Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Lower the Meal Cost

Do you want to eat better at lower cost even though the purchasing power of your money is continually decreasing? Let’s learn to lower the meal cost.

Price of the ingredients rises more than our salary raise. Each meal, eat at home or dine out, becomes more expensive. The cost is often higher when the harvest has been damaged by the poor weather, for example, heavy rains or snow. It is essential for us to try a few strategies to lower the meal cost. Most of the methods are simple and worthwhile to be developed as good habits. We can start the money saving in several aspects.

Zero waste

* Don’t cook or order more than you can eat.
For the residue, don’t treat them as refuse and let them go straight to the dustbin. You can use them to feed your dog, reheat them for your next meal, and reuse them as ingredients for a new dish such as old bread for pudding.
* If you dine in a restaurant and have leftovers, kindly ask for a bag or box to carry them home.
* Try to make use of every part of an ingredient, such as grate the lemon skin for seasoning purpose instead of throwing it away.

Small portion

* Serve small portion for each meal. If possible, adopt the buffer style, i.e. to have the foods in big dishes and bowls and let people decide the size of a portion they would like to have. It’s easy to collect the residue for further treatment.
* In case the meal portion is inadequate to cope with hunger, you can have some almonds and other nuts, fruits, and cookies, which again can be served in small portion, as snack at any time.

Clever Mix

* Some parents don’t adopt the buffet style for fear that their children will overeat, under-eat, and have dietary bias. They assigned the portion and forced their children to clear their plate with all foods down into the stomach. Some children are more difficult to deal with: they often left the unwanted foods behind after stirring with their fork and spoon. Those residues always go to the dustbin. What a waste! Parents can chop the unfavorable food into very tiny pieces and mix it into the favorite ones. This will disarm the resistance and children are likely to eat the whole assigned portion.

Wise purchase

* Don’t buy foods and drinks more than you can consume albeit the discount.
* Use coupon to save money whenever possible.
* Pick ingredients with a longer due date.
* Those that will be overdue soon should be given the top priority in consumption.
* Pick the best buy not only among different shops, but also at different periods from a single supplier to enjoy the temporal discount.
* Bulk purchase for regular used items only and if possible, together with your neighbors so that each buyer can enjoy a greater discount for smaller purchasing portion.

Good inventory control

* Buy with a shopping list that has been checked with your inventory in advance.
* Make a list of your inventory and highlight their due dates. You can stick this list on the refrigerator with a magnet for easy and quick reference.
* Store the ingredients and cooked foods properly to avoid quality deterioration.

Wide variety of recipes

* Learn to cook with more ingredients. When price of an ingredient remains high, you can always replace it with a less expensive ingredient without the necessity of sacrificing the nutrition and the tasty level.

Growing eatable plants

* Do you have a garden or backyard? Why not grow your own tomato, potato, and apple, etc.? If you have neither of them, you may still save money by growing herbal plants in pots indoors. Many people put the potted plants in their kitchen and nip off the fresh leaves for seasoning, for example, rosemary, mint.
* If your harvest is rich, trade with your neighbors for other ingredients.

These cost saving methods are applicable to one man home, a big family and even organization. With a more efficient use of our resources, we are not only saving money for our own sake, but also contributing to a lower exploitation rate to the Earth. We become more environmental friendly as there will be fewer refuse. With some many advantages, let’s lower the meal cost from now on.

Other money saving related articles you may be interested in reading:


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Affordable Valentine Celebrations

Want a happy and remarkable Valentine’s Day celebration at lower cost? Try some ideas given and feel free to apply your creativity to fine-tune them. 

The 14th of February is a big day for many people who are in love. Presenting flowers and dining in restaurants are common options to celebrate the Valentine’s Day. But they could be expensive. What if you don’t have too much money to spend? Don’t be discouraged. You can still have a remarkable Valentine’s Day with your sweet heart. Here are some inexpensive suggestions for your consideration.

Buying flowers from the florist’s shop could be very expensive on Valentine’s Day. Did you grow a pot flower in advance? If not, or the flower didn’t blossom, you may need alternatives for the Valentine Gifts.
Valentine Card

Depending on your creativity and adroitness, the card can range from simple to complex, unique though.

Level one (the minimum requirement):

You can make a Valentine card by drawing and painting, stamping, stencil embossing, punching and gluing. Pay a visit to the library or bookshop lest you need to leaf through the DIY books for some ideas to start with.

Level two:

Besides writing a touching love message, you can add a little bit more gimmicks to this card by making it as a frame with a sweet photo of you two at the front.

Level three:

Go further by adding flowers made by Polymer Clay at one or two corners of the Valentine card photo frame. Try to adopt your beloved’s favorite flowers.

Level four:

For those who don’t want to mess with Polymer Clay, you can make the card work like a desktop monthly calendar instead. Each sheet framed with a photo that provokes special heart-warming memory between you two.

Don’t want to dig out the past for fear that it’s not outstanding enough? No problem, start creating a merry projection now. Enclosed you will find my photo on a lantern display. Feel free to edit this photo by pasting your sweetheart’s face and yours on it. Pick the background photos carefully so that each combination could provoke him / her to smile, giggle, or even laugh.

A Book with Specific Topic

Offer a book whose contents can help your beloved solve problems or view more demonstrations to facilitate the development of one’s interest. You may not be familiar with the topic and can’t offer personal advice. But you can still care a lot and be active in offering useful help. A book with the appropriate content is a handy solution that is affordable to many people. Explain the book selection a little bit to enhance your beloved’s appreciation.

Valentine Picnic

It is important to deliver the gifts in person. Don’t forget to devote some time to be together. Have a meal together. Forsake the usual place, and if you can’t afford dinning in a restaurant, why not have a remarkable Valentine picnic?

Choose a place that allows you two enjoy the beautiful sunset or seat under a sky full of stars. For foods, I will suggest Heart-shaped tortilla topped with chicken and vegetables.

Heart-shaped Tortillas:
Make dough with all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, lard and water.
Separate the dough and press each small portion into a big sheet.
Cut out a big heart before heating each piece in a frying pan.
(Use a cardboard and cutter if you don’t have a big heart-shaped baking mould.)


Vegetables and Fruits:
Cabbage, tomato, baked bean, pineapple dices are some good options that require no cooking.

The simplest preparation is to buy seasoned chicken wings and bake or barbecue them. Get rid of all the bones after cooking.
Replace chicken wings with other seasoned meats according to both eating preference.

Create yours or buy some from the supermarket.

Hand your beloved the heart-shaped tortilla, place one’s favorite ingredients on top and feast.

Welcome to apply your creativity to fine-tune the ideas given. If you have any other recommendations, kindly leave a message to share with us.

Last be not the least, be joyful in hugs, embraces and kisses. Smile, laugh and sincere praises are additional spices to a delightful Valentine Celebration. Enjoy and have a sweet time. 

Other Valentine related articles you may be interested in reading: 
Exclusive Valentine to You