Budgeting Tips for Families

Budgeting Tips for Families

When you’re trying to get a hold on your finances as a parent, it can feel really overwhelming! Take a look at these budgeting tips for families, and see if any of these changes could help you.

adult affection baby casual
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Check your Food Bill!

One of the biggest outlays as a family has GOT to be the food budget!

You can combat this a few ways. Firstly, you can check which supermarket works out cheaper for what you usually buy. It’s also a really good idea to write up a weekly food plan, to organise not only what you’re going to cook, but the ingredients you need, so that you don’t end up adding lots of extras you wont need.

Another of our tips is to do batch cooking!


Buy Secondhand!

Don’t turn your nose up at the idea of buying things second hand.

Not only can you save an absolute fortune on things that are often still brand new with the tags, you’ll also be playing a part in helping the Earth too!

Whether it’s clothes, shoes, toys, books, home decor or more, you’re sure to be able to find what you need on sites such as Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, Depop, Vinted and in real life places like Charity Shops and your local Car Boot Sale.


Keep an Eye on Subscriptions

Trust me, we’ve been there…

You’ve got subscriptions coming out of your eyeballs for services you’re not even sure you know exist. Whether it’s streaming services, monthly game payments or something else, make sure to do a monthly check up of what you and your kids are subscribed to.

The smaller payments add up!



Utilise FREE Days Out

It’s easy to feel like you should be providing your children with magical and expensive days out, but actually there are so many places out there that are either minimal cost for parking or are free.

Local parks, splash pads, forests, rivers, community pools. They’re all there to be used and enjoyed. And packing a picnic will save you on money spent eating out too.

Most councils will throw free events during holidays, so keep your eye out for those.


Vouchers

Sometimes vouchers through the post can get annoying, but it’s definitely worth paying attention to ones that will be of use to you at some point. Whether it’s Healthy Start vouchers, that help with the costs of milk, fruit and veg, or toy catalogue vouchers for birthdays and Christmas, a voucher can really help at times when you’re struggling.


Reward Cards

Reward cards such as Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage Card and Nectar Card will build points for you on your usual shopping, which then eventually turn into useful points or cash for you in return.

Don’t underestimate how much you can build on these by simply remembering to use them each time you shop. Even if you forgot about them all year, you could utilise the rewards each year at Christmas.


Saving a Small Amount each Week

Having a large amount of money readily available when it comes to Christmas or birthdays is often overwhelming to consider, so why not try popping away a small amount each week. You can either stick to a set amount and track it, or you can adjust and add more when you can.


Don’t Go OTT at Christmas & Birthdays

I did a post about Budget Kids’ Birthdays, and I feel very passionate about this one. You DO NOT need to put yourself into debt to show your child that you care, or that their day is magical.

Buying used, prioritising one main present, homemade decs, recycled decs, less wrapping… All the small changes add up to big savings.


hands people friends communication
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Books on a Budget

Books on a Budget

If you are an avid reader, but your finances feel like they can’t stretch right now, here are a few ideas for how to get hold of books on a budget.

pile of assorted novel books
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Where to start?

Let me start by saying that I am the ultimate devourer of the paper adventure. There is nothing I love more than to open up a book and disappear inside, only to return once satiated, and I am a believer that during times of financial difficulty it is especially important to try and keep something joyful, so let’s see how we can start to keep books within the budget.

The Library

An oldie, but forever a goody!

If you aren’t already, then get yourself signed up to your local library. You will save a fortune!

Second Hand Books

One of the best ways to really lower the cost of a book you want, is to check and see if you can find it second hand/used.

One of my favourite places to look first is World of Books. This is a fantastic, used book website and they’re also one of the greenest second hand book places too!

Of course, there’s also a vast amount of hidden treasure, real life, second hand book stores in most towns, so it’s worth taking the time to do a good search! These places always feel truly magical to me. I could waste days in them, drinking coffee and travelling the world of the paperback.



Amazon

There are numerous ways you can use Amazon to your advantage when it comes to looking for cheaper books.

Used Books: When you search for a book you want on Amazon, you may or may not have noticed the ‘from ** used and new’ section. If you click through into this section, you can find used versions of the books, along with the condition they are in.

Cheaper Books: In the exact same way as searching for the used books above, you can also see how cheap you can get the book from marketplace sellers, just look under the ‘new’ condition.

