Saving on the Home Front

By: Alive Online

Saving money is becoming harder as petrol and grocery prices rise along with everything else. Some advice for serious savers is to have a chat with an elderly person who has come through all the probems of past decades and to ask them what they did to cut down. They'll probably mention home cooking as opposed to eating out and buying takeaways or those strange hybrids partially cooked packet foods in the supermarket. If you are just starting out in the business of saving and you are not very old, say under 35 you probably won't know much about home cooking. It's not rocket science and it's cheap. If you say you can't cook that is not a problem. If you can read you can cook. Invest in a book by Delia Smith or Jamie Oliver and you can cook. Both of these authors spell it all out in absolute detail. If you cook your own food the savings are incredible when contrasted with buying food ready cooked whether in a takeaway or restaurant. Take bread for instance. A loaf of sliced bread can cost more than four dollars and rising. You can buy it for less in some places but not much less if you are looking for quality. Bread consists of plain flour, water, a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoonful of sugar and a couple of teaspoons of yeast. Combine that with vigorous mixing as the above recipe books will show you, bake it, and you have a loaf for less than a dollar.

When you start serious saving you have two kinds of banks. One is the usual variety that gives a measly interest. The other is the freezer that gives unlimited dividends. Most home refrigerators have a fairly generous freezer but investing in a larger freezer will

really help you. You can buy food in bulk and stash it away for barbecues of the future. Look for cheaper cuts of meat and bulk buying of such things as tender steaks, chops and various sausages. Then it is just a matter of taking the next night's dinner from the freezer when you are cooking to-night's dinner and placing it in the refrigerator. Twenty four hours later it will be nicely thawed and ready to supply the protein for whatever you have in mind. You don't really have to change much from the meals you already enjoy. Pasta is as easy to make as calling for a pizza and it is so cheap. You can make pasta yourself. It is just flour and eggs but it is also the cheapest thing to buy in the dried form. As vegetables go through the roof in price it might be time to start a garden if you can. It takes six weeks to produce a lettuce from seed. They can be grown year round and a box on the terrace will accommodate them. And that's the salad taken care of. An older person will tell you about cheap cleaning too. They will reminisce about how a toilet can be cleaned with vinegar and how most proprietory cleaners are just ammonia with perfume. They will tell you how window cleaners are just methylated spirits but that windows are easily cleaned by using water and newspaper. What you will learn form all this is that you can invest time and make savings. You may feel that time is the thing you just don't have. But you really do. It's a matter of arranging it differently. A couple of hours at the weekend could produce enough ready cooked meals for the freezer to serve you all the week. Think casseroles and curries, stews and bean dishes. Cook a couple of chickens ready for emergencies. It doesn't matter which partner does the cooking but whoever does will see the money in savings creeping up for that house of the future or that longed for travel. You don't have to be fanatical about cooking. There will be times when nothing but ordering takeaway seems possible. Go with the flow. But in times of crisis home cooking is the answer. It's a great way to save and a great way to keep waists trim and bodies healthy.

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