If you are looking for a way to reduce your spending then you might consider freezer cooking. This is a great way to stretch the grocery budget a bit further.
There are many examples where people go out of their way and buy the ingredients for a batch of freezer cooking. I am different; I think this costs more because you are looking to specifically make the meals and the money has to form part of your budget.
My way of freezer cooking is to make larger portions, bulked out with extra vegetables, when I cook meals at home, or to use ingredients that I already have on hand before I will make any specific freezer meals.
The double up method
I will typically use the same amount of meat in a dish that I am going to split, this reduces the cost of the meal, and I will include more vegetables in the meal with the knowledge that part of the meal will end in the freezer for a meal later in the month, when time is tighter.
The meals that I will double up are often meals made with mince, such as a chilli, shepherd’s pie. I make enough for two separate meals; with chilli I freeze in small individual portions because these make great lunchtime meals for my family, alternatively they are great with jacket potatoes.
Using up ingredient freezer cooking
If I have items that need using up then I consider the best way for this. If, for example, the potatoes are not looking fresh, I will cook these and once cold, freeze them. The same goes for vegetables. These will get chopped and frozen, having par-boiled some first to stop the colour changing in the freezer.
Peel bananas before freezing, I have a few unpeeled in the freezer and they take a lot of preparation time. Lesson learnt, but they are perfect for smoothies in the summer.
The freezer bargain
If I am ever in a supermarket, I am always on the lookout for those reduced items that are perfect for popping in the freezer. A full freezer is cheaper to run than an empty one, so keeping it well stocked saves money elsewhere in the budget.
The typical areas I look for bargains are the vegetable sections, the bread section and the pie and pre-made items.
A loaf of bread made into sandwiches ready for the toastie machine and easily stored in the freezer. This gives some ready-made snacks or lunchtime meal options for my family.
A pie close to the best before date is perfect for my freezer.
Never break the budget
What I always stick to is my budget; if I haven’t any money left in my grocery budget at the end of the week then I don’t buy any reduced items. This is one reason why I like to go under budget, because it gives me the chance to look for some great bargains and to get food that I normally wouldn’t buy full price; it can make for an interesting mix of food.