Kindle First Reads/Unlimited: If you sign up to Kindle Unlimited for the free 30 day trial (£7.99 a month after), you can get your hands on SO many books and it works out so cheap in comparison to physical book buying! Even if you just sign up for your 30 day free trial, that is FREE books.

Book Depository

Book depository are an amazing resource for newer books at the cheapest end of the market. You can also click through from your Quidco cashback app and earn cashback when you buy too!

Charity Shops

You’ll often find a pile of unloved books in your closest charity shop. Buying from a charity shop is great for both bargain finds AND helping a charity too!

Marketplace Bundles

Have you checked Facebook Marketplace? There are usually people trying to get rid of car boot style bundles of books. If you’re happy to mix your reading up a little, this can be a fabulous way of getting a whole bundle of reads for little money.



Cashback Apps

I did briefly mention Cashback apps above when shopping with Book Depository, but it reminded me that there are numerous places you can shop through with them that sell books!

It’s such a great way to recoup some of the spend.

Book Swaps

Are you friend with a group of book lovers too?!

Why not use the opportunity to mix up your reading repertoire by setting up a fun, book swap every now and again?! Most people are happy to share reads that they have enjoyed, just make sure to look after the ones that aren’t yours!


light inside library
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5 Monthly Outgoings to Check

5 Monthly Outgoings to Check

When you’re trying to get your finances under control, it’s important to check on your outgoings, but some will save you more than others. Here are the 5 monthly outgoings you should check first!

crop payroll clerk counting money while sitting at table
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

1. Utility Bills

Gas/Electric… Have you checked whether switching would save you money?! You will sometimes find you can save a HUGE chunk of money by switching, and if you do it all through a Cashback App, you could even earn another chunk of money on top too!

2. Broadband

Here’s where again, you could potentially make a huge saving. It’s sometimes super easy to forget about who is providing our internet, as we spend so much time on it, and as long as it works we don’t have to think much about it. But maybe we should be? Is this somewhere you could save? It’s definitely worth checking!

3. TV Subscription Services

In today’s world, we all have SO many TV options available, and often end up purchasing beyond what we even use, just because it’s ‘only £10 a month’ . But how much are these subscriptions adding up to?

If like us you have ended up with Sky, Netflix, Prime, Disney+ and more, all at once, then I urge you to think about which of them you actually use, because a little money here and a little money there adds up in the end.

4. Phone Bill

So I think we can agree that a lot of us now own a mobile phone that we pay for monthly. But are you paying too much?

Instead of going for a phone upgrade the second it’s available, try taking your phone you already own, that works perfectly well, and keeping it on a sim only subscription. This can reduce your phone bill dramatically, with the exact same package you had previously, just without the brand new phone.

Mine went from £75 a month to £20. That is MASSIVE.

5. Water Bill

Whilst the amount you pay for your water will be undebatable with the water company, you CAN reduce your water bill by switching to showers where possible, and thinking about using less by switching off taps sooner, not letting them drip and not flushing more than you need to.


For extra income ideas for parents, click here.
For ways to earn extra cash, quickly, click here.
Cheap and Healthy Food Ideas for the Family | Save and Earn Blog

FREE Christmas Savings Tracker PDF

FREE Christmas Savings Tracker PDF

Looking to keep track of your Christmas savings in the run up to the big day? Then try our Christmas Savings Tracker.

tracker for christmas savings

Feel free to download our FREE Christmas Savings Tracker PDF to help you keep track of how much you’ve saved, and to keep an eye on your goal amount.

Setting your target amount is a great way to really get a focus, and help you to stay in the zone. And with the cute, colourable pictures, it adds an element of fun to keeping track of your Christmas finances. We are all big kids deep down, aren’t we?

Here are 48 Christmas Money Saving Tips.

The Christmas Savings Tracker


Download and save as many of these as you need! Trackers are such a good way to keep focused on your savings goals, and they add a slight element of fun too haha, who doesn’t love colouring in?!


If you need ideas for ways to earn cash quickly (helpful for the big day!) then click here!

Christmas food shopping is another place to consider Branded vs Unbranded and different supermarket shopping!

Extra Income Ideas and Ways to Save for Parents

Extra Income Ideas and Ways to Save for Parents

Looking for extra income ideas and ways to save for parents? Read on for some suggestions.

