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Oh no, not fish fingers for lunch AGAIN!

This week, please welcome our guest bloggers from the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, with some ideas on how to cut living costs.

How many times have you heard this cry from the kids? You’ve tried so hard to disguise them under mashed potato, baked beans, and even tomato ketchup. But there’s no getting away from the fact that a lot of the time, especially during the school holidays, we go back to making the same old meals.

Convenience leads us to do this but too often it is because we are struggling to make ends meet.

Now there’s the added concern that, with food price rises making headlines again in the UK, we’ll have to start managing our shopping habits even more carefully. The price of food and non-alcoholic drinks rose by one per cent last month alone, the biggest increase ever recorded. This will be felt most by those with several mouths to feed.

This doesn’t mean that we have to feed our families fish fingers for the next few years. You don’t need to break the bank to have variety during mealtimes and there are lots of quick and easy dishes you can prepare without breaking the budget. You just have to think creatively and look around the web to find some exciting and inexpensive dishes to make

You could also…..

  • Shop at the local market instead of the more expensive supermarkets. Shopping late afternoon is usually the best time as the traders are looking to sell off stock quickly and cheaply
  • Swap branded products for supermarket’s own brand
  • Look out for ‘buy one get one free’ bargains on food that keeps such as pasta, cereals and rice
  • Buy only enough fresh fruit and vegetables for the next couple of days so they won’t end up going off in the bottom of your fridge
  • Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season: this usually makes them cheaper. For information on what’s in season, see the Food Standards Agency’s Eatwell site
  • Learn to grow your own ingredients: if you live in a flat, plant some herbs in a window box. They’re easy to grow and a cheap way to add some extra flavour to your meals. If you have a bigger garden, try planting low-maintenance vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots.

For further tips on how to save money on food, have a look at Love Food Hate Waste.

Look at other ways to cut back on food costs too. Making your own pizza can be fun, easy to make and the kids can help too, keeping them out of trouble for an hour.

All you need to do is put some tinned tomatoes on to a ready made pizza base with some cheese and then add any of their favourite toppings. As many as you like! Then bake in the oven until golden brown. Then serve and see how quickly it disappears.

The BBC Food website for thousands of recipe ideas and is especially good when you’ve got some ingredients but no idea with what to cook.

Whatever you try we’d love to hear about your favourite fiascos or tips and tricks for making mealtimes magical – post them up!

If you are struggling with a debt problem we can help. You can visit our online debt advice facility, Debt Remedy. Debt Remedy assists you in completing a financial statement and tailored advice on the best way to deal with your situation.

Alternatively if you would like to talk through your options with one of our trained counsellors you can call our free helpline on 0800 138 1111. Lines are open Monday to Friday 08:00-20:00.

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