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How to save money on family meals

If fresh fruit and vegetables are on special, research some dishes you can make with them.
If fresh fruit and vegetables are on special, research some dishes you can make with them.

MANY families struggle week-to-week to make ends meet, particularly as the bills start mounting up.

Unlike the phone and electricity, the family meal budget is one area where you can have complete control over how much you spend each week.

By following these thrifty tips, you will be surprised just how much money you can save:

  • plan your shopping list with the week’s meals in mind, so know what ingredients you need for each meal;
  • know your budget before you hit the supermarket;
  • only buy what’s on your list;
  • avoid going to the supermarket to pick something up for dinner because you will inevitably spend more money than you need to;
  • take cash only to the supermarket – leave behind your credit and eftpos cards. This will force you to stick to the budget and in the worst case you may need to leave something behind you didn’t really need anyway;
  • if fresh fruit and vegetables are on special, research some dishes you can make with them. They may not be what your family normally has but you can find some interesting dishes to make with them in your budget;
  • no waste – all leftovers can be turned into another meal;
  • if the opportunity presents itself buy in bulk and freeze;
  • bake, bake, bake – you can save a fortune by baking your family’s morning tea such as muffins, biscuits and slices. Even things like pizza dough are easy to make;
  • take the time to plant your own herbs and vegetables that you would regularly use.  Shallots, for example, you can buy from the supermarket and plant in a pot at the back door and they will continue to grow and be picked when needed, rather than have them going off in the fridge;
  • get to know your pantry – how much food do you have in there? You would be surprised that with a bit of creative cooking, you could probably feed your family for a couple of days.

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