*post contains affiliate links from which we make a small commission or receive a referral fee.

Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava from Pexels

Making Extra Money

There are a few ways you can bring in extra cash without having to compromise on your time with the kids too much. Here are some suggestions.

Matched Betting

Matched betting is one of what I consider the easiest ways to earn extra cash for doing… not much of anything!
It’s hard to explain how you do matched betting, it’s basically utilising the free bets that bookies offer in order to guarantee financial gain, and there’s no risk of financial loss because it’s all so finely calculated. I always direct people in the direction of the Profit Accumulator website, as for me this was priceless for learning very thoroughly how it all works.

You get a free trial when you first sign up, so you’ll even be able to make a profit during the free trial in case you’re concerned about a paid subscription straight away.

I find putting in barely 30 mins in an evening can make me an extra £300-£400 a month… and that’s me barely putting in any time!

Definitely worth a go if you’re limited on time!


Selling your Unwanted Items/Re-Selling

You could consider giving your home a de-clutter and sell items you no longer want or need. Selling them online on websites and apps like eBay, Depop and Vinted can be a great way to boost your income and put money towards things like household bills, holidays or birthdays. Many people do this with their unwanted clothes or children’s bits that they have outgrown or don’t play with, but it’s also fun to dig through charity shops, car boots and FB Marketplace for cheap bundles that you can split and re-sell for a profit.

You could snap a few pictures on your phone and then upload them when you had a few minutes to write a description and set a price.

Mystery Shopping

Sign up to become a mystery shopper, and you could get paid to do your regular food shopping and eating out!

Online Surveys

While there isn’t a lot of money in completing online surveys, if you’re of the mindset that every little helps, then it’s a good way to slowly add in a little, just by using a bit of spare time here and there completing surveys. Often you can do this from your phone, which I think makes it even easier around the kids and a busy life.

Using Cashback Apps

Apps like Quidco and Top Cashback will pay you money for your regular shopping, purely through clicking through from their app before you checkout.

We renovated our kitchen and got £300 in cashback. THREE HUNDRED POUNDS that would have otherwise not have been seen, but we would have bought all of the products regardless!

Don’t underestimate how much money you can get back through cashback.

You can also receive large chunks of cashback for performing money saving searches and insurance searches through them too!

Changes you can make at Home to Save

There is no denying that taking a long hard look at your finances is never going to be a comfortable thing to do. Many people find discussing finances hard. No matter what your relationship and thoughts are towards money, taking control is one of the easiest ways to make more of your income. There are savings to be made and being a little savvier with the income coming in can massively boost the money you have to spend.

Making savings on your current outgoings

Often we can forget that our current outgoings don’t need to stay the same month in month out and it is healthy to check over them and ensure you are only paying out what is necessary.

Maybe you are paying a top price for a TV package you don’t use. Or you might be paying for a streaming service that doesn’t get watched. We can also be guilty of forgetting to cancel direct debits for monthly subscriptions or gym memberships we don’t use. Make a point of regularly checking your bank statements, and adjusting them accordingly.

It’s also worth using comparison websites to see if you could be saving on your household bills and insurances.

These small outgoings can really add up.

Take Control of the Food Shop

After your mortgage or rental payment, were you aware that your biggest bill and outgoing can be the cost of your food each week?

Some households and families go shopping once a week for their main shop, but may also head back to the store a few times during the week to top up.

Don’t forget those take-aways on the weekend and lunch costs while out and about and your overall spend on food can be astronomical.

However, if you plan things a little better, you can ensure that you keep the costs down and still have fun.

One of the best ways to do that would be to plan your meals. Take some time at the beginning of the week before you do your main shop, and plan out what you will eat for the week. It may sound boring, but doing this, along with writing a list of everything that you need can significantly reduce what you spend. It also takes out the stress of putting a meal together during the week, especially on busy evenings when the whole family may have a lot on.

It’s also worth considering Batch Cooking to save money.

Cashback and Coupons

I mentioned Cashback Apps above, but also remember that coupons can be a fantastic way to lower the costs of essential purchases too! Along with rewards cards like Boots Advantage card, Tesco Clubcard and Nectar Card, your coupons and card rewards can really add up to a significant saving.

Kids Birthdays/Neccessities

I did a whole post recently on how to work with a budget on kids birthdays, and a big part of that is considering buying second hand when kids want/need something. Check out the post for more information!


