"It took a while to find approaches that worked for me, and I'm not a very confident cook, but my skills have gradually improved. Now I enjoy trying new recipes, and being inventive to try to use up ingredients"
When I was at a low point with my mental health, I ended up getting into debt, which made my mental health even worse. Over the years since then, I’ve developed ways that help me spend a lot less, particularly on everyday essentials like food. Saving money is really personal, and lots of what works for me might not work for others, but I’m sharing some things that I do that help me spend less, and waste almost no food:
Cooking in bulk, then freezing extra servings for future meals. This works well for things like pasta, chilli and curry. How I see it is - I cook when I’m well for my future self, who might be having a bad day and not want to cook.
Freezing (almost) anything that’s near its date. I google if I’m not sure, but most fruit, veg (except salad) and meat and dairy can be frozen. Packaging often has a snowflake symbol if they recommend it as suitable for freezing.
Searching recipe ideas by what I have in the house. There are lots of websites that let you search by ingredients, to help you use things up.
Having ingredients for easy meals in the house, so I’m less tempted to order food in when I don’t have the energy to cook. I like adding veg to pasta/rice/instant noodles, to make something quite healthy and simple.
Using my air fryer or microwave instead of the oven, as these are cheaper to run. Slow cookers are great too, and there's not too much washing up because it's in one pot.
Buying supermarket own brand items because these are almost always cheaper. It can be fun to do a blind taste test to see if you can identify the branded products. There were a few surprising ones where the supermarket versions actually tasted better.
Shopping in the evenings, when there are more reduced items, and freezing them.
Keeping an eye on the price per kilo, to compare offers and see which is actually cheaper. Supermarkets are hoping we don't look too closely at offers, and often try to draw your eyes towards more expensive products.
I used this page when I was trying to lower my grocery budget Supermarket shopping tips: tools & tricks to slash food bills - MSE (moneysavingexpert.com)
I've found Martin Lewis and the MoneySavingExpert site are very good for unbiased tips to save money.