Frugal is the new spending

Like so many, I am cutting back on spending – times are tough despite the currently low mortgage interest rates. ‘Economical’ is a big part of what I’m looking for in a recipe right now, as well as tasty, easy, healthy and not fattening – sadly the economy drive has not yet reduced waistlines in the Hils’ household! I’m  making more use of beans and pasta – search in the ‘Economical’ category (coming soon) for some ideas.

As well as avoiding buying pricey ingredients (thank goodness for a few previous extravagances still in the freezer and the store cupboard) I’ve been planning the menus for the week ahead before doing the Saturday shop – as recommended in the media recently (see Economy Gastronomy: Eat Better and Spend Less

The planning starts with looking at what I have in the fridge, freezer and left over from the previous week, then choosing interesting recipes using those ingredients.

Rather than heading straight for Waitrose, I’ve started visiting cheaper supermarkets first (Tesco and Asda are the most convenient for me) and buying what I can there before finishing up at Waitrose. Tesco is scoring at the moment on good quality veg and genuinely reduced wines – £4.99 special prices on good £ 8.99 – 10.99 wines. I’ve also bought acceptable cooking wines from Lidl for about £3.75, and was amazed to find that the left over wine was drinkable! Asda also have some really good wine offers.

It has certainly been worth the effort of pre-planning the menus; I have been cooking more interesting and tasty meals as well as spending quite a bit less in the last month or so since I started planning ahead.  There’ve also been fewer salads and vegetables sitting in the fridge until they are too far gone to use.

For 2, I often cook quantities to serve 3 – 4 (hence the waistline issues?) and expect enough left over for a light lunch or two.

Vegetable peelings, stalks etc. are cooked and chopped or pureed for the animals (but NEVER give dogs anything containing onions or garlic – like chocolate, they are toxic to dogs. No grapes or raisins for dogs, either). Cat Bobbi adores veg, especially broccoli, while border collie Fly prefers green beans but hoovers up anything.

I am delighted that councils will be reintroducing food waste collections – my little garden  has no room for a composter, and plastic bags of food waste clog up landfill sites unecessarily.

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