What I think is so important to remember when looking for ways to save an extra income potential is that every little helps.

Saving only 25p? Making only £3… all of the little amount add up, I promise you. Little by little you can build and save.


Giveaway July 21 | Win a Marks and Spencer Hamper

Giveaway July 21 | Win a Marks and Spencer Hamper

How does the chance to win a Marks and Spencer hamper sound?!

I know as well as anyone that when your budget is tight and you’ve minus money, that you have to let go of thinking about luxuries.

So how does a giveaway sound?!

Me and lots of my amazing, fellow bloggers have decided to get together to giveaway this stunner of a hamper (worth £50!) from Marks and Spencers.

You’ll get the chance to win this stunning hamper full of self care deliciousness for you or someone you love, and it wont cost a penny!

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is to go down to the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post, login and complete one or more of the tasks! (Each task is worth an entry, so the more you do the more chances you have to win), and on top of that if you tweet about the raffle through the Rafflecopter widget too, you’ll automatically earn another FIVE entries! How good is that?!

So have fun and get entering!

The Bloggers

The following bloggers have teamed up to bring you this giveaway. Please support them by giving them a visit. Family Loving Life | Vegan Book | Nishi V | Mums The Wurd | The Heaton Fam | Dharma Advise| Easy Meals For Busy Mums | Helen Craddock | Gin and Gemini | Discount Days Outs | Skinny Spending | Jan’s Family Notebook | Joyful Simple Living | Save and Earn | Best 4 Mum | Toothbrush Packed | Frugal Me Free | Mums Guide To Life | Keene On Travel | Keene On Saving | Thrifty Princess | Our House Our Home | The Family Cookbook | Savvy Squirrel | Doing The Impcosible | A Little Life Of Lovely | Moneypot Locations | The London Way | Cashlee | My Tech Savvy Friend | Best France Vacations | The London Map | Birds and Lilies | Mrs Money Pot | Wake Up Its MondayGood Life And Mind | Five Ways To | Lula Grace | My Tunbridge Wells | Travel Bugs | Naija Lift | Bossy Girl | On The Soapbox | Bake More Cake | Johnsons Savings | Foody Thoughts | Vitaflex Lifestyle | Thrifty and Minimalist | Richer and Simpler Life | Dot Ranker | Freelancer Kit | Bloor | Our Life Interrupted | Blondarina | Car Magazine | Lifestyle Saving Techniques | Coffee and Life | Lukeosaurus and Me | You and Your Day | Life Changing Side Hustle | Hellaswell | FeliFamily | Pots of Pennies | Earning By The Sea | Manifest with LOA | Lockdown House | Frugal and Fun | Active Gardening | Travel Around Planet | Mudpies and Rainbows | Adventures In Reselling | Your Blogger | Thrifty Husband | A Thrifty Gamer | The Mini Millionaire | Reduced Grub | The Travelling Type 

 

This month we are giving away A Cosy Night In Gift Box worth £50. (This prize is subject to availability, and should it no longer be available then the winner can choose another hamper from Marks and Spencer worth £50)

Gift Contents

  • Calm gift set includes- Calm Body Wash (60ml), Calm Hand Cream (30ml), Calm Body Lotion (60ml), Calm Pulse Point Oil (10ml), Calm Fragranced Candle (60g)
  • Salted caramel hot chocolate flakes (160g)
  • Belgian chocolate biscuit pearls (210g)
  • Restore bath salts (300g)
  • Single origin Dominican Republic 46% cocoa milk chocolate (100g)
  • Mug
  • Gift box

Terms and conditions

1. There is one top prize of the £50 gift hamper.
2. There are no runner up prizes.
3. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding all bloggers involved with running the giveaway
4. Closing date for entries is midnight on 22.07.21
5. The same Rafflecopter widget appears on all the blogs involved, but you only need to enter on one blog
6. Entrants must log in to the Rafflecopter widget, and complete one or more of the tasks – each completed task earns one entry in the prize draw
7. Tweeting about the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget will earn five bonus entries into the prize draw.
8. 1 winner will be chosen at random.
9. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days with their delivery address, or a replacement winner will be chosen.
10. The winners’ names will be published in the Rafflecopter widget (unless the winner objects to this).
11. The prizes will be despatched within 14 days of the winner confirming their address.
12. The promoter is Drew Media LTD t/a www.MakeMoneyWithoutAJob.com
13. By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions

Enter now

Simply complete any or all of the Rafflecopter entry widget options below to be entered. You can also tweet about the giveaway daily to earn bonus entries. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Save Money on Crafts Using Recycling

Save Money on Crafts Using Recycling

Do you have craft loving kids, but can’t afford the outlay on craft supplies, read ahead for all about how to save money on crafts using recycling bin stuff!

