Saturday, August 25, 2007

SAVE MONEY: Food & Cooking

Always eat your leftovers! Don't waste the things you've already made. If you can't bring yourself to eat it one more time, freeze it in single portions to heat up sometime when you don't feel like cooking!

Never let food spoil in the fridge, pantry, or fruit basket- use up the bananas and make banana bread, chop up your tomatoes and make a sauce or paste to use later, cook your meat before it goes bad and freeze it to use later, and make a white sauce with any extra milk you have so that you don't have to pitch it when it goes bad! This is HUGE for me, because when I'm pregnant and tired (read: RIGHT NOW), or if I buy too much at the store one week, and then I don't use it, it goes to waste. Then, I have wasted our money and we essentially have to pay double the next time we buy that item (because we've already bought it once).

Have a planned out menu and make a shopping list according to your plan. That way you don't overbuy when you go to the store.

At the same time, allow yourself the freedom to adjust your week's menu if you get to the store and find a great deal on something on sale that week!

Implement a baked potato or soup night every week!
Baked potatoes with all the fixins comes out to be a quite delicious and inexpensive meal. Soup (especially those made from scratch) with crackers or bread on the side is another great idea. Either way, if you do one a week, that will decrease your food bill by quite a bit!

Serve vegetables with your meals. People will eat less of the expensive stuff (meat, cheese, pasta, whatever) if you have a good selection of vegetables as sides.

COOK AT HOME! Invest the money you would spend in one trip to a restaurant in a classic, good quality cook book and commit to trying one new recipe a week. Or look on the internet and get some great ideas for free (even better-- just be sure to write them down!).

Learn to make basic things from scratch. White pasta sauce is so cheap to make from scratch, and you can make it in all varieties! Pancakes that are just as good as the Aunt Jemima mix you buy for nearly $3 a box are easy to make from scratch! The more you learn, the more you can make, and the cheaper you can make it! (If you have no idea how to do any of this, post a comment and I'll be glad to do a separate post about cooking from scratch!)

Learn to make your restaurant favorites at home. That way you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get your favorite things! Take time to learn how to make a good, juicy bacon cheeseburger. Learn to grill a delicious steak. Teach yourself how to make specialty butters to flavor your meat, potatoes, and other foods in gourmet ways!

Just doing these frugal things in the way you EAT will save a lot of money, and it will add up over time!

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