Back to school: 12 budget-friendly food hacks including email trick & best times to shop for yellow stickers
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Cash-strapped families are being offered tips to save money when preparing back-to-school meals for their kids. Experts have revealed 12 simple hacks to making back-to-school meals more affordable for families as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.
Research found food prices have soared by up to 130 per cent on some products in the UK, with more people than ever before feeling the pinch during the grocery shop. To help people deal with soaring prices on a tight budget, the experts have found easy-to-follow tips to save money on back-to-school meals.
Simple ideas such as using cash folders, making one-pan lunches and turning on email subscriptions can benefit families in the long run. Ashleigh Tosh from healthy online food retailer MuscleFood.com said: “For many families, it’s difficult enough to have enough food on the table for everyone and now they need to think about how they’ll cover the kids’ meals as they head back to school.
“With food prices still considerably higher than normal, it’s no wonder many are worried about how they’re going to prepare enough meals to keep the kids full. It’s shocking to learn the true nature of how much food prices have gone up in the last year. While we all know it’s been on the rise, you don’t realise to what extent.
“That’s why we wanted to offer help to those struggling on a tight budget so they don’t have to face going without.”
12 budget-friendly hacks for back to school meals
Making one-pan lunches are a quick and tasty way to make meals to feed everyone at the table. Most one-pan recipes only use a few ingredients. There is also less washing up involved which is a bonus.
Batch cook on weekends
Use Sunday nights as a prime time to cook meals for the week. Having it ready the day before makes it less stressful to prep and plan and then by batch cooking, you’re not having to spend money each day on different ingredients.
Make the most of the back of the cupboards
Go into the back of the cupboards for any tins that have been forgotten about and are still in date. Get creative in how they can fit into meals for the week.
Plan the meals
Preparing meals shouldn’t just apply to dinners, but lunches too. Having them written down makes it easier to know what you need to buy for which meals and how much it’s going to cost.
Don’t shop on an empty stomach
If you’re feeling peckish during the food shop it’s only natural to feel inclined to pop more treats into the trolley. Try and time it right so you’ve just had a meal and won’t overspend.
Use cash folders
Having the cash physically in front of you can help you divide it up and allocate it to your budget accordingly. Have a folder labelled lunch meals so you know how much you’ll need throughout the week without any nasty shocks.
Shop around for offers
Seasonal aisles in supermarkets will be full to the brim with back-to-school offers. Shop around at different ones to get the best deals possible and check online if there are any exclusive codes or discounts.
Buy loose fruit and veggies
Buying veggies based on their weight works out cheaper than pre-packed or sliced alternatives. Read the labels about the price per weight to make sure you get your money’s worth.
Last-minute dashes to the supermarket
Yellow sticker food is still great for cheap meals. As they’re still in date, pop them in the freezer and use them in meals throughout the week. Around 3pm on Sundays and 8pm on weekdays usually have the best options available.
Don’t be afraid of the freezer section
People fear buying frozen food as there’s the common myth it’s all bad for you. But many frozen items provide plenty of nutrients. Frozen veggies are an example as they are healthy to eat and can often be cheaper than pre-packed fresh alternatives.
Keep hold of leftovers
Don’t throw away leftovers from dinner, instead pop them into a seal-proof container and freeze for the next two days. If you’re running out of food for the end of the week, it’s a great way to have lunches ready for less.
Turn on email subscriptions
Supermarkets can offer discounts on first-time deliveries or they can provide a discount code to knock £20 once a month for loyal customers. Turn on email subscriptions so you don’t miss out.