Photo by Lisa from Pexels

Digging in your recycling bin can be a really good way to provide supplies for crafts when you’re on a budget. Whether it’s toilet roll tubes, milk bottles, tin cans or newspaper, there are so many uses for so many things you would consider waste.

Here’s a collection of ideas I’ve found.



Children’s Crafts Using Recycling

Build a Bug Hotel

Build a Bug Hotel from your Recycling – Lukeosaurus & Me

This great instructional by Lukeosaurus & Me uses old, tin cans to build a bug hotel!

Toilet Roll Tube Animals

Toilet Paper Roll Animal Crafts – Red Ted Art

There are endless blog posts about the whole array of animals you can make from a toilet roll tube, but this is a fantastic collection from Red Ted Art!

How many will you try?!



Toilet Roll Cuff Bracelets

This tutorial from The Heaton Family teaches you how to make Snake Cuff Bracelets from toilet roll tubes is also a fantastic use of your recycling!

The kids absolutely LOVE having their cool bracelets to wear after!

Create a Hanging Garden

This tutorial from We are Teachers shows you how to make a hanging planter from a plastic bottle! Such a great way to re-use plastics.

Recycled Materials Flowers

Recycled Garden Activity – We are Teachers

Another FANTASTIC activity from We are Teachers for getting creative with recycling! Creating beautiful flowers!

Egg Carton Flowers

Egg Carton Flowers – Easy Peasy and Fun

How sweet are these Egg Carton Flowers from Easy Peasy and Fun?! Another great use of recycling.

Recycled Water Bottle Flowers

Water Bottle Flowers – Kid Friendly Things to do.

Here is a way to use the bottom of any plastic bottles you have hanging around!

Cereal Box Puppet Theatre

Cereal Box Puppet Theatre – Red Ted Art

Another great one from Red Ted Art! A way to use those cereal boxes, and entertain the kids at the same time!


There’s a quick selection of options for how to use bits and bobs in your recycling to do crafts with your kids, but there is the largest collection of options at your fingertips online!

Such a great way to save pennies, but still be able to give your kids an amazing crafting experience.


Did you see our Budget Friendly Breakfasts?
Do you need to earn extra cash quickly?

Supermarket Savings Branded vs Unbranded

Supermarket Savings Branded vs Unbranded

It’s easy to wonder how 20p here or 10p there can make that much of a difference, so I’m here to discuss the reality of supermarket savings Branded vs Unbranded, and differing supermarkets too!

Photo by Carlo Martin Alcordo from Pexels

Comparing

I think it’s so easy to fall into the belief of supermarket superiority, but it can really hold you back from sticking to a budget when you’re struggling financially.

All supermarkets off their own branded stuff, but are they all as cheap? The answer is of course no.

You may be shopping at Sainsbury’s and used to buying branded, so when you check on their own branded stuff, you think WOW, this is great, it’s so much cheaper. But you absolutely could be saving more by shopping somewhere else.

I wanted to pop together a comparison shopping list done with mostly branded or luxury range at one supermarket, and then the same shop done on a budget at some others.


Shame and Superiority

Listen, there is no shame in shopping at ANY supermarket, no matter what the mean kids told you in school. And NO supermarket makes you any better either.

You shop where you need to, and you should do it with zero shame.


