Hope your week has started well. The week commenced far too early thanks to my poor teething toddler but I still feel optimistic. My mission to keep our food budget down and still eat well continues. I thought I’d share the tips I’ve been learning and make it more of a regular feature. I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs to work at budgeting. Let me know what you think and if there are any particular budgeting issues/stuff you’d like me to share.
Food Budgeting 101 – Make Your Own
There are quite a few things that you can prepare or make yourself at home (apart from the obvious like making dinners from scratch) that will help keep your costs down. Granted this may take a bit more time, but the benefits for your health and budget make it worth it. Here are just 3 food items we consume on a regular basis that are cheaper to do at home.
Make your own bread.
When we first started budgeting more seriously back in February I blogged that I make all the bread we consume. This takes no time at all if you have a bread machine. I really recommend buying one if your household eats bread regularly. They’re so worth the initial outlay of cash. Regardless of whether you make bread from hand or with a machine the bread tastes so much better, it doesn’t contain any of the nasty preservatives that you find in shop bought bread, and you can limit the amount of salt and sugar it contains. My foolproof recipe to make a good, healthier loaf in your bread machine can be found here. If you don’t have a bread machine, the process of making bread by hand does become quicker the more you do it. When we were growing up my dad used to make a batch of bread by hand every Sunday and freeze the loaves for the week.
Make your own snack bars
I mentioned in my last post that I had tried to make Theo snack bars last weekend but failed. I made my second attempt this weekend and it worked! I used a different recipe inspired by one of my new fave blogs Bonzai Aphrodite.
They’re everything-free; vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free. They taste great (far better than they look). Theo hasn’t tried them yet but I’m sure he’ll love them as they’re sufficiently sweet. I just need to tweek the recipe before sharing.
Prepare your own dried beans
I’ve just started trying to prep my own beans. Buying tins of beans is still cheaper than buying meat products as a protein source but I’ve found that the cheaper varieties of tinned beans either have salt added to them or they don’t taste as good as the more expensive ones. Regardless of whether you buy the cheaper or more expensive variety of beans, it’s still more cost effective to prepare your own. And you have more quality control and are able to cook them to your liking. Wednesday was my first attempt at prepping chickpeas, and like my snack bars, I failed. I know, prepping beans is foolproof right?
Well… I did my research beforehand, read books, searched the internet. I soaked the beans overnight, then wednesday morning I put the chickpeas on to simmer. It took ages. After 2 hrs I took them off the heat as they were done if you like them with a bit of bite, and we needed to head out. Then I read the back of the pack which said you need to fast boil the beans for 10 mins first to get rid of any toxins in the beans. I didn’t do this. Always one to air on the side of caution I chucked them. The last thing I want to do is make my family sick. The liklihood is that we’d all be fine if we ate them, but I didn’t want to risk it and my paranoia would have eaten at me. Anyway, I prepped them again this weekend and they taste so much better than the tinned variety! We had them in our thai curry last night. Defo worth the effort.
So there you have it; some of our regularly consumed foods prepared the cheaper way. Hope it’s been helpful. As I mentioned earlier, let me know if there are any other budgeting things you’d like me to feature in this series.
Disclaimer- I am by no means an experts on money matters and budgeting; I’m just a stay-at-home mum trying to keep costs down and live ethically. It’s all trial and error with a few successes along the way!