As soon as the days get shorter, I don’t know about you but all I want to do is hibernate and eat endless delicious warm meals, most often delivered to my door direct from Deliveroo. Yet with the C-word on the horizon, it’s the time when most of us are trying to reign in the spending so here are five simple ways to eat well this autumn/winter without bulldozing through your budget.
1. Don’t panic buy
One of the easiest ways to avoid breaking the bank with your food spend is planning ahead, whether it’s a couple of days at a time or weekly. It will take you ten minutes in your week and having your dinners mapped out for the week will save you hours and money. You can do one food shop for the week and dodge the danger zones that are the price-hiked convenience stores (Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Express I’m looking at you).
2. Supersize your cooking
Food shopping for one isn’t particularly easy given that the more you buy of something, usually the less you’ll pay relatively. In addition, you often don’t need the full amount of many ingredients, such as herbs and vegetables, so end up with a lot of unused food going off in your fridge. The solution? Cook a full portion - often recipes will cater to two or four - and freeze the extra portions for a rainy day when you can’t be bothered to cook. This works especially well with wintery meals like bolognese and chilli, which you can defrost in a matter of minutes when you fancy them.
3. Shop seasonally
A double win here: not only does seasonal produce cost less, but it’s more sustainable. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ll know that sustainability is a hot topic at the moment and one quick way to save money and up your sustainability credentials is shopping locally and seasonally. Aubergine curry, anyone?
4. Go back to basics
Food trends come and go, however there are some cupboard staples which are eternally reliable, super affordable and will keep you nourished through the winter. Porridge is one of my favourite breakfasts of all time, with endless possibilities of toppings to suit every taste. Potatoes may have been put out of fashion by their sweeter sibling, but potatoes are a great option for a low cost dinner.
5. Store snack supplies in your desk
When it’s cold and dark, totally avoiding mid afternoon snacks is not often an option and historically, I’ve frequently ended up spending a small fortune on delicious snacks from the nearest coffee shop to get through the last few hours of the day. Beat this spend by buying multipacks of your favourite snacks - healthy or not, you choose - then keep a supply stored in your office draw. An extra benefit on top of the cost cutting is that you won’t have to leave your office and brave the cold!