THE COMPARISON SHOPPING LIST

Ocado

  • Kellogg’s Coco Pops 480g £3.00
  • Kellogg’s Special K Original 500g £3.00
  • Flavahan’s Porridge Oats 1kg £2.30
  • Warburton’s White Toastie 800g £1.15
  • Warburton’s Wholemeal Bread 800g £1.10
  • Flora Sunflower Spread 500g £1.30
  • Houghton Sliced Ham 300g £3.49
  • Ocado Semi Skimmed 4 Pints £1.10
  • Ocado Beef Mince 750g £5.60
  • Ocado Brown Onions x 3 £0.95
  • Dolmio Bolognese Sauce £1.49
  • M&S Spaghetti £0.75
  • Munch Bunch Double Up Fromage Frais x 4 £1.65
  • Wotsits Multipack x 6 £1.50
  • Hula Hoops Multipack x 6 £1.70
  • Robinsons Squash 1.75ltr £3.00
  • 160 Bags Yorkshire Tea £3.50
  • Ocado 12 Large Free Range Eggs £2.05

TOTAL: £38.63

Aldi

  • Harvest Morn Choco Rice 375g £0.69
  • Harvest Morn Original Benefit 500g £0.95
  • Everyday Essentials Porridge Oats 1kg £0.75
  • Village Bakery White Toastie Bread 800g £0.49
  • Everyday Essentials Wholemeal Bread 800g £0.36
  • Sunflower Spread 500g £0.69
  • Ashfield Cooked Ham 300g ££1.09
  • Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints £1.09
  • Ashfield Farm Beef Mince 1kg £4.79 (bigger than Ocado)
  • Nature’s Pick Brown Onions x 3 £0.55
  • Cucina Bolognese Sauce 500g £0.49
  • Everyday Essentials Spaghetti £0.20
  • Brooklea Double Delights Fromage Frais x 4 £0.99
  • Snackrite Cheese Puffs Multipack x 10 £0.85
  • Snackrite Hoops Multipack x 8 £0.99
  • Sun Quench Squash 1.5ltr £0.79
  • Diplomat 160 Tea Bags £1.09
  • Merevale 12 Large Free Range Eggs £1.75

TOTAL: £18.60

ASDA

  • Choco Snaps 550g £1.40
  • Special Flakes 500g £1.04
  • Smart Price Porridge Oats 1kg £0.75
  • Asda Toastie White 800g £0.58
  • Asda Wholemeal Bread 800g £0.58
  • Asda Sunflower Spread 500g £0.79
  • Asda Ham 400g £1.59
  • Asda Semi Skimmed 4 Pints £1.09
  • Asda Beef Mince 1kg £4.79
  • Asda Brown Onions x 3 £0.58
  • Asda Bolognese Sauce 500g £0.58
  • Asda Spaghetti £0.50
  • Munch Bunch Fromage Frais x 4 £1.50 (no unbranded alternative)
  • Cheesy Wiggles Multipack x 6 £0.88
  • Potato Loops Multipack x 6 £0.88
  • AsdaSquash 1.5ltr £1.00
  • Yorkshire Tea Bags 160 £3.50
  • Asda 12 Large Free Range Eggs £1.98

TOTAL: £24.01

I also did the same shop on the following sites too to see how it worked out on the main supermarkets…

Sainsbury’s

TOTAL : £22.11

Tesco

TOTAL: £25

Morrisons

TOTAL: £24.46


Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

The Results…

Now, keep in mind that it will differ based on what your usual order is, but I was shocked to see that the second cheapest supermarket for my list was, in fact, Sainsbury’s! I 100% thought it would be Aldi, then Asda.

So never assume!

The difference between £38.63 and £18.60 is huge for the same items (more than double). So if you’re wanting to save money, or you’re on a tight budget THIS is a prime example of how important it is to consider where you food shop!


Remember to always use your rewards card like Nectar and Clubcard where possible too!


Check out our tips for earning extra cash quickly, and also how to save money by batch cooking.

Batch Cooking to Save Time and Money

Batch Cooking to Save Time and Money

If you’re looking for family oriented budgeting solutions, I whole heartedly recommend batch cooking to save time and money!

Photo by Gagan Kaur from Pexels

Batch cooking works for multiple reasons. The first being that we can get better pricing per weight or multiple buy offers if we buy in larger amounts. This will be where the first saving is.

That will mean that if you were to divide the cost of the batch per mouths it feeds, the cost will be lower.

But another bonus to the batch cooking method, is of course that it will save busy families a significant amount of time and mental energy thinking of what to cook every evening! It will also stop you feeling like you need to order take-away on those days you can’t be bothered to cook anything from scratch.

So here are some of our favourite go-to batch meals. And remember the idea is to let them cool and then freeze them to use at a later date! So make sure you have some good freezer boxes ready!


Bolognese

Bolognese is a staple meal in our house. Mostly with spaghetti, but also sometimes with homemade, chunky chips!
Here’s how I quickly batch cook enough for LOADS of meals.

