If you’re anything like us, then you’ve probably got food in the cupboard/freezer that just sits there and doesn’t get used.
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We often overbuy food during our shop so we won’t be short of food again, but this leaves us with too much in the back of our cupboards.
Each week, still spend the same amount on groceries. However, it gets to the point that we can’t fit anything else in…!
Not wanting to waste any food we won’t bin it. There’s no reason to as dried/tinned foods come with best before labels. This means that the food will be at its peak before that date, but it’s perfectly acceptable to eat it afterwards.
We also buy from Approved Food regularly. So, on top of our older products, we add new food that’s already gone past its best date.
Then, there are the yellow stickers (I know, we have a bargain shopping problem!).
All this food is perfectly acceptable to eat but just seems to be gathering dust.
Everything is full
I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, but we haven’t defrosted our freezer for about two years.
I know it doesn’t run as efficiently with the ice build up, but I…I…I don’t really have an excuse for not defrosting it other than I didn’t give it much of a second thought. Well, that and it’s been chockablock with food.
Trouble is: the built-up ice is giving us less room and we can’t get any more yellow sticker bargains in there.
Something has to change!
Use it up
So, from tonight, and for as long as possible (I wonder if we can last the rest of the month?), until it empties, we are going to be having freezer/cupboard surprise for dinner.
Instead of heading to the supermarket as often, I’m going to work my way through the cupboards and freezer, using up all the food items that never usually see the light of day.
We’ve got all sort of half used bags of rice and pasta, packs of mixes we bought when they were on offer and all kinds of bits and pieces in the freezer.
I’m hoping that not only will it inspire me to make some different meals, but it will also save us a few quid in the process.
If nothing else, we can have a clear out so I can have a good clean up!
And, while I know most best before dates are perfectly fine to eat beyond the date printed, it’s good to get them used up before the end of the decade!
To keep us accountable for what we’re doing, to stay motivated, and to track our progress, we have created a challenge thread in the Reduce Your Supermarket Spend community group.
I can then track how we’re getting on and hopefully get some tips on what I can make from some of the more random items sitting at the back of our cupboards.
Fancy joining in?
Lots of people want in on this challenge and have already been sharing their own ways they are using up food.
If you want to take part, you’ll need to be a member of the Reduce Your Supermarket Spend Facebook community to see the ideas and recipes other people are creating from what’s left in the back of their cupboards.
Or feel free to share your ideas in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #useitup.
Should you join in?
While this may seem like a good idea, you need to factor in a few things before you consider joining in with the Use It Up challenge.
Yes, this is an excellent opportunity to have a clear out, but what happens when your freezer and cupboards are empty?
Do you have the spare cash to refill them or stock back up?
If you’re skint-skint having a bit of a stash is well worth it, to tide you over.
To be honest, it doesn’t matter if you’re mega-skint or not; everyone should have some kind of stockpile of store cupboard essentials in case anything happens (bad weather, an unexpected illness, Brexit?! (sorry!))
So, we are going to clear out loads, so we can have a proper clear up of our freezer and make way for new yellow sticker foods, but will make sure we keep our little stockpile in place too.
As an alternative to use up food so quickly, and something we have suggested in the past (we should really follow our own tips!!), is to add in any food sitting around to your next meal plan.
If you don’t want to have such a quick clear out, then why not look to add a freezer surprise meal once a week to your meal plan. This way, you will make extra room, and get rid of things that may not be at their peak, but you won’t run out of everything so quickly. You will still also save a little money each week as you won’t need to buy as much.
If you need some ideas to cut back on your food spending then check these out: