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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
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