Photo by Klaus Nielsen from Pexels

Method

  • Heat a VERY large pan and add a small amount of oil.
  • Dice the onions and add them to the pan. Cook them for a few minutes until softened (but not brown).
  • Add your mince, making sure to keep breaking it up as it browns. Fry for a while until it’s starting to look mostly browned/cooked.
  • Sprinkle over the beef stock and stir.
  • Add in the jars of bolognese sauce, making sure add a little water to each jar, shake it to get the remainders of sauce out and pour the water into the pan too. (Don’t add tons of water, we aren’t filling the jars to the top, we are simply rinsing out the extra sauce in the jars, but if your sauce doesn’t seem enough for the amount of mince, add a little extra water).
  • Stir, and leave to boil
  • Once boiling, lower to a simmer and leave the lid off of the pan.
  • Leave to simmer for 1-2 hours on low. This will really intensify the flavour and boil out any extra water!

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Ingredients

Serve with

Method

  • Heat a large pan and fry chicken till it’s mostly browned.
  • Add the curry paste and stir.
  • Add in your beans and sweetcorn, and then pour in your coconut milk and stir until all combined.
  • Bring to a boil, and then leave to simmer on low for an hour.
  • Serve with rice!

Meatball Ragu

Possibly one of our easiest/laziest meals in that, there’s no chopping or prep work, you just throw it in the pan and leave it. Definitely the kids’ favourite though!

Photo by Gary Barnes from Pexels

Method

  • Heat very large pan, add oil.
  • Add all of your meatballs, and fry. Make sure to keep stirring, but gently as meatballs love to fall to pieces. If you have a Ninja foodie or a large oven tray, you can pre bake them instead to prevent them falling to pieces.
  • Once they’re mostly browned, pour over the sauce, using the same water method I mentioned in the bolognese recipe to clear out the jars.
  • If adding sweetcorn, do that now.
  • Bring to the boil, and then with the lid off of the pan (sorry in advance for all the wall splats), leave to simmer for 1-2 hours. It will intensify the flavours and make it so much richer!

Mince & Gravy

Basically this is the sauce part of a cottage pie, which means you have a ready made filling for cottage pie, if that’s what you choose to do with it. In our family we make the mince filling and just serve with mash, because we like to cut down on time where we can (and pot washing).

Ingredients

Serve With

Method

  • Heat a very large pan and add a little oil.
  • Dice onions and add to pan. Fry until soft but not browned.
  • Add mince, and keep breaking it apart as it’s browning.
  • Once the mince is almost fully brown, add the carrots, peas and sweetcorn and then cover everything with boiling water, until just covered.
  • Cook for around 30 minutes with a lid on. Keep stirring to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.
  • After 30 minutes, gradually add your gravy granules. There is no set amount of gravy to add, which is why it needs doing gradually as you stir. You want to get it rich and full of flavour, but not so thick it’s no longer a sauce!
  • Serve with your mash straight away, or turn it into a cottage pie by adding to an oven dish, topping with the mash, sprinkling cheese on top and baking for 40 minutes at 180c.


Now you’ve sorted dinner, try out our Breakfasts on a Budget
Are you looking to make some extra cash, quickly?

Budget Friendly Breakfasts (that aren’t cereal)

Budget Friendly Breakfasts (that aren’t cereal)

Bored of cereal? Try these budget friendly breakfasts for something new and tasty, without breaking the bank!

I don’t know about you, but breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I don’t think it gets the love that it deserves.
Honestly, who couldn’t love all of the porridge (oatmeal), pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and more?!

So if you’ve been feeling stuck in a morning rut of cereal, and you’d like to jazz it up a little, without breaking the budget, why not try some of the ideas below?

cooed food
Photo by Alexander Mils on Pexels.com

Looking for easy meals for busy mums?!


Porridge/Oatmeal

Wherever you live in the world, and whatever you call it, porridge and it’s many many ways of being served isn’t just delicious, nutritionally rich and versatile as funk, it’s also super cheap if you buy the supermarket, cheap oats! (ASDA Smartprice Oats £0.75)

I’m always surprised at the amount of people who turn their nose up at the thought of porridge! You need to try jazzing your porridge up folks! Cook up your porridge as per instructions (I like mine thick, so 1 part oats to 2 parts milk/water and microwaved for 2mins), and then look at the suggestions below.

