Budget Busting in the Kitchen

Many of you know a few tricks, but these are some of mine. If you only have a little left to spend on food after taking care of all those bills, you need to make it stretch. And you also need to make sure you get a balanced diet. We’ve all heard the urban myth about the college kid who made a buttload of porridge etc. etc.

Anyway, over the next few days I’ll be sharing some budget-stretching recipes, but these are my generic hints and tips.

1) Own a freezer. It doesn’t matter how small it is, you can store a lot of stuff in there, including serving-sized portions of leftovers.

2) Where possible, buy in bulk. Remember economies of scale? Companies save cash by purchasing pallet loads of whatever they need. Obviously, they don’t sell pallets to plebes, but you can do the next best thing once you find where they sell it.

3) Be prepared to shop around. I know, going on a several hour journey to save a few cents isn’t sane, but knowing every last cheap vendor in your area makes a whole bunch of sense. Especially if you have a couple of places that let you buy items by the box load.

4) Change your purchasing to cash only. Cash is way more tangible than e-cash. Cards of any kidney make it easier to spend more. After all, when you hand over money, you get less back - but when you hand over a card, it remains apparently unchanged.

5) Learn how to cook for yourself. Pre-packaged, pre-processed, chemically altered and otherwise “convenient” food winds up being more expensive. Home cooked does take time, but you know exactly what went in there. Plus, if you cook a LOT, you can have plenty in the freezer for those “blah” days when you don’t feel like raising a spatula.

Just doing these five things can change your personal economy. It won’t happen overnight [especially if you have to buy a freezer] but it will make a change.