First up, two links I found today with a money saving theme-
Five products you can get for less this month-https://homes.yahoo.com/news/5-products-deep-discount-april-162008234.html
If spring has you wanting to decorate your home, this might be of some use-https://shine.yahoo.com/at-home/10-easy-ways-decorate-less-193400078.html
As many of you know I’m working on a budget focused cookbook and as I’ve been developing and working my way through the recipes I’ve learned even more about cooking and eating on a budget. Here are some things I’ve discovered-
Homemade Isn’t Always the Best or Cheapest
One chapter of the cookbook focuses on foods you’re better off making at home rather than store bought. However, it’s not always true. Besides factoring in cost and your time, also take into consideration if you like the store brand better. If you don’t like, you won’t eat something you make than it’s a waste of money. An example here is refried beans. I tried to make my own three times and each time just didn’t like them as much as the ones I buy in cans.
Cook Lots of Things At Once
Saving money on food isn’t just about the ingredients; you have to factor in the cost to cook the food too. Some days I’ve been testing four or five recipes at a time and I made sure that when the oven was on, it was full of a couple of things, maybe a casserole and some scones, or a pizza crust and a cake. Plan ahead. I’ve also been cooking things like lentils and rice in the oven so I can have them on hand for recipes I’m testing later in the week.
Plan Meals around Leftover Ingredients
A couple of recipes have left me with egg whites. Deserts are perfect for using up these sorts of items. The egg whites became meringue nests that I filled with canned fruit. Leftover pasty became jam tarts. Also, if you use them straight away there’s less chance you’ll put them in the fridge and forget about them.
Think Seasons Ahead
When you’re testing recipes on a schedule you can’t wait for things to be in season, for example, cranberries, or cherries. Freezing, canning or drying them is the perfect way to have them on hand without having to one, search for them, and two, pay more for them.
Frozen and Canned Are Okay
My mindset used to be fresh produce is the best, but after testing so many recipes I’ve resorted to frozen and canned vegetables and fruits to keep the cost down. One example is I have a recipe for potato crusted Brussels sprouts. The week I wanted to test the recipe, they were very expensive. I headed to the frozen food section and found a large bag for under $2, and yes, there was less waste because they were already cleaned and trimmed and ready to eat.
Pantry, Pantry, Pantry
And finally my last tip for saving money is to have a well-stocked pantry. If you’re just starting out on stocking it, buy one or two items a week. You’d be surprised how many ingredients I’ve used in these recipes that were already sitting on the pantry shelf and I’ve saved lots of money that way.