This year one of my resolutions is to save money on the little things.
I will strive to choose to live the simple life this year.
It’s easy for me to just live. But to live more simply takes work.
Make soup stock.
I can buy the soup stock in a carton. At $2 a liter, this is a considerable sales price where I live. Or, I can save my kitchen veggie scraps and make my own. I can save the chicken bones from the roast chicken and make my own stock. And on the occasion that I buy a roast chicken or beef, I also make my own stock. Simple.
I’m convinced this is not a less expensive product if you must first buy produce from the grocer at regular price. But I live where fruit trees abound. The prize of the colour of jars alone is appealing as they adorn my kitchen counter. This year I’m going to try my hand at pickling cucumbers. If I can pickle carrots, I can surely make one with someone’s garden cucs. Surely not my cucs, though, as they always arrive bitter.
I introduced bean meals on our first trip to East Africa five years ago. We learned to make them and ate them a lot. After we visited a rural school, the matriarch of that school was so pleased that we visited her primary school, she gave us a 10-kilo bag of beans. We survived happily without beef, and only an occasional chicken, and I learned to homemade tortillas (yes, in East Africa). In fact, I probably felt healthier, certainly lighter, when we were there. Twice a week, I plan dinner meals without meat. One beans, the other eggs.
Spending the grocery budget well.
I will purchase deli products that come in plastic containers on special occasions. I can make my own delicious hummus, and leave those delicious olive tapenades, roasted red peppers and feta stuffed hot peppers for special occasions. Yes, and that will include deli meats. Deli ham? sliced turkey? Well, I’ll just roast one of those and slice it ourselves.
I will make it, mostly. Have you tried making it? It really isn’t difficult. Only very recently did I fall upon a fantastic recipe that taught me how to make a soft loaf…high heat to begin, then low and slow on baking heat. But not so low and slow that I have a big yeasty bread soup at the bottom of the oven.
Make soup with leftovers.
I’ll continue to make soup for lunch. Inexpensive. And a super easy approach to saving money. Cause pretty much everything that’s leftover in the fridge can transform into a delicious soup ingredient.
I balked at my dad’s approach to soup making as I grew up. “Get the ketchup. Hey, look, a little bit of mustard…” Who knew what was in those pots? Us kids didn’t want to find out.
Now I get it. Soup bases from leftover vegetable slices on the cutting board make a rich, and inexpensive, soup broth. A teaspoonful of spices. Why waste the parmesan soup rind? At the final stage of the soup, throw it in for flavor. Add a can of beans, a garlic bulb, and fresh spinach, and you, my friend, have a soup found on Italian luncheon tables. Drizzle olive oil on a slice of bread and toast in the oven, (with a glass of prosecco–cost savings from above spent on Italian sparkles), and voila, you are in Italia!
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