Having the kids home from school for the summer tends to mean one more meal a day and frequent snacking too. Here are 11 innovative ways to save on food costs, but not budget on taste

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Image: 11 ingenious ways to save money on food this summer

Photo: Amelia Crook / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: simpleprovisions


1. Do an inventory

Before you go shopping, see what already exists in the fridge so you never overbuy, particularly perishable goods like fruit, vegetables and dairy products.

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Grocery list

Photo: joe jukes / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: cupcakes2000


2. Buy in season

In season fruit and vegetables are priced to sell, so it’s a good time to buy. Blueberries, cherries, courgettes and fresh peas are in season during the summer and wonderful to add to any of your warm weather dishes.

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Strawberries, cherries, raspberries and blueberries

Photo: kaybee07 / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: kurtbudiarto


3. Switch your morning routine

Replace your morning Java with a cup of tea instead. Tea bags are generally cheaper than coffee beans and with a comparable amount of that much-needed caffeine too.

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Photo: Tom Page / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: tompagenet


4. Repackage

Empty family-size pots of dairy products like yogurt into smaller plastic containers, and place crackers and cookies in glass containers for a longer shelf life.

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Cookie jar

Photo: slgckgc / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: slgc


5. Go veggie

Replace meat protein with less expensive vegetable proteins like beans or legumes where possible. Beans and extra vegetables are lighter on the tummy and are perfect for summer casseroles or homemade chilli.

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Red beans

Photo: cookbookman17 / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: cookbookman


6. Freeze it

To reduce waste, always remember to freeze it – leftovers, meat, and even some vegetables – to reuse at a later date. Always cook a little extra too – last night’s roast chicken will make great sandwiches or stir-fries for the days that follow.

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Fridge magnets

Photo: Sarnil Prasad / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: ssp


7. Bulk buy

Buy larger quantities of staple products like grains, pasta and even olive oil. Pasta and rice are great to add to any vegetable leftovers and always good to have on hand – to make a hearty soup or even a light pasta dish or stir-fry.

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Photo: Andrew_Writer / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: dragontomato


8. Make your own

Try making your own salad dressing, or even your own breakfast granola. Olive oil and oats can be bought cheaply in large quantities and can be both made and stored in large batches too.

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Homemade granola

Photo: franzconde / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: franzconde


9. Frozen or canned

Don’t feel the pressure to follow recipes to the letter. Replace fresh vegetables for frozen or the canned variety. It’s a cheaper alternative and will most likely go unnoticed as far as your little ones are concerned.

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Frozen peas

Photo: Francis Bijl / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: frenkieb


10. Grow your own

Get green fingered this summer and try growing your own vegetables or herbs. White ends of spring onion and celery can also be replanted easily to be grown again.

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Grow your own carrots

Photo: Amelia Crook / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: simpleprovisions


11. Repetition is key

Along with using up leftovers, repeat some recipes frequently. You’ll most likely have the ingredients on hand and won’t continually need to buy specific or costly goods each time you go to cook.

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