely has some advice for how you can use them in another meal. Things like meat and vegetables can easily be made into a stew. If you’ve got a fair amount of leftover meat, then burritos and fajitas are a great way to go.
There’s no sense in throwing away good food, especially not when there’s so much you can do with it, and so many leftover recipes available online. Even if you don’t have the time to make something completely new with your leftovers, they’d be fine as they are for lunch the next day.
Don’t shop when you’re hungry
It’s so easy to go a little crazy when you’re whizzing round the supermarket with a growling tummy. When we’re hungry, we forget how much we can actually eat. If you’ve ever heard that saying ‘your eyes are bigger than your stomach’ it’s 110% true. Not literally of course, but basically we think we can eat more than we could ever possibly manage.
By shopping when you’re hungry you’ll undoubtedly end up buying way more food than you need, and you’ll probably buy all of the wrong things. Your hungry mind wants quick food, easy snacks and probably isn’t thinking about what foods will last the longest, what will actually make up a meal and so on. You’ll spend more money than you would have done if you’d shopped with a full belly (because let’s face it, none of us think straight when we’re hungry).
Buy staples in bulk
Buying in bulk is something we should all be doing. You’d be surprised at how much money this can actually save you.
Cheese is a good example of where it’s cheaper to buy it in bulk, otherwise things get pricey. There are plenty of packets of already grated cheese, or small blocks of cheese that seem tempting thanks to their low prices. But buying a bigger block of whole cheese, not grated, will actually save you a fair bit in the long run. Rather than having to buy cheap cheese each week, you could spend a little more on a bulkier block and not have to splash out again for weeks.
Things like pasta and rice are also great examples of where it really does pay to buy in bulk. You can get 2 pound bags of each that will last you months, and the best part is, they’re not even that much more than the smaller one-meal bags. True, you’d then have to lug a massive amount of pasta and rice home, but these are staple carbs that are great for a whole range of meals. You’ll always need them in stock, and this way, you won’t have to buy them again for a while.
Buy basic brands
So many people wrongly avoid basic brands, in favor of ‘name’ brands. But what most people don’t realize is that most basic brands offer exactly the same products as their more expensive alternatives.
If you don’t believe me, next time you find yourself in a supermarket, compare the two. The majority of the time, there won’t be much, if any, difference in the ingredients listed on the back of the two products. But you can be certain that there’ll be a difference in price.
In fact, often, the only thing the ‘name’ brands have to offer is more artificial flavoring and coloring. Basic brands will serve you just as well, they’ll save you money and might even be the healthier option anyway.
Cheaper can be healthier!
We often assume that it costs more to be healthy, that there aren’t many cheap healthy foods. But that’s where we’re wrong. It can even be a whole lot cheaper to eat healthily.
Think about the prices of processed meats, they’re sky high! And arguably they’re not good for us. Sure, they’re high in protein, but other than that, they’re generally quite fatty and salty. Then compare that with the cost of vegetables. You can stock up on in-season vegetables for next to nothing!
Chicken and chips might seem like a cheaper option, but when you break it down, you might find that a quickly prepared ratatouille is much better value for money, and it’ll go further too.
So to sum up, there are plenty of ways to eat at home for less, and these are just a few simple ways you can cut your shopping costs. You can save money, and eat more nutritious meals just by planning ahead for shopping trips, leveraging your leftovers, buying in bulk and not buying what you don’t need!