FSA in Northern Ireland
How to survive on peanuts
We show you how to make your budget - and your food - go further, with some tips on shopping and cooking.
Money saving tips
- If possible, plan your budget: Work out how much you're going to spend on food each week and stick to it. Try to plan a shopping list based on menus.
- Store cupboard basics Always have your cupboard stocked up with long-life foods such as pasta, rice and noodles (see store cupboard essentials). Processed food is an expensive option because you are paying for the processing. It’s much cheaper to buy basic ingredients and cook from scratch.
- Supermarket own brands: Supermarket own brands such as pasta, rice, etc are cheaper alternatives to branded products. Stock up on these staples and you’ll never go hungry.
- Take advantage of special offers: Particularly on foods like tinned pulses and beans, fruit juices, etc. It’s worth going to the supermarket in the evening when some of the products are nearing the end of their use by/best before date and are marked down in price. Don’t forget you need to use them quickly, or freeze them according to instructions.
- Buy frozen or tinned fruit and veg: Tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables are good alternatives to fresh – they’re cheap and keep for ages.
- Shop around: If there’s one near you, check out the markets for cheaper fruit and vegetables.
- Shop seasonally: It makes sense to buy your vegetables and fruit when they are in season. Buying exotic fruits in the middle of winter is going to be expensive.
- Make your food go further: Base your meals around starchy foods such as potatoes. rice, pasta or bread, which are cheap and nutritious. You can make meat go further by cooking it in casseroles or stir fries with cheaper ingredients such as beans or seasonal vegetables. We’ll show you how in the recipes section.
- Got a freezer?: It can be expensive buying a different set of ingredients for every meal, so it's a good idea to cook up a batch of dishes such as chilli, curry or stew and freeze them in handy portions. If space is an issue you can put portions into freezer bags rather than plastic containers.
- Watch your waste: When you buy food that goes off quickly, plan your meals so it all gets eaten or frozen for future use. Did you know that in the UK we end up throwing away 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink every year?
- Be creative with leftovers: This doesn’t mean you eating last night’s curry for breakfast. We’ll show you how with some tasty recipes.