Waste not want not, as they used to say in the war; and it still applies now as Austerity is the new Prosperity. A lot’s being made in the media and by politicians about this particular age of frugality, but whatever the truth making the most of the food in the store cupboard, the fridge and the freezer makes sense whether you have money to burn or you’ve just seen it all go up in smoke.
Stock up Cheaply
If you haven’t already got one, create a store cupboard. Dried food, pulses, herbs and pasta can all be bought cheaply in bulk. Brand names here are relatively unimportant and you can buy loads all at once when they’re on offer. Cooking salt can be bought in bulk and it doesn’t need to have been hand-picked by Welsh Mermaids who distil it using a generation’s old process, involving seaweed and oak casks, if you’re just adding a pinch or two to season things up. You can buy the “Made in Wales by Mermaids” sort if you’re likely to have people round that you need to impress, but otherwise just keep a sack of the cheap stuff hidden away and handy.
Once you’ve established your stock cupboard, you should have all the basic ingredients for meals apart from the fresh stuff. This, in most cases, you’ll need to buy weekly and for this task you’ll need to learn to write a shopping list. Writing one of these is a fine art; you need to plan every meal in advance and then work out the fresh ingredients you’ll need. When it comes to fresh meat and veg you might want to check to see if your local milkman delivers this kind of produce (they’ll deliver all kinds of things these days!) and they can help out by delivering fresh food without a delivery charge.
Learn to Cook
Cooking everything for yourself saves an absolute ton of money; it really does. I’m not going to do a Nigella or Jamie here, it’s just a simple fact that in addition to some unpleasant additives, ready meals don’t just put the pounds on you they put them on the bill as well. If you don’t know how to cook, learn! Humans have been doing it for tens of thousands of years and it’s not half as difficult as TV cooks make it look (especially, for some reason, when they’re trying to make it look simple). If you’re using fresh ingredients that you’ve bought in advance, then consider cooking in bulk (casseroles, stews and bolognaise) and then pack up into portions and freeze.
Most leftovers can be transformed into a new dish – if only by using a blender and renaming them “soup”. If ‘stuff’ looks like it’s really gone over then it can be added to dog food. Dogs have very robust stomachs, as in the wild they scavenge for a living. Cats need a very different diet, so stick to scraping leftovers into the dog’s dinner bowl and mix in with their meat; it saves on dried food which is basically made up of leftovers in a factory somewhere. Alternatives are, of course, composting, which is great for the garden and can even be used to compost an area to grow your own vegetables, thereby avoiding waste and saving money in future. If you’ve no dog or garden you can offer compost to a local green fingered friend.
When it comes to saving money online shopping has some benefits and it’s been getting better over the last few years. You’ll avoid the impulse purchase with this kind of shopping and (as in the case of the milkman, mentioned above) there are some services that don’t charge delivery – even in the case of a small pet food delivery. Many will deliver every day or alternate days, or whatever suits your needs and prices are usually very competitive. Online shopping can also save you a considerable amount of time, allowing you to get on with more important (and fun) things!
Charlotte actively blogs about Fashion, Food & Drink covering everything from the latest fashion trends to milk&more grocery delivery. On her spare time she loves shopping, discovering new products & enjoys getting lost in new places as she writes away about online food delivery.