Wednesday, August 10, 2011

5 fav top cost-cutting tips

1. You know what I used to think was stupid? Pre-planning meals for the week. What do I do now, religiously even? Pre-plan meals for the week. Then I revise what I'll need to make those meals and that's what I buy or if I have what I need already but my "reserves" are getting low then I'll re-stock the ingredients I use. Apart from staple fresh fruit and vege (and non-edible necessities - ablutions and such) I don't buy much else. I save any left over money for fruit, vege and milk top-ups through out the week or I buy something garden related - seeds, compost, herbs, trees, pots OR I carry it over to the next week. Just decide NOT to buy non-necessities. Do you need it to survive? No? Then DON'T get it! Treat foods are not treat foods if you get them ALL. THE. TIME. I also put a decent amount weekly into Christmas Club.

2. Like your yoghurt but find it too costly? Buy a yoghurt maker - we have an Easiyo yoghurt maker. The neat thing about this is that you can pretty much use the yoghurt mixes indiscriminately regardless of brand - I have used hansells yoghurt mix before (at least I think it was hansells) so you can get yoghurt for even cheaper if the brand you usually use isn't on special! And it means you have a wider array of flavours at your disposal. Or you can just not care and get the same brand as your yoghurt maker like me. Although I think Hansells has a creamier plain yoghurt. Fav flavoured yoghurt at the mo is Easiyo Forest Fruits - flavourful and CREAMY!!! If you're worried about your children liking/not liking it all my boys (3, 7 and 9) love it.*

3. Plus side of making your own yoghurt - you can use plain yoghurt in place of SO many things like sour cream or instead of milk in your baking/cooking - although I'd advise against using it instead of milk in mashed potatoes - blechhh. May I say though that it makes Ange's microwave mug cake heavenly!

4. Stock up! Aside from the fact that my church encourages its members to store food and necessities for unforeseen emergencies (ie. natural disasters as well as financial ones!) I'm just a very practical person and as such I think it's pretty hard to deny the wisdom in stocking up on food items that you use a lot and that also store well. For instance - a few benefits that I find are:
*I can pretty much bake anything on a whim.
*If someone needs a meal or a pick-me-up treat I can whip something up at pretty short notice without too much stress.
*Thanks to our large chest freezer which I fill with bread (ok not entirely, but we have enough that if I can't get any for any reason we can survive a week or so without re-stocking) it means in the holidays when everyone's buying up all the sandwich slice loaves I'm sweet.
*We always have toasted sammy/toastie pie fillings.

5. Cheese is expensive! When you need to grate cheese for a dish cut off a chunk to grate and only use that - don't hold and grate the whole block. This way you'll only grate the chunk you cut off (well, theoretically anyway). Also choose the side with the smaller/smallest holes to grate your cheese - it'll give you more cheese volume for less. Try and take notice of how big a chunk you cut off so you know how much you need for next time - if you cut too much off then cut a smaller chunk next time. When making toastie pies - slice cheese as thinly as possible - less mess when making and to clean up after and also thick bits of melted cheese are just ick - it's not just me, right? You seriously don't need to use THAT much cheese. When you make cheesy dishes like lasagne and it requires cheese layers as well as cheese on top - really skimp on the cheese on the top. Cheese on the top should be more like a garnish - and a stingy garnish at that. Besides - it's not like it's going to be lacking in cheese is it?

*Of course they also love apples, carrots, gherkins......


PaisleyJade said...

Great tips - I've just started making our own yoghurt again and love it!

Ana said...

Thanks Kristy! I will try and think of some more. I think I may post some of my fav. delicious, quick and cheap meals/snacks next.

Making your own yoghurt IS great. Lately always have 1L each of flavoured and plain. I use the yoghurt in baking - I've used it in choc cake, in Ange's mug cake and her cornbread recipe - all YUM. And I use it when I make pizza bases.

Jasmine said...

We have a yoghurt maker... i'm gonna start using it again! annnnnnnd I plan all our meals for the week too! So much better and less stressful - you dont have to think about what to make every day when you get home from work - it's so good!
I still remember the cheese thing - still do it too!
Thanks for your tips!
annnnnnnnd PLEASE DO post some of your quick and cheap meal/snack ideas! :-)