Remember that the ingredients you buy will do more than one serving!

PB & Chocolate Porridge

Mix in to your porridge
– Cocoa Powder (ASDA Cocoa Powder £1.79)
– Honey (ASDA Smartprice Honey £0.85)

Toppings
– Dark Chocolate (ASDA Dark Chocolate £0.85)
– Peanut Butter (ASDA Smooth Peanut Butter £0.92)
– Drizzle of Honey (Optional)

White Chocolate & Strawberry Porridge

Mix into your porridge
– Vanilla Essence (ASDA £0.69)
– Honey (See first recipe for link)
OR
– White Chocolate Flavour Drops (MYPROTEIN White Choc FlavDrops 50ml £5.99), but you only use tiny drops, so the bottle lasts a LONG time and you can use Quidco to shop!)

Toppings
– White Chocolate (ASDA White Chocolate £1.00)
– Strawberries (ASDA Farmstores Strawberries £1.00)
OR
– Strawberry Jam (ASDA Strawberry Jam £0.65)

Toffee & Dark Chocolate Porridge

Mix into your porridge
– Salted Caramel Flavouring (ASDA Cornish Sea Salted Caramel Natural Flavouring £1.25)
– Honey (See first recipe)
OR
– Toffee Flavour Drops (MYPROTEIN Toffee FlavDrops £5.99) again this bottle will last a LONG time.

Toppings
– Dark Chocolate (ASDA Dark Chocolate £0.85)
– Toffee Sauce (Askey’s Toffee Sauce £1.00)



Fancy Toast

Toast is forever a winner, even plain buttered. But check out these jazzier ideas for something slightly more interesting.

Peanut Butter & Jam

Toast (ASDA Square Cut Medium White Bread £0.49)

Toppings
– Peanut Butter (ASDA Smooth Peanut Butter £0.92)
– – Strawberry Jam (ASDA Strawberry Jam £0.65)

Sausage & Egg Bagel

Toasted Bagel (ASDA Bagels £0.79)

Toppings
– Butter (ASDA Sunflower Spread £0.79)
– Sausage Patty (ASDA Sausage Patties £2.50 for 6)
– Fried Egg (ASDA 6 Medium Free Range Eggs £0.88)


Check out these 10 Ways to Save Money before the end of the month.

crop payroll clerk counting money while sitting at table
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Pancakes

Pancakes can seem daunting until you take them on and get to grips with the cooking. You CAN save money overall by cooking your own, but I feel like it doesn’t always work out for everyone, so for the below suggestions I’m going to link you to some cheap and easy, premade ones.

Just pop them in the toaster before you add the toppings!

pancakes with sliced strawberries on top
Photo by Nadi Lindsay on Pexels.com

White Chocolate & Strawberry Pancakes

Pancakes (ASDA Plain Pancakes £1.00)

Toppings
– Strawberries (ASDA Farmstores Strawberries £1.00)
– White Chocolate Chips (ASDA White Chocolate Chips £0.50)
– Squirty Cream (ASDA Squirty Cream £1.09)


Full English

a kid cooking eggs
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

So here we will be trying to budget down the Full English, cooked breakfast!

– Sausage (ASDA Farmstores Pork Sausages £0.80)
– Bacon (ASDA Farmstores Smoked Back Bacon £0.99)
– Fried Eggs (ASDA 6 Medium Free Range Eggs £0.88)
– Baked Beans (ASDA Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce £0.29)
– Hash Browns (ASDA Hash Browns £0.84)
– Toast (ASDA Square Cut Medium White Bread £0.49)


Yoghurt & Granola

This is a really easy breakfast, on top of trying to budget too! Just throw it all in a bowl and you’re good to go.

Yoghurt (ASDA Greek Style Yoghurt BIG TUB £0.69)
– Granola (ASDA Honey Nut Crunch Cereal £1.20)
– Strawberries (ASDA Farmstores Strawberries £1.00)

red strawberry and raspberry on white ceramic bowl
Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

So there you have a few new ways to jazz up a mundane breakfast! And because some of these use cheat products like ready made pancakes, it actually means they aren’t likely to be that much more difficult than your usual breakfast!

What’s your favourite breakfast? Let me know and I’ll see if I can create a money saving version!