Something that both “Aunties” have in common is that we are both frugal people. Though, as I’ve explained before, frugal doesn’t mean miser, it’s simply being able to have our priorities in order, and invest more in what’s important for us, and find savings for what’s necessary, or merely desirable.
Here I live you with some of our favorite ideas to spend less, yet eat better.
1. Make a shopping list
Plan the week’s menu (or at least have a rough plan of what you will cook), and make a list of the ingredients that you will need. Do check that you don’t have in your kitchen what you’ve listed, sometimes we forget what’s in the cupboard.
2. Buy bulk
Some items don’t spoil with time. Those are worth buying bulk. Toiletries and some foods can be bought from distributors at much lower price and stored. The toilet paper you buy today will be just as “soft and absorbent” in a month or two.
3. Do it yourself
Sure it’s easier to use chicken broth cubes, but try this: Boil chicken bones (or beef bones), add a bit of seasoning, herbs and spices. Pour the liquid in an ice cube tray and refrigerate. It is healthier and much cheaper. Learn how to prepare your favorite dishes and prepare them at home. Leave eating out for special occasions. Make your own seasonings and condiments.
Use the leftovers to prepare other dishes. Leftover meats will make an excellent filling for a casserole. It’s better to cook arroz blanco for a few days and refrigerate every day’s servings, if you want to prepare a locrio or moro just add the rice as you’d normally do but only use 25% of the water the recipe calls for. Use “fillings” when cooking meat (eggplants, christophines, pasta), remember that a portion of meat is equivalent to the size of a deck of cards.
5. Eat healthy
Funny enough the most expensive foods usually are the ones the doctors warn us about. Fruits and vegetables fill you up, are more nutritious and are generally cheaper than processed foods. Instead of a snack, why not eat an orange, or a slice of pineapple (or whatever fruits you have available)? This is even more important when feeding your children. Serve smaller portions, your waist will thank you.
Do you have any other great ideas? I’d love to hear them.