After strutting out of my previous job back in April, my second day in the world of self-employment was spent appearing as a thrifty, money saving ninja on BBC’s Right On The Money.
If you’ve never tuned into the show before, it’s a programme on BBC 1 presented by Dom Littlewood and one of my all time sporting heroes Denise Lewis. It’s absolutely packed with tons of different ways to save money.
I was asked along to speak about reducing food waste and cutting costs in the kitchen.
Now, I have to admit, I really don’t enjoy being in front of a camera, and I’m not ashamed to admit I was shitting a brick, sweating like a glass blowers arse, a little bit star struck at getting to meet one of my heroes.
The programme aired on Monday, but TV being TV, it was heavily edited, so I thought I’d recap on all the stuff we discussed.
Plus, due to BBC rules I wasn’t allowed to name any websites or apps that can help you to reduce your food spend and waste – no such rules here guys!
I was paired with a lovely couple who had been given a shopping task to complete.
Mum had to do a weekly bulk shop, whilst dad was sent out to shop daily to see who would spend the most. They had fell into the trap of buying expensive pre-packed and chopped vegetables and found they were throwing out an awful lot of food as well as spunking money up the wall.
Pre-packed money madness
I hate pre-packed vegetables, there, I said it.
Not only are they massively over priced, they taste like crap and nobody will convince me otherwise.
I once unintentionally upset a friend as I asked if the vegetables she had served me were pre-packed. She saw her arse and accused me of being a food snob.
Well, sorry about that petal but I could taste the plastic, my mum never once served me a pre-packed vegetable in my life growing up and I don’t use them either so I can 100% tell the difference.
I understand we work long hours in the UK, believe me I do, I pack in around 15 hours a day myself, so, to a degree, I get why people want to cut down prep in order to have some chill time left after dinner is served.
However, are you telling me there isn’t five minutes somewhere in the week to chop it yourself?
If you’re pressed for time consider investing in a food processor.
Buy your vegetables and chop them yourself, it’ll take seconds doing it this way and you’ll probably make your money back inside a month.
Here’s one I found on Amazon for less than twenty quid!
Best before, not use before
There is a huge difference between best before and use before.
Use before means it is unsafe to consume the product after the stipulated date, however, best before is, in the opinion of the manufacturer, the optimum date for that food to taste at its peak.
Let me tell you without any hesitation, ignore best before.
There is no difference in the taste that I’ve found so far, and I like to think I have a pretty decent pallet.
They have thousands of new items to choose from daily, all HEAVILY reduced.
I used them recently and was highly impressed with my saving of £52.61 from the original retail price of £90.60 – absolute bloody bargain!
Food apps and Google are your friend
Over a third of all food produced globally is thrown away as waste – Three, ridiculously, shameful quarters whilst people are starving all over the world.
That figure should strike a chord with anyone still in tune with their moral compass, it makes me fume.
Believe it or not, seven million tonnes of that comes from UK households, what’s even more irritating about that figure is most of it was still fine to eat, unfortunately it is seen as random or spare and something that can’t be used.
I get that not everyone is a natural in the kitchen, however if you have a few ingredients knocking about and you’re stuck for ideas then GOOGLE it!
There are squillions of recipes online and believe me a quick search of something like “pepper, onion, tomato recipe” will kick something back you can make.
If you’re out and about make sure you’re armed with the Too Good To Go app. In short, restaurants have signed up to the app and place heavily reduced meals on there that would have found their way into the bin, available to pick up at certain times of the day depending on their closing times.
You can pick up a restaurant quality meal for buttons, as well as preventing the food being wasted and thrown away.
If you have got something that you really aren’t going to use, but would rather someone made good use out of it than it be binned, download the OLIO app and add the food or ingredients to it and someone in your local area can come and pick it up.
Alternatively, search for ingredients you need to see if someone has it spare and is offering it out.
Selfridges spud peeling lessons – yeah seriously
I hadn’t even heard of this when the producers mentioned it, and, as you can imagine my jaw hit the floor.
Apparently Selfridges were offering spud peeling lessons (I shit you not) and my pre-packed rage was reaching fever pitch.
Have we seriously got to the point where we have such an epidemic of pre-packed madness that there are sufficient numbers with no knowledge on how to peel the humble spud that we now require lessons?
Unless you have recently landed on the planet, or are an infant, you should have received a swift kick in the nether regions on your way in.
Jesus tonight, come off it! I was handed a potato peeler for the first time aged 8, and to be perfectly honest had I never used one until age 35 as I am today, I’m fairly sure I could work it out.
Maybe we’re heading towards a generation who believe vegetables grow peeled in plastic bags, who knows?
As scared of the camera as I am, I had a blast.
Dom and Denise really are super cool and treat you as if they’ve known you their whole life – it was a fantastic experience.